ITDC looking to open smaller hotels in North East: Vaghela

New Delhi: Indian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) today said it will tie up with various states in the North East to open smaller hotels to cater to growing domestic and foreign tourists' arrival to the region.

The newly-appointed ITDC chairman Shankersinh Vaghela, who took charge today, said the public sector undertaking under the Ministry of Tourism is currently talking to various state governments from the region to acquire properties.

 ITDC looking to open smaller hotels in North East: Vaghela

Expanding presence. Image courtesy ITDC

"Our plan is to open small hotels, similar to those of motels in the US. These hotels may not be big and five-star properties but smaller ones and may be of three-star or four-star hotels," said Vaghela.

The number of rooms per hotel may vary between 80 and 120 depending upon the property and location, he added.

"We are currently talking to state governments. On the basis of the infrastructure, which will be provided to us, we will open such hotels in future," Vaghela said.

He, however, did not share other details such as any possible time of launching the first property or how much investment ITDC may put in for this venture.

At present ITDC has two properties in the North East -- one each in Guwahati and Itanagar.

Vaghela, a senior Congress leader and former Gujarat chief minister, said the North Eastern region is getting "more and more attention now a days" from tourists.

Overall, India is likely to witness about 30 percent rise in arrival of foreign tourists during 2012-13.

"Last fiscal, we saw about 6.9 million tourists coming into India. This year, our target is to attract 8-9 million people from foreign countries," Vaghela said.

ITDC is planning to take the 'Incredible India' campaign to more countries in Europe and Middle East to showcase the "brand India for attracting more tourists", he added.

Besides, ITDC had proposed the Ministry of External Affairs to expand the list of 'Visa-on-Arrival' countries from 11 at present to about 30 to include most of the European nations, Vaghela said.

ITDC, which posted a turnover of Rs 426 crore in 2011-12 and is sitting on a cash reserve of Rs 230 crore, currently owns eight hotels in India, apart from operating eight more hotels under joint venture agreements, he said.

Vaghela said ITDC is planning to transform some of its hotels into public-private-partnership model in future to utilise the properties in a better way.

Following the appointment of Vaghela, its incumbent chairman Lalit K Panwar will be acting as the vice-chairman and managing director of ITDC.

Last week, key UPA ally Trinamool Congress had opposed the appointment of Vaghela as a part-time chairman of ITDC with a cabinet minister rank, which was approved by the Appointment Committee of Cabinet (ACC) on 31 May.

PTI

Updated Date: Dec 20, 2014 09:14:47 IST