Leela Group plans Middle East investment; launching new brand

India's The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts is on the move, exploring opportunities in the Middle East in the near future for its luxury brand, reports Gulf News. The hotel group currently has eight properties across India, and it plans to increase to 14 during the the next two years, according to Vivek Nair, vice chairman and managing director. "We are quite open to the idea of bringing the Leela hotel's brand name to the Middle East region after we finish opening 14 properties in India," he told Gulf News. He added that the group had, until now, not considered bringing the brands to this region as there is "still a huge mismatch between demand and supply" in India's hotel sector, which remains a focus area for the group. New hotels are expected to open soon in Chennai, with plans to develop hotels in Agra, Lake Ashtamudi (Kerala) and Jaipur, Nair said. In addition to expansion, The Leela Group will be launching a new brand name in the first half of this year, according to Nair, who says "it will not be a mid-scale or economy brand, but a first class one targeted at Tier-II cities in India." The plan is to target cities such as Patna, Ahmedabad and Delhi, Nair said.

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