Jumeirah to open in India; luxury brands look to expand

Luxury and upscale brands are casting their eyes on India for future development as the country's booming economy promotes both domestic and international business travel, and as luxury tour operators attract an ever-growing leisure market.

This week has seen several specific announcements from notable high-end brands. According to the Economic Times, Dubai-based luxury hotels major Jumeirah Group is planning to open a property in India by 2019 with a 'Jumeirah' hotel opening in Mumbai. "We have already signed a management contract and by 2019 we plan to have our first operational property under the Jumeirah brand in India," Jumeirah Group president and CEO Gerald Lawless told Indian news agency PTI. "The company is also in talks with our partner for potential development of a property in Goa. India is a market where people are aware of our group as they know our hotels and brands." Notably, Lawless did not disclose the name of the partner in India. 

Lawless also said that the group will be introducing its second brand 'Venu' in India, which is related to contemporary lifestyle. "Our vision is to have 75 Jumeirah properties and 25 Venu properties worldwide by 2023," he said. "We are also looking at locations like Bangalore, Chennai, New Delhi and Noida among others which are of interest to us for further development." 

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The company is expected to follow the management contract model in India, he added. 

On the heels of its increased expansion plans in India, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group announced the launch of its new Radisson Red hotel brand in the country, where the company claims to already be the top "international hotel operator by number of hotels." The launch of this upscale Lifestyle Elect brand is part of Carlson Rezidor’s aggressive expansion plans for India, which are aimed at extending the group’s lead in a country where it currently has 74 hotels in operation and 43 more in the pipeline.

“The economic outlook is optimistic and the demand for rooms in India has been growing by double-digit percentages over the past decade,”  Thorsten Kirschke, president, Asia Pacific, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, said in a statement. "This is expected to continue for the next few years. Domestic travel is growing and international arrivals are on the increase.” 

In India, Radisson Red will aim for both primary and secondary cities like Ahmedabad, Benguluru, Chennai, the Delhi-NCR, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Pune, Lucknow, Mumbai and Pune, as well as leisure and religious destinations such as Goa, Jaipur, Katra, Shirdi, Tirupati. 

The independent market also sees strong opportunity in the Subcontinent. According to ZeeNews, global luxury hotel portfolio Preferred Hotels & Resorts wants to increase the number of its member hotels in India to 45 by the end of 2018, a 50 percent increase, according to the collection's South Asia and Middle East Area Managing Director Saurabh Rai. "We currently have 30 member hotels here and will take it to 45," Rai told PTI, adding that many of these would be in the midscale and upscale segments.