|Diversified conglomerate ITC Ltd. plans its first overseas hotel at Colombo, Sri Lanka, in 2018. The Sri Lankan property will be a super-premium one and branded as “ITC”.|
According to Ranvir Bhandari, Chief Operating Officer, ITC Hotels & WelcomHotels, the company is also exploring other overseas destinations such as Dubai, Far East nations and Europe.
ITC Hotels, whose commitment to responsible luxury has given it the unique distinction of being the greenest luxury hospitality chain in the world, has four brands. “ITC Hotels” for the super premium luxury ones, “WelcomHotels” for business and leisure travellers, “Fortune Hotels” in the mid-market to upscale properties and WelcomHeritage through which it runs a chain of palaces, forts, ‘havelis’ and resorts.
“Our first overseas foray will be in Sri Lanka. And the hotel is expected to be operational by 2018. This apart, we are also looking for opportunities in Dubai, Far East or Europe, as chances crop up,” Bhandari told BusinessLine on the sidelines of a CII tourism summit, Destination East.
He did not divulge details about the investment or number of rooms in the overseas property. Market sources, however, claim that the property – a greenfield development – will have 350 keys and be up for “mixed (commercial) usage”.
For the first nine months of the year (till December 2015), the country’s second largest hotel chain reported a revenue of ₹923 crore, up 10 per cent from the ₹841-crore it reported in the year-ago period.
The profit before tax (for the segment) stood at ₹13 crore (till December), a 86 per cent rise from ₹7 crore reported in the corresponding period last fiscal.
Meanwhile, Bhandari added that ITC will set up its second property at Kolkata, called ITC Royal Bengal and another in Hyderabad, called ITC Kohinoor in 2017. This apart, the group will also look to expand the Welcom and Fortune brands in smaller cities such as Pahalgaon (Kashmir), Amritsar (Punjab), Bhubaneswar and other cities of Gujarat.
“We are also in talks with the UP government on Lucknow. But yes, expansion of the Welcom and Fortune brands have been planned across smaller cities,” he said.