|With the Yogi Adityanath government unleashing a multi-pronged strategy to boost religious and leisure tourism over the next two-three years, international luxury hotel chain Hyatt is looking at expanding footprint in leading tier II towns of Uttar Pradesh.|
Chartered Hotels, which owns many hotel properties managed by Hyatt in India, is already scouting for suitable land in Sarnath (Varanasi), while it is also bullish on Kanpur and Allahabad. While Kanpur is the main industrial town in central UP, Allahabad hosts the world’s largest congregation of faith during Kumbh fairs.
Hyatt on Monday launched its first hotel — Hyatt Regency — in Lucknow. “After Lucknow, the second hotel that we plan to launch in UP would be in Sarnath. We are a property development company and are always on the lookout for suitable growth opportunities,” Chartered Hotels managing director Varun Saraf told Business Standard.
He said UP had a large untapped potential of religious tourism and with the prospective growth of air travel and improvement in infrastructure facilities, the hospitality sector would continue to expand in the state and attracting hospitality majors.
Meanwhile, Hyatt vice president (India operations) Kurt Straub said Hyatt was also positive about the potential of religious tourism in India at large, and the development of some of its recent properties stood testimony to the fact.
He said Hyatt was looking at or already developing new properties in Hyderabad, Kochi, Jaipur and Agra. “The properties in Hyderabad and Kochi would be the first to materialise for Hyatt in the coming months.”
In the past few years, Lucknow has seen the entry of major hospitality brands, including Marriott, Novotel, Ramada, Golden Tulip apart from several boutique hotels. The Taj Group had already been operating its property in Lucknow for almost two decades now.
With Lucknow Metro slated to be inaugurated on Tuesday by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Yogi, the ‘City of Nawabs’ is touted to develop as a major commercial hub in the years to come.
Lucknow has an international airport with flight connecting it with several offshore locations viz. the Gulf and South East Asia countries.
To unlock air travel potential and attract private investment in aviation, the Yogi government has unveiled its new civil aviation policy. It is aimed at developing air cargo hubs and giving impetus to developing airline Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) infrastructure at the state airports.
While UP figures among the top tourist destinations in India, the airline sector continues to be a laggard, mainly due to the lack of adequate aviation facilities, coupled with the paucity of policy framework to promote air travel.
The policy provides incentives to airlines providing services between select towns. The idea is to provide air connectivity between the state capital of Lucknow and other tier II towns in UP viz. Varanasi, Kanpur, Gorakhpur, Allahabad, Jhansi, Agra etc.