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ITC hotel chain to add 5,000 rooms
Business Standard - 18 Oct 2012

Occupancy ratio was flat in the past two years. At present, it is 60%: Nakul Anand

ITC the country's second-largest hospitality chain, is proceeding with a Rs 10,000-crore investment plan, to add 5,000 rooms across its categories, despite dull demand growth.

Nakul Anand, executive director, ITC, said occupancy ratio was flat in the past two years. At present, it is 60 per cent.

"Demand didn't grow as fast as supply did. It will take some time to reach the 2007-08 level. However, I am optimistic about the future and all our expansion is taking the future into account," he said.

India would require 100,000 rooms, if the hope of 11 million tourists by 2016 materialises, about one per cent of global tourism traffic.

“We look to further consolidate our position with the opening of the ITC Grand Chola, a 600-room integrated hotel complex in Chennai, as we continue to deliver on our ethos of 'responsible luxury',” said Anand.

In the next two to three years, he said, the company would add 1,000 rooms, across four of its brands. Among these would be a 400-room hotel in Kolkata and one of 100 rooms in Bangalore.

Two hotels in Hyderabad and one in Noida are in the drawing board stage, said Anand. One project in Hyderabad and in Noida would be through a joint venture.

On expansion abroad, he said the company was open to doing so in any country. It had already got land from the Sri Lankan government to set up a premium hotel in Colombo and was also looking at Nepal, said Anand.

Wind energy

The group has also planned to invest around Rs 100 crore to increase its wind energy capacity to 90 Mw (from the present 70 Mw), with the addition to come in Maharashtra and Karnataka. The output would be used across the group businesses, especially the hospitality business, said Anand.

He said the hospitality business mantra was “responsible with luxury” and renewable energy played a major role in the theme. Across group companies, 38 per cent of power consumption was catered by renewable energy and this was expected to increase to 50 per cent in three to four years. The major portion would be from wind energy. Of the present capacity of 70 Mw of wind energy, 34 Mw was in Tamil Nadu.

Anand said of the total power consumed by the group’s hospitality business, 55 per cent was met through renewable energy. "We would like to take this to 100 per cent, but the policy in some states is not encouraging. As it opens up, the percentage would also go up," he said.

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