Dubai: The InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has signed 13 new hotels in India, in an aggressive expansion spree, boosting its existing pipeline in the country to 47.
The hotel group said in a statement on Monday that it currently has 13 hotels across 10 cities in India, including Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai. The expansion plan will include business and tourism destinations such as Chennai, Ahmedabad, Pune and Goa.
It added that domestic demand in India is driving growth in IHG’s midscale brands — Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express, with over 850 millions trips having been taken by Indians last year.
Over “85 per cent” of the hotels the company plans to open in the next few years are focused on the mid-market, IHG stated, adding, only 15 per cent of the 125,000 hotel rooms in India are in this segment at present.
Further, new hotels will create more than 2,600 new jobs for local people in addition to the 3,400 already working at hotels from the IHG family of brands and corporate offices in India, according to IHG.
The news came as Jan Smits, Chief Executive Officer for IHG in Asia, Middle East and Africa (AMEA), took part in a trade mission to India with British Prime Minister David Cameron to boost trade ties between the two countries.
“India is an extremely important market for IHG. We have our second largest pipeline in Asia Pacific here after China. With international tourism increasing year on year and the continued strength of domestic tourism, we see incredible opportunities for growth,” Smits said in a statement. “We’ll hire more than 10,000 people over the next few years.”
British Prime Minister, David Cameron, added: “The big expansion of InterContinental Hotels Group across India showcases their ability to compete in the global race and will help safeguard several hundred jobs in the UK.”
Recruitment, according to Smits, remains one of IHG’s biggest challenges in India. “We’re bringing the experience in international hotel management the country needs as it becomes a prime tourist destination. But we need more local graduates with hotel and tourism management training for the jobs we’re creating,” he pointed out, adding that the company is working with local educational institutions to deliver training in hospitality through its IHG Academy programme. There are currently nine Academy programmes with IHG hotels that have partnered with schools, universities or community organisations in Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai, and Pune.
With more than 1,000 hotels in its global development pipeline, IHG expects to recruit around 90,000 people into additional roles across its estate over the next few years. The company first entered India in 1962 with an InterContinental in Delhi.