The FINANCIAL — InterContinental Hotels Group has signed a franchise agreement with the JHV group for two new properties in the heritage city of Varanasi.
A 300-room Crowne Plaza will be owned by M/s Mall Hotel Ltd, a subsidiary of JHV and will accommodate guests filtering in through the business traffic at Mall Road. The 180-room Holiday Inn will be owned by M/s HLA Hotels Ltd, a subsidiary of JHV and is located well to serve the Buddhist Circuit and will offer excellent connectivity to the airport. Serving a wide range of leisure and business travellers between them, both hotels are expected to be operational by 2021.
Crowne Plaza Varanasi will be situated closer to the commercial hub of Varanasi, catering to business & leisure segments, as well as premium, local social events, such as weddings and seasonal occasions. Furthermore, the hotel will house impressive meeting and banquet facilities, which will add a unique offering for business visitors to the holy city, according to IHG.
Holiday Inn Varanasi, will serve the Buddhist circuit due to its proximity to Sarnath and the airport, once the new bypass road is completed. With 180 rooms, the key demand generators for Holiday Inn will be religious tourism and associated events, along with other social events emanating from the city.
Commenting on the announcement, Sudeep Jain, Vice President, Development, South West Asia, IHG said: “We are thrilled to open our first Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza hotels in Varanasi, in partnership with a recognised conglomerate like JHV Group. It is great to be bringing our established brands to new markets, with both new and existing partners, as we continue to drive scale and brand preference in India. With these signings in Varanasi, we continue to be on track to having 150 hotels open or in our pipeline within in the next 10-15 years.”Speaking about the partnership, Mr. Jawahar Lal Jaiswal, Chairman, M/s Mall Hotel Ltd, owners of the upcoming Crowne Plaza, Varanasi: “We are delighted to be partnering with a global partner like IHG for our upcoming project in the heritage city of Varanasi. With IHG’s strong distribution systems, preferred brands and best in class loyalty program, we are confident of our success with both hotels.”Mr Hira Lal Jaiswal, Chairman, M/s HLA Hotels Ltd, owners of the upcoming Holiday Inn, Varanasi, said: “With increased connectivity, an increasing number of foreign and domestic tourists are choosing to visit Varanasi, therefore, there is a need for more branded accommodation in the city. Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza, with their complementary offerings are a great fit to cater to the increasing number of corporate and leisure visitors. We are excited to be adding these iconic names to our hospitality portfolio.”
As per Uttar Pradesh’s government data, over 5.5 million domestic and 300,000 foreign tourists visited the city in 2016, most commonly for religious purposes. With double digit growth of air traffic in the city and increasing air connectivity, the two hotels are well placed to attract both all traveller segments.