lending list of RBI.
The roadblocks notwithstanding, hospitality companies were looking to tap the potential of India, where as per the 12th five year plan 11.24 million foreign tourist are expected to arrive in 2016 along with a whopping 1,451.46 million domestic tourist visits during the period.
To host them, according to Planning Commission estimates, 49,72,330 rooms will be required by 2016 in India, which is an additional 22,60,040 rooms from the 2010 level.
In this direction, global hospitality major InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) said it planned to open 135 new hotels in India in the next 10-15 years, taking its total tally to 150 properties.
Likewise, Starwood Hotels and Resorts will open up to 12 new hotels under its various brands across India by next year end. Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group also said it would hire around 9,000 people for its expansion in India, and would have 100 properties by end of 2015.
While Europe's oldest luxury hotel chain, Kempinski, plans to operate two new hotels in India by end of 2015, AirAsia promoter Tony Fernandes' Tune Group announced plans to to open 100 budget hotels across India by 2020.
Bangkok-based hospitality chain Lebua Hotels and Resorts is eyeing 1,660 rooms through 7 properties across India in five years.
Not to be left behind, domestic groups also announced expansion plans. Apeejay Surrendra Park Hotels earmarked Rs 1,200 crore to be invested over the next 4-5 years on four new properties while InterGlobe Hotels charted plans to open 13 new hotels under economy brand 'ibis' across India by 2015.
Lalit Suri Hospitality Group, a Bharat Hotels enterprise, also announced plans to open two new hotels in the luxury segment.
It was clear from the announcements that the mid-scale segment and domestic tourists were the targets of most of the hospitality chains.
While it was good for the sector that there was investor confidence in the Indian market, the floods and landslides triggered by cloudbursts in Uttarakhand in June that killed thousands came as a grim reminder that some of the best destinations could be vulnerable to natural disasters.
"Unfortunately, 2013 also witnessed devastation of one of the most