In a deal that signifies a sea-change in the perception of J&K’s tourism, hospitality industry and offerings, the Carlson Rezidor hotel group signed a portfolio agreement with Mushtaq group of hotels to open seven hotels in the state by the end of 2021. This multi-property deal will not only make the Carlson Rezidor group the largest international hotel chain in the state, but is also expected to give a huge impetus to tourism and hospitality in the ‘paradise on earth’. As per the agreement, launch of hotels in Srinagar, Pahalgam, Tangmarg, Gulmarg and Sonamarg have been planned in a phase wise manner. The first hotel is slated to be launched in Srinagar in the fourth quarter of 2017.
“It is like travelling a full circle,” noted Thorsten Kirschke, President, Asia Pacific, Carlson Rezidor hotel group. Commenting on this significant undertaking, he mentioned that the group started its operations in India with a 67 room hotel in Jammu fifteen years ago. “So, the agreement not only marks our faith and long-term commitment towards India, but sort of signifies our years of association with this nation,” he said.
Elucidating the reason for choosing J&K for this mega-push, K B Kachru, Chairman, South Asia said that the potential of the state was just beginning to be explored in the real sense. “It is less than one and half hours flight from the capital. States like Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh are in proximity – which could create an immense pull for tourism in the state, provided we market it well,” stressed K B Kachru. Noting that Carlson group had a knack of backing itself to take bold decisions, he mentioned that “we started with venturing into state capitals and places of religious interest. So, we have always looked beyond the usual. This is another extension of our engagement and we believe that with this timely push, we will only strengthen state’s tourism profile with world-class accommodation on offer.”
Raj Rana, CEO, South Asia further added that since the group was on course to become the first international brand to be functional in J&K, it would help the group cement its fortress position. “Getting into a new market early and gaining a toe-hold always helps. We have done that successfully over the years and hope to achieve the same in J&K,” he told us.