Rituparna Chatterjee – Bengaluru
Lulu Group International, the UAE-based hypermarket chain and retail venture, has aggressive plans to expand its footprint in the hospitality sector in India. For the same, the group is looking at venturing into new markets like Trivandrum, Chennai and Bengaluru to setup its properties. Each of these locations will have one property and these projects are expected to be completed by 2020. Presently, all of the group’s properties are concentrated in Kerala.
Speaking on this expansion plan, Jose Sebastian, general manager, Lulu International Convention Center & Garden Hotels (LICC) stated, “We have already completed the process of procuring land in these markets. We now have to acquire permissions and sanctions. This expansion is part of the first phase, wherein the properties will be located in Trivandrum, Chennai and Bengaluru. Once the first phase is completed, we will move onto the second phase wherein we will look at other destinations in south India.” The group will be tying up with international hospitality management companies to manage these properties. “After analysing the hospitality scenario of these particular markets, we will accordingly tie up with international hospitality management brands since saleability and competition are major factors,” opined Sebastian. When asked about the investments being made, Sebastian declined to comment.
Presently, the group’s properties in Kerala include – LICC in Thrissur and a 100-room Courtyard by Marriott near Kochi Airport. The group also has a flight kitchen at the airport which is managed by Lufthansa and has a capacity to take up to 10,000 meals per day. Currently two projects are underway in Kochi – a 300 room Marriott property to be operational by October 2014 and a second convention centre to be operational in the next three years.
The Marriott property has an estimated investment of Rs 500 crore, while the convention centre will involve an investment of Rs 1500 crore. “The convention centre will be managed by Hyatt and probably will be called the Hyatt International Convention Centre. The convention centre will have a capacity of 7000 pax and will have around 300 rooms and few serviced apartments,” mentioned Sebastian.