Kahini Chakraborty – Manipur
The hospitality scenario in the North East will soon be a beehive of activity. Leading the brigade is the Manipur-based Babina Group. The group which is into diagnostic services since 1983 diversified into the hospitality sector in 2007. Their first three-star property The Classic Hotel launched in Manipur in 2009 has 55 rooms. Due to the demand for more rooms, the group has now decided to launch a four-star category hotel in November 2014.
Speaking exclusively to Express TravelWorld, Dr Th Dhabali Singh MD FAIMS, chairman and managing director, Babina Group, said, “The construction of the four-star category hotel commenced last year. The hotel to be named Classic Grande will be a 172 room property. The hotel is being built with an approximate investment of Rs 40 crore.” The group has also started managing the government property Hotel Imphal since January this year, and 55 rooms are being added. “With the new four-star hotel we will have a total inventory of 280 rooms,” he said.
The Manipur government has also handed over the management of Sendra tourist home at Loktak Lake to Babina Group. “We have received the management on a long term lease basis wherein four villas will be developed to facilitate tourists visiting the destination,” he informed. Since the five-star property hotel segment in Manipur is limited, the group is also planning to build a resort -villa property of around 20-30 inventory in the heart of the city. This property will be on public private partnership model.
“We also have our 12 room property called Classic Aradura Inn in Kohima, Nagaland which has been operational since last year. The group is also planning to build a budget hotel in Moreh, bordering Mynamar, which will have a 40 room inventory,” he added.
Opining about the growth in the hospitality scenario in Manipur, he said, “The demand has been growing and presently the state witnesses about 300-400 rooms per night. But there is a demand for 500-600 rooms per night. In the coming five years, I expect the demand to double, say around 1000-1500 rooms. Soon the gap will be filled as there are a lot of local entrepreneurs who are investing in hospitality projects. One of the local entrepreneurs is collaborating with the ITC group for a four-star hotel project in the state,” he mentioned.
Another venture, Alorie Hospitality Management, is also planning to set up its first property in Manipur. The company plans to target eco-touristic destinations before going into four-star and five-star properties. With an aim to showcase Manipur’s diverse offerings, the company is planning to set up a resort and spa called Alorie Cocoon.
Andrew John, vice president projects, Alorie Hospitality India informed, “We intend to set up the resort, notwithstanding the time taken for government approvals, by hopefully early to mid 2016. The company intends to operate and own the hotel and would focus mainly on employment for the locals.”
Although he refrained from divulging investment details of the project, he added, “To commence we would have between 30 – 40 rooms. All designed with locals elements put in and our focus would be in tune with our ideology in preserving nature by means of reusable sustainability. We would like to work on a four-star category however this depends on our feasibility study that we are conducting currently.”