MUMBAI // Jumeirah Group, the Dubai luxury hotel operator that manages the Burj Al Arab, has signed its first contract to run a property in India and is aiming to secure further deals in the country.
The group has agreed to manage a 470-room hotel in Mumbai, Jumeirah announced yesterday.
"This agreement represents the first phase of Jumeirah Group's expansion into India. The company is currently in advanced negotiations on potential projects for hotels and resorts in other key destinations in India." The hotel, which is part of a new development in the Lower Parel area of central Mumbai, is expected to open in 2017.
Hotel operators have been targeting India as they aim to tap its growing wealth and travel market. With a population of more than 1.2 billion, the potential from the local market travelling within the country is huge. India has relatively few hotel rooms per capita.
"India has attracted global players … in the hospitality industry over the years for its status of being one of the most promising countries in the Asia-Pacific region," Cushman & Wakefield, the property consultant, said in a recent report, adding that Mumbai had the country's highest average room rates at 6,400 Indian rupees (Dh423) by comparison with other big cities in the subcontinent.
The Abu Dhabi-based hotel group Rotana earlier this year announced ambitious plans to break into the Indian market and have 20 hotels in the country within a decade.
Major international operators including Marriott and Hyatt are expanding in India and Fairmont opened its first hotel there in August.
International tourist arrivals are also on the rise. The number arriving between January and July rose 6.6 per cent from a year earlier to 3.76 million, according to data from the tourism ministry.
Last year, 6.29 million tourists arrived in India compared with 5.78 million in 2010.
Foreign-exchange earnings through tourism reached 775.9 billion rupees last year, compared with 648.9bn rupees in 2010.
India is aiming to grow its share of international tourist arrivals to at least 1 per cent over the next five years from 0.64 per cent last year.
Jumeirah Group operates 20 luxury hotels and serviced apartments. These include 10 properties in the UAE, seven in Europe, two in the Maldives and one in China. It has 15 hotels under development.
The hotel operator recently lost the management of Essex House Hotel in New York, which was taken over by Marriott in September after the property was sold by Dubai Group.