The hospitality industry in Tamil Nadu saw an overwhelming response in 2012, with the state witnessing opening of landmark hotels in the luxury segment.
According to tourism minister S Gokula Indira, around 76 new hotels are proposed in the state in the next two years, of which around 3,500 rooms are expected to be in the five-star category.
Chennai, the state capital, continued to be the major focus market for most of the major brands. In 2012, ITC Grand Chola, Park Hyatt, Radisson Blu, Hilton, Leela Palace, and others added close to 1,200 new luxury rooms, while existing players like Taj expanded their properties.
N Prakash, director (operations), Oriental Hotels Limited, and general manager, Taj Coromandel, said the rapid expansion of room inventory from 2,026 in 2011 to 3,763 rooms in 2012, had seen an unprecedented 85 per cent increase, shifting the focus to Chennai as one of the leaders in the luxury space in the country.
A city that was reluctant to display its wealth has fast moved ahead. Chennai has grabbed the attention of some of the biggest international luxury brands like Ducati, Honda, Harley Davidson, Paul Smith, Armani and more recently Louis Vuitton.
“If you compare Chennai to Delhi and Mumbai, we are still 40-50 per cent short in terms of rooms. The uptick in room inventory will create more demand and bring more events - larger conventions and conferences - into the city that will feed all the hotels,” he added.
For instance, hotel rooms in Chennai were sold out ahead of the orthopaedic meet in early December.
The tourism revenue of the state is slated to increase significantly with the footfalls into the city and the hotel, said an official of ITC Grand Chola, which recently opened its landmark property in Chennai.
According to Cushman & Wakefield's hospitality research, the international airport in Chennai witnessed an increase in arrivals by three per cent. Over 6.5 million arrivals were recorded during the first six months of 2012 and the airport is currently the third busiest in the country.