The Tata group has evinced interest in investing in the state’s hospitality sector and is said to have made an offer to purchase the Palace Hotel in Chail, which is owned by the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation.
However, the HP tourism department is reportedly reluctant to sell the prime property as it has become profitable.
Spread over 75 acres, the hotel was built in 1891 as a palace for the local maharaja and was later purchased by Himachal Tourism in 1972 and converted into a heritage hotel. It has 48 rooms, including five log huts.
At their meeting with government functionaries held in the first week of June, Tata group officials expressed interest in investing in five or seven star hotels in the state. A government official confirmed the Tatas had agreed to send a delegation of company officials to the state for the next round of talks on possible investments in the hospitality sector.
Industries director Rajinder Thakur was later quoted as saying the meeting was “quite positive”. “They (Tatas) have expressed interest in making major investments in many sectors in the state, including the hospitality industry,” he said.
As per sources, the group has begun scouting sites in popular tourist hotspots for setting up hotels and even begun discussions on the land required with the government.
Tata officials had, however, expressed reservations about road, rail and air connectivity in the state as virtually all scenic spots had no such links.
However, the government said that efforts to improve services to all the three airports – Gaggal in Kangra, Bhuntar in Kullu and Jubbarhatti in Shimla – were being made in earnest, besides emphasising there were several helipads across the state.