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ITDC plans JVs with pvt sector in its hotels

The proposal aims at making the Govt run hotels more attractive for the clientele by bringing in the private sector hospitality culture, reports Hemendra Singh Bartwal.
None | By Hemendra Singh Bartwal, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 21, 2007 10:43 PM IST

After the government's decision against disinvestment of any more India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) run star category hotels, a move is now on to throw open several of them across the country to private sector players for running residential spas and fine dining restaurants.

The proposal, which was cleared by the ITDC Board of Directors at a meeting last week, is aimed at making the government-run hotels more attractive for the clientele by bringing in the private sector hospitality culture and boosting their finances by leasing out property, a senior official stated.

The experiment has been immensely successful at the ITDC's flagship Ashok Hotel in Delhi where most of the restaurants are being run by private groups, along with the Amatra luxury spa that has been rated among the world's top ten spas by the 'Forbes' magazine.

Tourism Minister Ambika Soni is learnt to have given the go ahead signal to ITDC top brass for carrying out similar joint ventures with the private sector in its other hotels as well.

Steeped heavily into losses till some time back, the ITDC has now turned around with the profits for the first three quarters of 2006 having increased to Rs 44 crore from Rs 15 crore in the corresponding period of April-December during the previous year, an official spokesperson said.     

Plans are on the anvil now to permit private operators to set up residential spas for the health conscious in Delhi's Janpath Hotel, the Ashok Group hotels in Jaipur, Bhubaneswar and Jammu as well as the forest lodge in the Bharatpur bird sanctuary.

Except for Janpath Hotel, the rest of them have been making losses and this step is expected to improve their financial position.

At the Janpath Hotel, where elaborate renovations are on to impart it a major facelift, as many as 25 suites with personal spas are proposed to be introduced besides introducing a swimming pool and a putting green for golf lovers, according to its General Manager PB Mathur.

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