Enthused by infra projects, global hotel chains make a beeline for Lucknow

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Lucknow is fast emerging as a hot destination for international hotel and hospitality chains, with marquee brands establishing a footprint in the city even as others get ready to make their foray. 

During the calendar year 2017, top hotel chains like the US-based Hilton, Hyatt, Radisson, Ramada, and AccorHotels (Novotel) launched their maiden properties in the 'City of Nawabs'. 

Last year, Marriott International added a second property to its Lucknow kitty after opening its first hotel in September 2015. Further, Ginger Hotels, ITC Fortune, Golden Tulip Hotels, Sarovar Hotels, Levana Hotels, and Lebua, among others, have all marked their presence in the growing metro in the past few years. Going forward, more projects are in the pipeline. 

At the same time, boutique and standalone hotel properties promoted by local chains and businessmen have been sprouting across the city, especially in the posh and growing suburbs of Gomti Nagar.

Not long ago, Lucknow only boasted of a Taj Group Hotel, apart from a property operated by Hotel Clarks. In fact, Agra and Varanasi had a better presence of big names in the hospitality sector than the state capital.  

The sudden boom in the Lucknow hotel and hospitality industry followed the launch of the Lucknow Metro and Agra-Lucknow Expressway projects in 2014.

The international cricket stadium and sports complex and the Lucknow IT City projects were also launched, which turned the tide in Lucknow's favour. The operation of connecting flights from Lucknow Airport to not only Indian but some foreign locations also impacted the positive decision of the hotel majors. 

"The tourism sector in Uttar Pradesh is growing fast and there is an upsurge in middle-class leisure travellers," Hilton Vice-President (Development – India) Kaushik Vardharajan said.

Recently, Hilton has launched its second property in UP at Lucknow after its maiden hotel in Agra. The group is further bullish on Varanasi and some other towns in the state. However, nothing has been finalised yet even as Hilton is looking at increasing its India portfolio to 33 in the near future, from 16 hotels at present.

The Lucknow Metro, the international cricket stadium, the proposed Medanta Hospital and other such infrastructure projects have proved to be positive for Lucknow in its elevation to a hot destination for the hospitality sector, Vardharajan said in response to a Business Standard query.

The 2018 Investors' Summit, which is being hosted by the Yogi Adityanath government, in Lucknow on February 21 and 22 would further give a major push to the hospitality industry in the region. About 5,000 national and international guests are likely to attend the two-day, big-ticket event, which is aimed at attracting almost Rs 1,00,000 crore in investments to the state. Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi is being invited to the mega-summit apart from the prime ministers of a few Asian countries and foreign ambassadors. 

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