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India calling: Onyx to build 10 hotels in key cities
Greg Lowe, Bangkok, March 2, 2015
 

ONYX Hospitality Group is making its foray into the Indian market with plans to build 10 properties within the next seven years.

 

The Thai company has signed an exclusive agreement with Kingsbridge Hospitality, the master franchise-holder for World Trade Center in India, in a US$100 million venture for the 10 properties, the first of which is due to open in 2018, said Kashyap Vora, vice president development at Onyx.

 

“Our focus will be on large cities and business centres, with the exception of Goa, which is a leisure destination with very fixed occupancy rates,” he said. “This (expansion into India) will enhance our presence in the South Asian and South-east Asian markets, where we already have 38 hotels and resorts with another 16 in development.”

 

The decision to break ground in the world’s second most populous nation was partly driven by the country’s burgeoning economy and the Modi administration’s focus on tourism as a key growth engine, but also because of Amari’s brand recognition within India.

 

Currently, Indians account for eight per cent of Onyx’s guests, the second largest source market after China. “Last year we received 99,829 Indian guests across the group, a 16 per cent year-on-year increase,” commented Vora.

 

The country’s inbound tourism market is also expected to benefit from the new e-visa system, with domestic tourism and internal business travel targeted as key revenue sources for the planned properties, he said.

 

The 120-room Amari Residences GIFT City in Ahmedabad will open in 2018, followed the next year by Amari Noida, a 120-room property with 30 branded residences and part of the World Trade Centre complex.

 

The group will also weigh up other opportunities on an ad hoc basis. Said Vora: “We’ll look at acquisitions in both greenfield and brownfield locations as they arise.”

 

The foray into India is part of Onyx's aim to generate more than two-thirds of management revenue from properties outside of Thailand within the next two years. 

 
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