There is good potential for promoting the city in the areas of medical tourism, conferences, exhibitions and so on, says P.K. Mohankumar, chief operating officer of the Gateway Hotels of the Taj Group.

During an interaction with media persons at The Gateway Hotel here on Saturday, Mr. Mohankumar said there were 25 Gateway hotels in the country in all, with one each in Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada in the State. In the upscale segment of hotels, the Gateway had already become the fastest growing brand. “In addition to State capitals, we are looking at Tier-II cities all over. Already 15 more Gateway hotels are under construction at different locations,” he said.

Stating that many changes were witnessed after the Indian market was thrown open to international competition, Mr. Mohankumar said the TATA Group that owns the Taj hotels came out with the Gateway concept as part of their further expansion plans in the hotel industry by restructuring its brands. The upscale Gateway concept was mainly aimed at serving businessmen, traders, wedding parties and tourists. Medical tourism was a big business and the Gateway hotels would market the facilities in Vijayawada around the world, he said.

Mr. Mohankumar said before globalisation there were mostly luxury and 2-star hotels in the entire country and now the scenario was changing considerably. The Gateway hotels were in the 5-star category and were slightly lower than luxury hotels in pricing.

He said they would consider Tirupati and such other fast growing Tier-II cities that had airports for the construction of Gateway hotels in future.

He felt that the international hotel chains would aim at metro cities to give competition to domestic players in the coming days but they might not look at Tier-II cities considering the domestic nature of the market.

About the hotel industry in the State, Mr. Mohankumar admitted that the recent political agitations had affected the Hyderabad market but the situation improved well following the support extended by the IT activity. The third and fourth quarters showed improved performance, he said.

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