Coimbatore, which has a fast-growing industrial sector, strong educational infrastructure, location advantage and neighbouring towns that have extensive international business exposure, is all set for a leap in the hospitality sector.

Le Meridien Coimbatore, a Rs. 300 crore project of Appu Hotels, is to open shortly. Palani G. Periasamy, Chairman of Appu Hotels, spoke to M. Soundariya Preetha on Saturday on Coimbatore's potential in the hospitality sector and the 256-room, five-star, deluxe hotel.

“Five years ago, when I contemplated the project here, I wanted to create supply.” A number of international visitors come here and several major and minor companies in this region have overseas contacts. Many of the foreign visitors who come to Tirupur, Karur and Erode, stay in Bangalore and Chennai.

In Chennai, five-star hotels are dependent mainly on multi-national companies, corporates and the affluent. In Coimbatore, the middle income segment is larger. They have the spending potential, ability and desire to spend. Now, they have limited avenues. More projects are likely to follow here in the hospitality sector. This will strengthen the market, he said.

Coimbatore has several engineering colleges and Universities, the Tidel park, etc. The city has a good mix of consumers and creation of such luxury products is the need of the hour. This is the second-tier development of hospitality sector. Development of this country is in the tier-two cities. Pune has emerged as a big business centre. “This is another Pune,” he said.

Le Meridien Coimbatore is spread across a 6.75 acre plot. It is a nine-storeyed hotel with a total built-up area of seven lakh sq.ft. It has a ball room with a seating capacity of more than 2000, an exclusive spa and health club of 30,000 sq.ft for the entire family, three restaurants (Italian, India and All Day dining), and a parking space for more than 500 cars. The nearly 40-metre high chandelier is imported from Italy and will be visible from outside. An entertainment centre is also planned. The hotel is service and quality-intensive. “We bring five star luxury, comfort and resources to Coimbatore population which I consider has a lot of spending potential. This is an urban resort,” he said.