J K Mohanty, CMD, Swosti Group and Chairman, Hotel & Restaurant Association of Odisha & IATO Eastern Region, speaks about Odisha’s hotel industry and his Group as well.
The overall scenario of the hotel industry has improved a lot during the recent years. Various attractive campaigns of Odisha Tourism in the National TV Channels as well as tourism roadshows in domestic and international market have been very helpful in branding Odisha’s rich tourism potential and increasing tourist arrivals to our state. Excerpts from the interview:
How would you explain the latest trends in Odisha’s hotel industry?
Hotel industry in Odisha is on the rising trend. There is ample investment opportunity in tourism sector and our government is making all efforts to attract investment in tourism sector by creating land bank and engaging key state-based hoteliers to tap the franchise business model with flagship brands like Hilton Group, Sheraton Hotels and Resorts, Raddison Hotels, Taj Group and Starwood.
Large hotel brands such as Taj Hotels, Hyatt Hotels, ITC Hotels and Crown Plaza have lined up plans for putting up properties in the state. Collaboration with the hospitality brands of repute could help showcase Odisha as a global tourism destination.
What unique challenges this industry is facing and what are the possible solutions according to you?
One of the biggest challenges faced by the hotel industry in the Odisha is lack of proper infrastructure in every tourist places of the state. The state has several places for tourist’s attraction, in the form of ancient monuments; beaches; religious places; hot springs; forest and wildlife; etc. But due to shortage of good quality accommodation tourists visiting these places are finding difficult for their stay. As per current demand-supply scenario, Odisha needs a minimum of additional 5,000 good quality star category rooms across the state, particularly in the key tourist destinations of Odisha to attract more high-end foreign as well as domestic tourists to the state.
With growing air connectivity, how do you see tourism scenario unfolding for Odisha?
Direct flight connectivity to various international destinations will definitely go a long way in attracting international tourists to Odisha . We definitely need more direct flights between Bhubaneswar Dubai and one European Connection.
What is your expansion plan?
Swosti Group currently operates 4 properties namely Swosti Premium Bhubaneswar, Swosti Grand Bhubaneswar, Gopalpur Palm Resort, Gopalpur-on-Sea and Swosti Chilika Resort. The Group is coming up soon with two beach resort projects, one at Gopalpur on Sea and another in Puri. We already have land at Puri and acquired a patch of land at Gopalpur on Sea.
How is the response from the market for Swosti Chilka Resort?
Within a short span of time, Swosti Chilika Resort has already made name as one of the best resorts in India. It has been widely acclaimed across the globe and has become a major tourist destination of the state. VVIPs from different places, domestic and foreign tourists who have visited the property have highly appreciated the resort and its top class hospitality.