InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has announced it has signed 13 new hotels in India, boosting its existing pipeline in the country to 47.
The announcement was made as Jan Smits, Chief Executive Officer for IHG in Asia, Middle East and Africa (AMEA), took part in a trade mission to India with British Prime Minister David Cameron to boost trade ties between the two countries.
Jan Smits said: “India is an extremely important market for IHG. We have our second largest pipeline in Asia Pacific here after China. With international tourism increasing year on year and the continued strength of domestic tourism, we see incredible opportunities for growth.”
Prime Minister David Cameron said, “The big expansion of InterContinental Hotels Group across India showcases their ability to compete in the global race and will help safeguard several hundred jobs in the UK.”
The new hotels will create more than 2,600 new jobs for local people in addition to the 3,400 already working at hotels from the IHG family of brands and corporate offices in India. IHG currently has 13 hotels in ten cities across India including Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai.
IHG first entered India in 1962 when it opened an InterContinental in Delhi. IHG is expanding in cities including business and tourism destinations such as Chennai, Ahmedabad, Pune and Goa.
Domestic demand in India is driving growth in IHG’s midscale brands Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express – over 850 millions trips were taken by Indians last year. Over 85% of the hotels the company will open in the next few years are focused on the mid market. Today, only 15% of the 125,000 hotel rooms in India are in this segment.
Smits said: “When a hotel opens, it spurs infrastructure development and creates job opportunities. We’ll hire more than 10,000 people over the next few years”.
“Recruitment is one of our biggest challenges in India. We’re bringing the experience in international hotel management the country needs as it becomes a prime tourist destination. But we need more local graduates with hotel and tourism management training for the jobs we’re creating. We’re keen to work with universities and colleges in India through our IHG Academy programme to get that pipeline of talented people underway.”
The company is working with local educational institutions to deliver training in hospitality through its IHG Academy programme. There are currently nine Academy programmes with IHG hotels that have partnered with schools, universities or community organisations in Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, and Pune.
Around the world, through the IHG Academy, the company works with local education providers to help people gain real experience of working in a hotel to improve their chances of finding jobs in the hotel sector. This creates local economic opportunity and a talent pipeline for hotels from the IHG family of brands.