Category — Tourism & Hospitality

Which is the Best Hotel in the World for 2016?

Located on 26 acres of land, the Umaid Bhawan Palace at Jodhpur a city in the western state of Rajasthan, India, was named the Best Hotel in the World for 2016 (with a five out of five rating among its 840 guests), by travel site TripAdvisor, in their annual Travellers’ Choice Awards, reports BuzzFeed.

Umaid Bhawan Palace Hotel

Umaid Bhawan Palace Hotel

The palace was designed by Edwardian architect Henry Lanchester and commissioned in 1928 when His Royal Highness Maharaja Umaid Singh created employment opportunities for his people during a period of drought. This masterpiece of craftsmanship was constructed by a special method of interlocking with no mortar binding. The 347-room palace has served as the principal residence of the Jodhpur royal family since its completion in 1943.

Built entirely in yellow sandstone, the palace is a blend of eastern and western architectural styles. Its 105-foot high cupola is influenced by the Renaissance, while the towers draw inspiration from the Rajput tradition. The lavish interiors with gilt furniture and elegant artwork follow the Art Deco style, complemented by the exotic murals of the self-exiled Polish artist Stefan Norblin.

January 30, 2016   No Comments

Budget Hotel Entrepreneur Raises $125 million

21-year old Ritesh Agarwal has created India’s largest network of budget hotels in less than two years.

“I am not being arrogant when I say I re-imagined how new-age hospitality will look like. In just one and a half years we are bigger than the country’s largest hotel group by a factor of four,” Agarwal, the current  poster boy of India’s start-up world, told CNBC.

At 17, the  engineering dropout  tried replicating Airbnb but wasn’t successful. He traveled the country working pro bono for start-ups when he hit upon the idea of building a tenable chain of budget hotels from the existing supply of low-end, unprofessionally run guesthouses that are ubiquitous in India.

Oyo Rooms

Currently, OYO Rooms partners with 3,000 guesthouses across 125 Indian cities. It markets these small hotels online under the OYO brand and works with them to offer basic quality at one-third the market price. Agarwal’s disruptive strategies worked and venture investors, including Sequoia Capital and Softbank, have already poured $125 million into OYO Rooms. He employs more than 1,500 people, with a Harvard alumnus as his COO, and has a company valued at an estimated $400 million, reports CNBC.

December 11, 2015   No Comments

Thailand’s Five Star Chicken to Invest $500 Million in India

Charoen Pokphand, a Thailand-based group that owns the Five Star Chicken quick-service chain of restaurants, will invest $500 million in its India division in an effort to double its annual revenue reports GlobalMeatNews. Sanjeev Pant the vice president of India operations explained that 30% of the 500 million will be funded by the company and the rest of it will be raised through banks loans.

Charoen Pokphand hopes to increase the Five Star Chicken restaurants’ current annual revenues of $14 million to $70 million with this investment.

Five Star Chicken

Five Star Chicken

The company is also in the process of doubling its poultry feed capacity to 300,000 tons a month in the next five years. They plan to attain this target by adding new factories in the states of West Bengal, Punjab, Maharashtra and Haryana.

June 25, 2015   No Comments

India’s Hotels Accelerate Confectionery, Apple, Nut Imports

According to USDA Foreign Agriculture Service, India’s food service sector continues to expand as the number of travelers increase and more consumers dine at restaurants.

“India’s Hotel Restaurant and Institutional Service sector is benefiting from India’s relatively strong economic growth, stable political scenario, foreign investment, rising incomes, high aspiration levels, a young population, and changing consumer consumption patterns,” quotes the report.

India  is seeing a significant transformation in the restaurant sector. Indian consumers are eating out more frequently and younger Indians are more aware of international franchises and foreign foods. With an estimated 100,000 modern, “organized” restaurants (20 or more seats, wait staff, menus) in India, there is plenty of room for growth in the industry.

It is estimated that Indians spend 8 to 10 percent of their food expenditures outside the home in restaurants, cafeterias and other food establishments. Per the 2013 India food service report published by the National Restaurant Association of India, the restaurant sector is valued at $48 billion and is expected to grow to $78 billion in the next five years.

The market for imported foods has also grown. Developments over the past few years indicate a growing number of professional, brand-oriented importers and an increase in the number of modern retail outlets and hotels. Among four and five-star hotels, imported products include wine, other alcoholic beverages, dairy products, meat, seafood, fruits, frozen french fries, sauces, seasonings, and condiments, drink mixes, and ingredients for foreign cuisines such as Italian, Thai, Japanese, Chinese, Mexican, and Spanish.

However, as the food import community shifts its focus from simply trading to professional brand management, distribution and marketing, importers are increasingly looking to represent foreign exporters in India. Key importers are located in cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Cochin and Goa, but tend to be concentrated in Mumbai and Delhi.

Hotels and restaurants, depending on their procurement systems, buy imported food and beverage products from alternate distribution chains based on the type of products and the volume of the consignment:

  • Imported fresh produce is generally bought from wholesalers and distributors.
  • Imported meats, fish, seafood, and dairy products are obtained from dedicated importers and their exclusive distributors who have the cold chain infrastructure to handle such products.
  • Most establishments procure non-perishable items through distributors or, in a few cases, from importers.
  • A few larger hotel and restaurant chains import specialty items through consolidators based in Dubai, Singapore, or Europe.

Wines and liquors are generally procured through importers, mainly private bonded warehouse operators, as most hotels and restaurants import liquor duty-free against their foreign exchange earning license.

The following flow chart gives an overview of the distribution network for imported food for hotel and restaurant sector buyers.


Flow Chart of Food and Beverage Food Service Distribution

Flow Chart of Food and Beverage Food Service Distribution


Opportunities for foreign food exporters in the sector are improving, and imports of consumer-oriented foods, led by tree nuts and fresh and dried fruits essentially have doubled since 2008 to $3.2 billion.




Description Total Imports CY 2013-Value ($ millions)  Total Imports CY 2013-Quantity (tons)  5–yr. Import growth by value ( %)  Base Tariffs Key Constraints Over Market Development Market Attractiveness for U.S.
Nuts (mainly almonds) 762 210,969 21 In shell Almonds($0.55 per 2 pounds)


Competition from other suppliers exists but is not substantial High demand and growing retail industry
Confectionery 661 1,315,052 55 Up to 100% Competition from domestic and foreign suppliers Consumer preference for imported products/brands
Fresh Apples 218 194,335 27 50% Competition from domestic and foreign suppliers Seasonal shortages and high prices,diverse fruits among India’s middle income population and growing retail industry
Fruit Juices 36 5,709 gallons 18 30% Competition from domestic and foreign suppliers Increasing health awareness and shortage of quality products
Sauces, Preparations Mixes, Condiments, and Seasonings  12 5,438 -1 30% Strong competition from domestic brands Consumer preference for imported products/brands and growing fast food culture


Since the food supply chain system in India still remains fragmented and multi-layered, an investment in supply chain infrastructure and logistics presents a significant opportunity in India’s HRI market because the value of the food service sector continues to increase, the report says.







May 20, 2015   No Comments

Business Travel to India Skyrockets

The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Foundation, announced the results of its third GBTA BTI™ Outlook – India report, sponsored by Visa Inc., which includes an index of business travel spending that tracks market performance over time, reports Hospitalitynet.

India is poised for economic harmony as the region is strongly growing in the short-term and is also in an excellent position for the long-term,” said Michael W. McCormick, GBTA Executive Director and COO. “If India continues on its current growth path, it will be a world leader in business travel for decades to come,” he said.

Key highlights of the report are:
•    India’s total business travel spend to grow 9.8 percent in 2015 and 10.9 percent in 2016
•    India’s GDP grew 7.5 percent during the fourth quarter of 2014 resulting in annual growth of 7.4 percent over 2013
•    The consumer sector has been trending upward for the most part of the past two years
•    Inflation is down from a year-over-year high of more than 11 percent in November 2013; consumer inflation fell to a low of 4.4 percent in 2014.
•    GBTA forecasts domestic business travel to hit double digit growth in 2015 and 2016 growing 10.1 percent and 11.3 percent respectively.
•    GBTA expects international outbound travel spending to grow 7.9 percent in 2015 and 7.3 percent in 2016.
•    Infrastructure presents a challenge for India, but Prime Minister Modi has made the development of the country’s infrastructure a cornerstone of public policy. India has also announced a new tourism policy will be launched in May that will likely focus on various issues including tourism infrastructure.

May 6, 2015   No Comments