InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has signed 13 new hotels in India in 2012, boosting its existing pipeline of hotels in the country to 47. Of these new hotels, six are under the Holiday Inn brand, six under the Holiday Inn Express brand and one will be a Crowne Plaza, which will open in key cities across India including Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and Pune. “India is an extremely important market for IHG, one that we are always looking for the right opportunities to invest in. 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,” said Jan Smits, chief executive officer for IHG in Asia, Middle East and Africa, who took part in a trade mission to India with British Prime Minister David Cameron to boost trade ties between the two countries.
The new hotels will create more than 2,600 local jobs in addition to the 3,400 employees already working at hotels IHG’s hotels in India. IHG currently has 13 hotels in nine cities across including Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai. 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. The company plans to hire more than 10,000 people over the next few years. “Recruitment is one of our biggest challenges in India. 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,” said Smits. 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.