Shimla, Feb 18 (IANS) Indian Hotels Company Ltd (IHCL), a group of Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, Friday announced its plan to set up a hotel-cum-resort near Shimla.
This will be Taj group’s 39th hotel in the country, a company’s statement said.
“We are delighted to announce our Himalayan foray with the signing of the new Gateway Hotel in Shimla. It’s being developed by Mahamaya Infrastructure Private Ltd,” said the statement, quoting IHCL managing director and chief executive officer Raymond Bickson.
Spread over five acres on a hilltop near Theog, some 40 km from Shimla, the 70-room hotel will be equipped with an all-day dining restaurant, a specialty restaurant, a bar and other recreational facilities.
Gateway Hotel and Resorts is a pan India network of upscale hotels and resorts and was launched in 2008. Its portfolio consists of 20 operating hotels and 19 under development.
The group plans to target both domestic and foreign tourists who visit the hill state round the year.
As many as 13 million tourists visited the state last year as compared to 11 million in 2009.
The 2010 tourist arrival number was 16.38 percent higher than 2009 and 25 percent up from 2008, according to a state tourism survey.
The number of foreign tourists increased from 400,583 in 2009 to 454,851 in 2010, registering an increase of 54,268 or over 13 percent in a year.
Most foreign visitors came from the US, Britain, Canada and Australia.
The survey said locations in Kullu, Kangra and Shimla districts remained the favourite as about 50 percent of the tourists headed to these places.
The famous hill stations like Shimla, Manali, Dharamsala, Dalhousie and Kasauli were the most popular among both Indians and foreigners.
Tourism is an important contributor to Himachal Pradesh’s economic development, besides horticulture and hydro-power generation.