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India hotel group plans Fiji foray
Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Indian Hotels Company Ltd which operates the Taj brand of hotels in India has shown interest in expanding to Fiji.

In a news report early this month, the company, a part of the Tata Group, said it is looking at expansion through contract management or picking up equity in locations like China, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong and Fiji because it believed Asia was the region of the future.

For his part, Fiji Visitors Bureau chief executive Viliame Gavoka says he is positive something is likely to happen soon on this

"It is very hot, I think it will happen. In what form, whether it is going to be an exotic resort or one of the fully-fledged hotel remains to be seen," he said.

Gavoka met representatives of the Tata Group during a trip to India with a government delegation last year.

"We briefed them on the possibilities here," he said.

Gavoka believes that with the 80.4 per cent hotel occupancy rate last year across the country, the Taj would be very interested in Fiji.

With that kind of occupancy across the country, any investor would like to put money here, he says.

According to him, the group had a very good team here last year which to a hotelier would mean they are quite serious and are looking at it quite closely.

"I would welcome them in this country anytime," Gavoka said.

Gavoka says the Taj brand is one of Indian's premier brands, famous for deluxe luxurious hotels.

"To have the Taj coming here would help lift the profile of the level of offering in this country," he said.

Recounting his own experience, Gavoka said during his stay at the Taj Delhi last year he was surprised to find the hotel employees so well trained that they could anticipate a guest's need even before he or she could say it.

He believes this training goes back to the days of the British Raj.

"I am a hotelier and we are always talking about anticipating people's needs. That is the secret of a good hotelier: to anticipate a person's need."

"This is what we want in our hotels. That is the highest level of service."

Taj Hotels Resort and Palaces comprises 56 hotels in 39 locations across India with an additional 18 international hotels in the Maldives, Mauritius, Malaysia, Seychelles, United Kingdom, United States of America, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Africa, the Middle East and Australia.


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