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NEW DELHI : Geneva-headquartered Kempinski Hotels S.A., which exited its partnerships with hospitality firm The Leela Hotels and the Ambience Group, is looking at re-entering the growing luxury tourism market in India. In an interview, the hotel chain’s chief commercial officer Amanda Elder, who was in Delhi this week, said Kempinski was keen to get into Delhi and Mumbai first. Edited excerpts:

Are you planning to have another innings in India?

We definitely want to have a lot more presence here, now that covid is over, we would love to establish more of a foothold in India. We’re always looking for hotels that might want to partner with us, for us to manage.

We had a very successful partnership in the past. Kempinski is quite well known because of that partnership. We’d love to listen to and learn more about what we could do here. China has been a wonderful driver for business for the whole world but China aside, to our company, India is the next most important global market. We would like to enter the two key cities, Delhi and Mumbai, and we always like to start there. And it was the same in China with Beijing and Shanghai. It’s been the same in Germany with Berlin and Munich. It’s just probably more obvious that there might be an opportunity in the key cities, but we would not preclude or stop ourselves from considering other areas. We realise that a lot of our travellers, the Germans, the Swiss, the Austrians for instance, would love to have our hotels in the outer areas of India where everything is famous. 

Do Indians consume as much luxury as the Chinese do?

Indians want to explore, they are not afraid to spend the money and are inquisitive people and they enjoy luxury. There’s so much opportunity there. We have so many destinations around the world that I know the Indian traveller really enjoys, or wants to start exploring and that’s really the driver. We want to cater to Indian guests.

 Is the Indian traveller catching up with others in terms of room bookings and spends? 

India would be around about the eighth or ninth country in terms of the number of room nights. For us, Indians are travelling to our Seychelles, Turkey, Istanbul, Berlin, Singapore of course and Dubai locations.

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