Arpana Ale Magar, Republica Daily, 12 Dec 2017
Seven hotels of star category, including one five-star hotel, have opened services in 2017 until the end of November.
The five-star rated Tiger Palace Resort, with an investment of Rs 5 billion, started operation this year in the southern town of Bhairahawa. The other hotels opening this year include Hotel Opera (Kathmandu), Hotel Krishna (Bhairahawa), and Hotel Ikshya (Simara) in the four-star category; and Hotel Mulberry (Kathmandu), Hotel Samana (Hetauda), and Hotel Fairfield Inn & Suites Marriot (Kathmandu) in the three-star category.
These additional hotels targeting foreign tourists have to compete in the hospitality sector, which is already facing a wide gap between supply and demand.
However, hoteliers have said that these hotels were set up considering the prospect of increasing inflow of foreign tourists, as the government targets to bring in two million tourists by 2020. The annual arrival of foreign tourists is below one million at the moment. The first 10 months of 2017 have seen 757,381 tourists coming to the country.
The plan of the government agencies has prompted investors to inject more money into the sector with a positive outlook for future, hoteliers have said.
As the investment in hospitality is flourishing in recent years, the Department of Tourism (DoT) has projected that additional 4,000-star rooms will be ready for service by 2020.
Vinayak Shah, general secretary of Hotel Association Nepal (HAN), said that the increased number of hotels imply that the investors are hopeful about future prospects rather than the current scenario.
Shah said: “With the completion of all phases of election, the country is likely to move forward on economic development. So this is a long-term investment.”
Nine hotels are in the pipeline to get ready by 2019, according to HAN.
With the recently concluded elections and implementation of the Constitution of Nepal, the country will now focus on economic agenda, meaning that there is a good future for the hospitality sector, Shah added.
According to HAN, Sheraton Hotel (Kathmandu) with 218 rooms, which has an investment of Rs 8 billion, will open its doors by 2019. Likewise, Aloft Hotel (Kathmandu) with 220 rooms and an investment of Rs 5 billion, MS Marriot (Kathmandu) with 235 rooms and an investment of Rs 4 billion, and Bodhi Redson (Bhairahawa) with 108 rooms and an investment of Rs 1 billion are aiming to begin services by 2019.
Likewise, other hotels in the pipeline are: Hotel Nans (Bhairahawa) with 100 rooms and an investment of Rs 700 million, View Annapurna with 110 rooms and an investment of Rs 1 billion, Dugar Group’s hotel with 120 rooms and an investment of Rs 1 billion, Pawan Palace (Bhairahawa) with 148 rooms and an investment of Rs 1.35 billion, and Hotel Lee Sherpa with 120 rooms and an investment of Rs 2 billion.
According to the data compiled by the Department of Industry (DoI), a total 63 new hotels and restaurants have been registered for operation in the Fiscal Year 2016/17. Of which, six hotels will have cent percent local investment, including two large-scale and four medium-scale hotels. Rest of the hotels will be operating with foreign investment and joint investment of foreign and local companies.
Speaking with Republica, Shah further said: “We are also improving our infrastructure. Construction of roads is going on, while the country will soon have other international airports outside the valley. Within five years, we might welcome two million tourists annually.”
Being hopeful toward federal restructuring, he further said that the country might witness a good growth of the tourism sector within five years.