New Delhi, Nov 4 (IANS) Heritage tourism in the country received a shot in the arm as WelcomeHeritage, a joint venture between ITC and Marudhar Hotels owned by Jodhpur's erstwhile royal family, added six new properties to its chain of heritage hotels.
The new acquisitions have taken the number of heritage hotels across the country to 60, spread across 19 states.
The new properties include Bob's Place at Nathuakhan in Nainital district, Singhasan Haveli in Mandawa in Rajasthan, the Lalgarh Palace in Bikaner, Koolwal Kothi in Nawalgarh, Camellia Resorts at Shantiniketan in West Bengal amd Raobagh Palace in Bundelkhand.
Erstwhile Maharaja of Jodhpur Gaj Singh, chairman of the WelcomeHeritage Group, and the owners of the six properties signed the acquisition agreements here Tuesday.
Under the agreement, the WelcomeHeritage group will provide inputs, operating and marketing support, management skills and technology. Many of the resorts, which are private homes, will be converted into productive assets.
'The new properties will add to our portfolio and help tourists explore the country better because all of them are either tourist destinations or part of travel circuits,' Gaj Singh said after signing the agreements.
'Heritage tourism in the country has grown over the years, and we are vigorously positioning ourselves in the domestic travel segment. I have been told that the global meltdown has hit the flow of inbound foreign tourists. We are also looking at new segments like business travellers, who often look for recreation outside the city,' Gaj Singh told IANS.
All the six resorts have one thing in common - they showcase the local flavours of the area where they are located.
For instance, Bob's Place, a six-room bungalow in the heart of the Kumaon Hills, is located in an apple orchard at a height of 6,200 feet. The resort prides itself on its traditional Kumaoni and continental cuisine served in a sundeck facing the Himalayas.
Mandawa in Rajasthan is famous for its havelis with painted frescos.
The Singhasan Haveli, formerly known as the Goenka Haveli, has rooms with jharokhas, or latticed windows that are central to Rajasthan's building decor tradition, and elaborate galleries. It also has a food court that serves traditional Rajasthani meals.
The Raobagh Palace, located in the granite terrain of Bundelkhand, is a gateway to Panna, Orccha and Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh.
The West Bengal-based Camellia Group, which operates the Camellia chain of resorts across the state, will formally hand over its 10-year-old resort in Santiniketan to WelcomeHeritage in May-June 2009.
'The WelcomeHeritage Group will primarily lend us marketing, logistics and infrastructure support,' N.R. Datta, chairman of the Camellia Group, told IANS.
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