PM Sushil Koirala witnesses signing of agreement for first of four hotels with local partner – Summit Group
KATHMANDU – 18 December 2014 – The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts, India's premier luxury hospitality brand and Summit Group of Nepal signed a Memorandum of Understanding in the presence of Prime Minister of Nepal, Mr. Sushil Koirala, to collaborate on the first of four hotels, to be established across Nepal, marking a new era of partnership in tourism between India and Nepal. The Leela Kathmandu, the first of the series, a 5-star deluxe hotel to be built in the heart of Kathmandu, is expected to be completed within 36 months.
Summit Group, which has extensive interests in real estate, hotels and allied businesses, will develop the property, while The Leela will market and manage it as part of its award-winning portfolio of eight iconic properties in prime urban and holiday destinations across India.
At the signing ceremony, Prime Minister Koirala welcomed the entry of The Leela and urged the Group to establish hotels in other parts of Nepal. Both Prime Minister Koirala and his Indian counterpart, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, have shown serious intent in developing their tourism across the member nations of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).
Emphasizing the crucial role travel and tourism plays in the economic development of the country, Mr. Vivek Nair, Chairman and Managing Director, The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts said: “We are delighted to begin our foray in the international markets with Kathmandu. Given the potential of tourism worldwide, we look forward to expanding our footprint in India and overseas."
Located close to the Narainhity Museum, The Leela Kathmandu will be the first of a series of hotels to be established across Nepal. It will be followed by a hotel in Lumbini, birthplace of the Buddha, as part of The Leela Group's plans to pave a Buddhist Trail from Nepal to Bodhgaya, Nalanda, and Varanasi in India. Other places in Nepal where hotels are being planned under the Leela banner include Pokhara.
Mr. Amrit Shakya, Chairman and Managing Director of Summit Group said: “The entry of the Leela Group in Nepal would dramatically raise standards and help stimulate tourism. I believe the time has now come for the government and private sector to collaborate in revitalizing the tourism sector. We have to work together with the government to frame policies that attract international expertise and investment to help consolidate the tourism industry.”
The Leela Kathmandu will be designed by the internationally renowned architect, Mr. John Gerondolis, of Smallwood, Reynolds, Stewart, Stewart & Associates, Inc, in Atlanta, US. He had earlier created the much admired Leela Palaces in New Delhi and Chennai, each of them drawing strong inspiration from local architectural and cultural influences. Mr. Gerondolis is currently designing The Leela Palace Agra, where every room will offer a view of The Taj Mahal.
The Kathmandu property will draw heavily from the rich Newari tradition that dominates the Kathmandu valley, blending it with modern elements of the highest international excellence in luxury hotels, and adorned by the unmistakeable touch of the Leela grandeur. This high quality branding will be seen in the oversized guest rooms and suites, and will include signature restaurants, lounges, banquet facilities as well as a state-of-art spa and fitness studio. The Leela’s high standards of excellence will also ensure exclusive services for the corporate sector.
"The Leela Kathmandu will be a part of our Group that has established high standards of excellence and personalized service in catering to upscale segments of corporate, leisure, and adventure tourism," said Mr. Nair. “It will be even brighter if Nepal augments its infrastructure in terms of enhanced hotel accommodation, world-class airports, and highways.”
Mr. Nair further added that Nepal could be confident in meeting the forecast of the World Travel and a Tourism Council (WTTC) in its authoritative, 2014 annual report.
According to the report, WTTC predicts that the total contribution of the travel and tourism sector to the Nepalese GDP, including jobs indirectly supported by the industry, will rise from Nepali Rupees 145.3 billion to 257.4 billion, by 2024. The report also forecasts employment rising from 1.112 million jobs in 2013 to 1.7 million jobs in 2024.
Mr. Nair also emphasized the need to enhance skills development in the sector and establish a world-class hotel and tourism management institute in Nepal.
The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts, headquartered in Mumbai, India, and owned by Hotel Leelaventure Ltd, owns and manages properties in India, and soon in other parts of the world too. Its exclusive properties are located in Mumbai, New Delhi, Gurgaon, Bangalore, Chennai, Goa, Udaipur and Kovalam, with new hotels under development in Jaipur, Bangalore, Agra, Lake Ashtamudi, Kerala, and Lucknow.
About The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts
The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts, headquartered in Mumbai, India, is owned by Hotel Leelaventure Ltd. The luxury hotel group owns and manages eight award-winning properties in prime urban locations and magical holiday destinations across India including Mumbai, New Delhi, Gurgaon, Bangalore, Chennai, Goa, Udaipur and Kovalam. New properties under development include Jaipur, Bangalore, Agra, Lake Ashtamudi, Kerala, and Lucknow. The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts is committed to providing warm, gracious and anticipatory service in settings that capture the essence of India. The group has a marketing alliance with US-based Preferred Hotels & Resorts and is a member of the Global Hotel Alliance based in Geneva, Switzerland. For further information, please contact your travel counselor or visit our website at www.theleela.com
About The Summit Group
The Summit Group owns or operates a chain of hotels and resorts, with a well -earned reputation for being authentically Nepali, and especially Newari, in design and presentation.
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