India’s Mahindra Holidays plans to acquire more hotels in growth push

Tourism activity picks up in the country as movement curbs ease

Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India is looking to acquire more hotels as Indians emerging from months of pandemic-induced lockdowns eagerly head out for local leisure travel.

“We have a very good pipeline of properties that we’re looking at for acquisitions,” as well as leasing opportunities, said chief executive Kavinder Singh in an interview with Bloomberg Television on Friday. “There is revenge travel.”

India’s new Covid-19 cases have declined to less than 40,000 a day from a peak of more than 400,000 in May. As movement curbs ease, bored Indians are flocking to local tourist destinations as international travel is still difficult amid recent delta-driven outbreaks in other countries. The second-worst-hit nation saw a similar surge in local travel in the early months of this year after the first virus wave ebbed, but it likely stoked the deadlier second wave that devastated India in April and May.

About 90 per cent of Mahindra Holidays resorts are currently open and running full, according to Mr Singh, who expects the leisure hospitality firm to see room occupancies exceeding 75 per cent for the quarter ending September.

The company, which enrolls members for long-term subscriptions, is planning to invest $150 million over two to three years to increase the room inventory to 5,500 from 4,200 through acquisitions or developing more of its own properties, Mr Singh said.

Mahindra Holidays, with 300,000 members, is foraying into property management and will add upscale hotels, resorts and leisure destinations. This business is asset-light and won’t require too much money, he said.

“We believe that over a period of time we will definitely be able to see pandemic waning, and in any case, we are learning to live with it,” Mr Singh said. “We’re looking ahead at August and September with lots of confidence.”

Updated: August 21st 2021, 4:30 AM