Business Conferences and Leisure Staycations:-
The hotels soon became preferred properties for business conferences and leisure staycations. Hilton Garden Inn also opened its doors in Gomtinagar in 2018. Moving away from the centrally located properties and closer to Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport and Kanpur City, the Wyndham Hotels and Resorts opened its Ramada Hotel & Convention Centre and Ramada Plaza by Wyndham on Kanpur Road in 2016 and 2019, respectively. Further strengthening its presence in UP, the brand is planning to come up with another hotel under the midscale lifestyle-Rama da Encore – in agreement with Deep Distilleries & Breweries Private Limited, part of the Deep Group of Hotels.
While a wave of international hotel franchises opened in the city and turned around the hospitality industry in the state, Lucknow welcomed its own homegrown brand, The Centrum (under the Mansingh Goel Group), which opened in 2021. The five-star hotel is a glaring example of ‘Vocal for Local’ as each and everything used in the hotel is of local significance, from the use of Chinhat potteries in the interiors to adding elements of chikankari and lakhauri bricks.
“Today, in Lucknow, we are not only catering weddings but also national and international events, educational conclaves, corporate meets, and mega events like UP Investors Summit & G-20, which has given us an edge in the hospitality industry. Moreover, domestic and leisure travel has been on the rise where people are choosing the hotel as a staycation for one or two days,” said Mr. Sarvesh Goel, chairman of Mansingh Goel Group and promoter of the hotel, adding, that the group is planning to expand the hotel in five Indian cities, including Ayodhya, and international destinations with direct connection with cities in UP. “Talks are on to open The Centrum Hotel in Ayodhya, Varanasi, Goa, Mumbai and also Bangkok. Since Bangkok has direct flight connections with cities like Lucknow and Varanasi, it will help in boosting tourism for both the countries,” he added.
Prateek Hira, chairman, of the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), UP chapter, said that with growing infrastructure, and redevelopment of heritage properties, malls, and hypermarkets, one should not put the cities of UP under the tier-2 (Y) category anymore. “UP is central to tourism in India. The Taj Mahal has always been an attraction here, similar is the case with Varanasi. Kumbh in Prayagraj has been another awe-inspiring experience for tourists. As the state grew, so has the state capital and in the past five years, we have added 500-odd rooms here. We are eyeing more developments with several hotels proposed to come up in Ayodhya and other cities. In Lucknow, we have the Sheraton Hotel in the making, an addition of 100 rooms to the Hilton. Moreover, due to the World Cup, musical concerts, and several other factors contributing to the influx in tourism and hospitality, we have been noticing that the average room rate and leisure occupancies have gone higher. This is something which has now become a trend that people are paying more for leisure accommodations,” said Hira.
While the state is getting ready for the formal inauguration of Ram Temple in January 2024, tour operators say that the flow of tourists has already increased in the state capital and is set to go further from January onwards.
“Lucknow being the nearest city to Ayodhya, majority of tourists will stay in the state capital as it is strategically located. Moreover, Lucknow airport is in for an expansion with terminal-3 coming up, which makes it the main airport for tourists to deboard or catch flights from until Ayodhya airport gets ready. Since accommodations also are on a waiting list in Ayodhya, it will be an add-on advantage for Lucknow. Development of one place of tourism is a boost to the entire region,” he added.