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Business

JM
Javed Mirza
August 28, 2015

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Luxury hotels plan expansion in Pakistan

Luxury hotels plan expansion in Pakistan

KARACHI: Pakistan is back on the radar of foreign investors as they plan major investments in the hospitality sector in the coming years following an improved security situation and a better economic outlook, said a top industry official.
“The world’s renowned hotel chains will establish at least 10 new hotels in Pakistan within the next five years,” Rehan Faiz Pirzada, General Manager at PC Karachi said.
“Among them, PC of Hashoo Group will set up three new hotels. Besides, Grand Hayat and Sheraton have also planned expansion.”
Pirzada, talking to The News, said hotel industry is the right scale to gauge country’s economy and higher hotel occupancy are persuading investors and building their confidence on the country’s economic environment.
He said hotel occupancy rate has significantly increased, particularly in the last one year and presently hotels in Karachi enjoy around 80 percent occupancy ratio, which is quite encouraging.
He said Hashoo Group focuses on expansion and renovation. “We have nine properties while three will be added by 2017. These will be in Multan, Mirpur of Azad Kashmir and Hayatabad,” he added. “Ground breaking has already been performed in Multan and Mirpur.”
Of late, he said security issues in Karachi affected the business as well as increased the security related costs.
In the past five years, even the local businessmen from Lahore, Islamabad and Peshawar were reluctant to come to Karachi. Corporate sector preferred to have business meetings in Dubai, Singapore and Malaysia. “But, the situation has been improved for the last one year as compared to previous five years, while occupancy rate rose to a considerable extent,” Pirzada said.
“Confidence of locals is also restoring and travelling to Karachi has increased.”
General Manager of the country’s oldest luxury hotel said domestic travelling has significantly increased and international travelers from regional countries are also coming to Pakistan.
“The European (from Italy, Germany, Spain and France) and American businessmen, who used to be our major customers, are still not coming, but I am quite optimistic about the improving situation,” he said. Improved law and order situation attracts both tourists and businessmen.
Talking about the 90s, Pirzada said Pakistan’s tourism was flourishing at that time and a lot of tourists from all over the world used to visit the country, particularly northern areas.
A number of foreign airlines were coming to Pakistan and the country’s hospitality sector was growing.
“If the security concerns are removed and the country’s soft image is promoted foreigners will come and resultantly hospitality industry will gear up arranging facilities and services of international standards,” Pirzada added.

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