Shangri-La Groups operates Hotel Shangri-La in Kathmandu and Shangri-La Village Resort in Pokhara.
Prasiddha Bahadur Pandey, managing director of Hotel Shangri-La, said Star Management will take over the management of the hotel once the construction completes in 2012.
The construction of the yet-to-be-named hotel is going on in full swing at Linzhi in Tibet. The hotel is being constructed by Tibetan Tourism Corporation Limited (TTCL). Shangri-La Group had signed an agreement to manage the hotel in 2009. Shangri-La Group is the first Nepali company that has entered into an agreement to manage a five star hotel outside the country.
Talking with myrepublica.com, Pandey, who is also the president of Hotel Association of Nepal (HAN), said they have now reached to a level of competing with international hotel chains.
Shangri-La is expanding its horizons out of national boundary at a time when other Nepali companies are warming up to celebrate year-long tourism promotional campaign – Nepal Tourism Year (NTY) 2011.
“It is not that we are not preparing for NTY 2011. We will continue our preparation for the campaign even though we have already completed our internal expansion works,” Raju Shah, senior general manager of the hotel, told myrepublica.com.
But managing a hotel in the world´s third largest economy will not be a cakewalk for the group. They need to work very hard to upgrade their service quality. Shah said the group has already started preparation in that direction. “We will focus on trainings and producing quality manpower in a massive way,” Shah added.
The hotel is being constructed at an estimated cost of $10 to $12 million. The TTCL is also preparing to construct a deluxe resort with around 300 rooms.
Not only the project at Linzhi, Shah said other operational five star and small hotels in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, have also approached Star Management for management contract.
“We are keenly studying the performance of these hotels,” Shah, who is expected to look after the management of the hotel in Linzhi on behalf of the Star Management Pvt Ltd, told myrepublica.com.
He said the group was getting offers from across the border because of the sound management and quality service. “We were searching for new opportunities even during the period of conflict when the overall tourism business in the country was down,” he added.
Pandey said they were preparing to hire Nepali professionals in the top management in the hotel. “We might hire lower level employees locally. But I can assure you that Nepali professionals will man top managerial positions,” Pandey said. He further added that the industry should take inspiration from Shangri-La´s business expansion in the northern neighbor.
Nepal suffers a massive trade deficit with China. But the deficit can be reduced through such business to business interactions. Nepal had suffered trade deficit of Rs 30 billion with China in 2008/09, according to the Finance Ministry.