Several international hotel chains have taken up plans to expand their business in Bangladesh to cater for the growing need for luxury accommodation in Dhaka and other popular locations across the country.
According to industry sources, 15 more 5-star hotels will be set up in Bangladesh over the next three years to help the hospitality sector get along with the development thrust as the country pushes on plans to become a middle-income economy by 2021.
Apart from tourists, a large number of foreign buyers, diplomats, government and international agency employees, and business travellers visit Bangladesh regularly.
The existing 5-star hotels cannot fully accommodate the international guests.
The demand for luxury accommodation facility will rise further as the government has been working to attract more foreign tourists to boost the country’s tourism sector.
At present, there are seven 5-star hotels in the country, having a little over 1600 suites and rooms, which can accommodate around 2000 guests.
Of these, Intercontinental Hotel, the oldest one in the country, is now undergoing renovations and is likely to reopen in February 2018.
Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel has 277 suites and rooms, the Westin Dhaka has 235, Radisson Blu Dhaka Water Garden 200, Le Meridien Dhaka 304 and Four Points by Sheraton 149 suites and rooms.
The Radisson Blue Chittagong Bay View boasts of 241 suites and rooms with pleasing views of the commercial capital.
There was a time when only two luxury hotels -- Purbani in Dhaka and Agrabad in Chittagong -- were operating in the country. The two hotels are still operating along with many others across the country in the 3-star category.
Over the years, many investors have come forward to develop international luxury chain hotels to serve the growing number of tourists arriving in the country.
Hospitality industry experts said the completion of the would-be ventures would provide enormous opportunities and a big boost to the hospitality industry in Bangladesh.
The international hotel chains which are expanding business in Bangladesh include Hotel Sheraton, Holiday Inn, JW Marriott, Swiss Hotel, Hyatt Regency, Element Hotel, Saint Regis Hotel, Hilton Hotel and Dusit Hotel.
They will operate 5-star hotels built by local entrepreneurs in capital Dhaka, port city Chittagong, tourist town Cox Bazar and divisional cities like Khulna and Mymensingh.
The upcoming ventures will offer around 4,000 5-star standard rooms and suites apart from other facilities.
“With the expansion of Bangladesh’s economy, the demand for luxury accommodation is increasing. The existing luxury hotels are inadequate to fulfil the demands of the growing number of guests in Bangladesh," said Md Al-Amin, Director of Sales and Marketing at Westin Dhaka.
“At present, capital Dhaka has only 1,200 rooms in five luxury hotels, which are not enough to cater for the growing need of the guests seeking 5-star accommodation,” he said, adding that the average occupancy rate at these hotels is 70-72 percent.
Luxury hotels are usually build by local entrepreneurs while international hotel chains operate them under profit sharing arrangement.
Hospitality industry insiders said US-based global hotel chain Marriot International has partnered with two Bangladeshi companies for operating two 5-star hotels, one each in Dhaka and Chittagong.
Marriott International has signed agreements with Jamuna Builders Limited, a real estate concern of the Jamuna Group, to operate a 700-room JW Marriott Hotel in Dhaka and with Pacific Jeans, one of the leading premium jeans manufacturers, for another 250-room Marriott in Chittagong.
"We’re very hopeful of launching our hotel by the end of next year,” said Monika Islam, Director of Jamuna Group, while talking to the daily sun.
Syed M Tanvir, Director of Pacific Jeans Ltd, told the daily sun: “We’re taking necessary preparation to launch the hotel, hopefully by January next year.”
Unique Hotel and Resorts Ltd, the owner of Westin Dhaka, will build another four 5-star standard hotels at Gulshan, Banani and Uttara in the capital.
“There will be an Element Hotel at Uttara with 80 rooms, Sheraton Hotel at Banani with 250 rooms and St Regis Hotel and Hyatt Regency at Gulshan each having 220 rooms,” Westin Dhaka’s Sales and Marketing Director Md Al-Amin said.
Global hotel chains Holiday Inn and Marium Group are expecting to launch their branches in Dhaka in February 2018.
Bengal Group of Industries and Swissotel struck a deal to build the Swissotel Dhaka at Gulshan-Tejgaon Link Road in the capital. The Swissotel Dhaka will feature 375 guest rooms and suites.
Md Jashim Uddin, Vice-chairman of Bengal Group of Industries, told the daily sun: "It’ll be the first project of Swissotel Hotel in Bangladesh. The hotel is scheduled to open in 2020.”
Index Holdings Ltd, a concern of Index Companies, has signed a MoU to become the local franchise of US-based global chain Best Western Hotels and Resorts.
As per the agreement, both the enterprises will invest in hotel business under joint-venture arrangement through local and international financing companies and their establishments will feature rooms and suites in 3-star, 4-star and 5-star categories.
“We’ve a plan to offer 426 quality rooms across the country under 5-star, 4-star and of 3-star categories which will be launched by next two and a half years. Both of our hotels and resorts will be located near the 300 feet road adjacent to Bashundhara Residential Area,” a representative of the Index Holdings has said.
Another 4-star hotel will be launched in Rajshahi town with 64 rooms and a 3-star resort will be built in Rajendrapur adjacent to the national park with 52 rooms, he said.
Best Holdings Limited, the owner of Hotel Le Meridian, is working on a plan to build a resort in its Valuka Agro Project in Mymensingh. Le Meridian Bhaluka Resort and Spa is scheduled to open in January 2019 with more than 200 rooms. The 400-acre resort will feature lush green and scenic beauty.
Hilton Worldwide signed a management agreement with Premier Hotels and Resorts to manage Hilton Dhaka at Gulshan with 250 rooms.
Dusit International, one of Thailand's leading hotel and property development companies, is set to expand its global footprint with the opening of Dusit Princess Dhaka with 90 rooms, the company's first property in Bangladesh, under a long-term arrangement with a subsidiary of Lakeshore Hotels Limited.
The hotel will boast of 80 guest rooms and 10 suites in a 13-storey building at Uttara.
Radisson, which is operated in Bangladesh under joint venture between US-based Carlson Hotels Worldwide and Chittagong-based Clewiston Group, will build a 350-room 5-star hotel on Kalatoli beach in Cox's Bazar.