By Mayur Shekhar Jha

When the downturn hit the Indian real estate sector, the first thing many companies did was to shelve their hospitality plans. Some of them are now returning to the hotel business, and Emaar MGF does not want to miss the bus.

Emaar Properties, who built the world’s tallest tower Burj Khalifa in Dubai earlier this year, is now looking at reviving its hospitality plans in the Indian market.

The company’s India arm, Emaar MGF, which is also developing one of India’s most prestigious residential projects, the Commonwealth Games Village, has started the process of revisiting its hospitality plans in India, earlier put on hold in the backdrop of the downturn.

Shravan Gupta, vice chairman of Emaar MGF, said, “We had put hospitality plans on the backburner. But now, with market showing clear signs of recovery, we are now revisiting some of those plans.”

In fact, a couple of years back, the company had unveiled ambitious plans in the hospitality space, including plans to open as many as 100 budget hotels in a joint venture with Accor.

This time however, the focus is not as much on the budget hotel space, as it is on the super luxury segment and is even planning to launch the prestigious Armani hotel in India.

Mohammad Ali Alabbar, chairman of Emaar Properties, said, “We are very bullish on the India market for our hospitality business and together with our partner, are in the process of identifying a viable site to launch Armani hotels.”

Needless to say, that the company, which is waiting for a suitable window to launch its IPO, wants to be extremely cautious as far as its hospitality venture is concerned and learn from its previous mistakes and global experience now that the Indian hospitality sector is seeing an upswing.