Celebrating a legacy of more than 50 years in the tourism and hospitality industry, Indian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) has come a long way. In conversation with Akshay Nayak, Piyush Tiwari, director – Commercial & Marketing, ITDC highlights how ITDC is adapting to the modern business scenario in the country
How has ITDC been a game changer in providing top-notch hospitality to international and domestic patrons?
ITDC has a legacy of more than 50 years in the tourism and hospitality industry and has literally set standards for same in India. ITDC has been consistently evolving and working towards maintaining and enhancing its presence, turnover and profitability by strengthening other verticals like Ashok Tourism & Travels (ATT), Ashok International Trade Division (AITD), Ashok Institute of Hospitality & Tourism Management (AIH&TM), Ashok Events Division and Ashok Consultancy & Engineering Division to keep pace with the time. Our prime vision is to provide top-notch hospitality, travel and tourism related services, and to achieve that ITDC has been putting its best efforts to meet industry norms and practices.
One fine example is the Hotel Ashok, New Delhi. Build in 1956 and located in the prestigious Diplomatic Enclave of New Delhi, the flagship of The Ashok Group truly lives up to its claim, “They do not build hotels on such grand lines any more.” The Ashok has been setting standards, not only in conference handling but also as a fantastic host for state guests and VVIPs. Services and amenities offered by the hotel pamper almost every section of guests from home and abroad, with traditional Indian hospitality. Ever responsive to the need of times, the hotel offers an array of international cuisine experiences, apart from its regular culinary offerings.
What do the current trends in hospitality industry suggest? How is ITDC adopting the same?
One of the key trends which has surged beyond expectations in hospitality industry is ‘sustainability in business.’ The brands are striving to be meaningful towards the environment. Hotels are investing in steps to do one more thing towards keeping a healthy environment and giving back to the society. The hospitality sector has drastically altered ways to consume energy and water, consumable and durable goods, and disposal of solid and hazardous waste created in the processes. Hotels have also started educating and sensitising guests about preserving resources like water and electricity by promoting reuse of linen during short stays. Our flagship property Hotel The Ashok, New Delhi was accredited LEED GOLD certification under US Green Building Council in 2017 and is in process of getting Platinum LEED certification soon. Hotel Samrat, another hotel under the brand is also in process of getting Gold LEED certification along with energy audit for both the hotels. We believe technology is shaping the future of the travel, tourism and hospitality industry. Technological advancement like Artificial Intelligence, Voice Technology, Automation, etc. is going to play an important role in near future.
How is ITDC catering to the modern-day traveller?
Over the years, The Ashok has been refined, perfected and made more comfortable. There has been a constant updating of facilities to suit the needs of today and adapting them to the requirement of the future. For hospitality here has become “an appreciative art”.
With an inventory of 550 rooms The Ashok serves as preferred destination for almost every class of traveller starting from student to luxury traveller. The Ashok, New Delhi, a flagship property of ITDC, was awarded the National Tourism Award for ‘Hotel providing best facilities for differently-abled guest’ & ‘Best Hotel Based Meeting Venue’ Award for the third consecutive year. Since inception, The Ashok has been serving guest with care, providing the best facilities for differently-abled guests. Indeed, two per cent of the hotel inventory is dedicated for differently-abled guests, with 11 rooms including three suites furnished with special fittings, that is the largest in the entire hospitality industry. The Ashok has been recognised to adapt sustainable excellence in design, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, material and resources and indoor environmental quality.
How are you keeping students updated about current industry trends at The Ashok Institute of Hospitality & Tourism Management?
Ashok Institute of Hospitality & Tourism Management (AIH&TM) is conducting three-year degree course in Hospitality & Hotel Administration (H&HA) since 2015 from Hotel Samrat. This course is affiliated to National Council for Hotel Management & Catering Technology (NCHMT). The institute has achieved placement of 100 per cent and 92 per cent students respectively during 2018 & 2019. AIH&TM is operating from two campuses at New Delhi, namely Qutab Campus and Hotel Samrat Campus, offering an array of services in hospitality education and training through short term and long term courses. Both the campuses have adequate infrastructure providing the opportunity to the students and trainees to practice and perform during the practical sessions. The students studying in these institute have an opportunity to witness the real time experience of their learning through the curriculum and practising it in the hotel trades. The students are also given opportunity to gain experience in VVIP caterings of head of states, food festivals, government tourism events, etc. Industry experts are invited to conduct special lectures which in turn help the students to develop a holistic approach towards their professional and personal lives.
What is the future roadmap for ITDC?
With the changing economic and business scenario ITDC is in the process of repositioning itself as “One Stop Solution for all Hospitality, Travel and Tourism Related Needs” by leveraging its brand strength and experience of more than 50 years. ITDC has now widened its outlook towards the hospitality and tourism industry. The Ashok continues to host important events, conventions as well as special short term festivals and fashion exhibitions. The major focus will be on capturing MICE segment as The Ashok, New Delhi has been privileged to host numerous influential international conferences and delegations in past years. To enhance the experience, apart from regular upgradations, The Ashok and Hotel Samrat will undergo revamping to cope up with technological advancements and changing interior trends, but the ambience of a heritage property will be kept intact.