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Premium developers are promoting properties abroad, clubbing them with travel and tourism

This is Indian realty’s latest trend. Premium developers in the real estate sector are promoting properties abroad, clubbing them with travel and tourism.

For such players, the trigger is understandable. The number of outbound Indian tourists, which stood at nearly 20 million last year, is expected to cross the 50-million mark by 2020.

The price-conscious Indian traveler, always on the look out for ways to bring down his lodging and food costs, provides the backdrop for this newly emerging marketing trend.

For those not willing to go West or cross the Atlantic, Bangkok, Pattaya, Taiwan, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Philippines are great options, considering their proximity to India.

Little surprise therefore that Kolkata-based diversified Aditya Group has teamed up with Huntsman IndiaThai Company Limited and floated a JV called Homelicious Hospitality Company Limited (Thailand).

It aims to take up various high-class condominiums and villas in and around Thailand’s Pattaya as well as various real estate development projects in Sihanoukville and Phnom Penh in Cambodia.

These projects will include condominiums and health resorts, says Anirban Aditya, chairman, Aditya Group.

For starters, Homelicious Hospitality Company Limited (Thailand) has just thrown open a couple of apartment properties - Cetus Beachfront Pattaya, Mimosa Pattaya and put them on offer for long term rentals.

Located on the Jomtien Beach in Pattaya, on offer at these apartments are a terrace with excellent sea views, an outdoor pool, free WiFi and private parking and a fully equipped kitchen. Other sops at Cetus Beachfront include a fitness centre, steam rooms and a children’s play area.

Huntsman IndiaThai Company Limited, the Thai JV partner of the Indian company, is a provider of various realty-related services at Pattaya for the last five years.

Recently, Huntsman IndiaThai Company changed its operating model from a real estate consultancy company to a property management company. It has also began real estate consultancy operations in Cambodia.

Aditya points out to outbound travel from India that is growing stronger by the day. According to one estimate, 68 per cent of the outbound tourists are leisure tourists while 32 per cent come for business; of this, 4 per cent represent MICE, the abbreviation standing for meetings, incentives, conferencing and exhibitions.

Even that is a big number and if accommodation comes at a relatively cheaper rate without compromising on the quality and amenities, this trend is expected to grow significantly. Apartments on rental are the idea solution for all, it appears.

Says a senior official of Club7 Holidays, an arm of the Centrum Group, "Bangkok, Pattaya have long been hot favourites of Indian tourists, be it the independent traveller or the MICE variety. Philippines, Manila’s capital, has turned out to be a major attraction for MICE tourists from India. Nearly 300-350 groups visited Manila last year, which is significant. It's true with other travels and tours companies also. Along with this, some other South East Asian destinations are becoming increasingly popular because these countries are close by and have relatively weaker currencies, which travelers take advantage of once they are there. Besides, such destinations offer excellent nightlife and there are a number of good Indian restaurants, which serve exotic Indian food. All these factors taken together may have boosted India's outbound MICE tourists' preference for these places."

According to Aditya, hotel accommodation is a major component in any travel budget. A dip in accommodation costs along with lowered costs of food, travel and sightseeing, would definitely attract tourists to extend their trips. They can stay longer at no significant additional costs.

When it comes to investing in realty ventures abroad, Aditya Group is doing joining a bigger bandwagon. Biggies, including Tata Housing, the realty arm of the Tata Group and a leading real estate developer in India, for instance, has already set out on its African Safari, teaming up with National Housing Corporation (NHC) and a private real estate firm.

It is developing more than 4.5 million sq ft of mixed-use township across Kenya and Tanzania. This comes close on the heels of the company’s successful launch of projects in Sri Lanka and Maldives.

As has Ansals API, which had tied up with Malaysia's UEM Group to form a 60:40 joint venture - Ansal Api-UEM Contracts Pvt Ltd - to bid for government projects in Malaysia, as also projects worldwide. The company had also tied up with Dubai's Deyaar.

The Puravankara Group is doing a project in Sri Lanka, a high-end residential complex, comprising 100 villas, on the road from the airport to Colombo.

Parsvnath Developers has active interest and exposures in projects in the retail and hospitality sectors in Dubai, Mauritius, Singapore and a few other locations abroad.

Hiranandanis had also teamed up with Hircon International and Dubai-based ETA-Star Property for premium residential properties in Dubai.

South City Projects (Kolkata) Ltd, through its Sri Lankan JV Indocean Developers Pvt Ltd, is putting up a 240-metre skyscraper mixed-use property in Colombo, Sri Lanka called Altair with a capital outlay of $100 million (once completed and thrown open, the project is expected to have a valuation of over $400 million).

While these are all pure realty ventures, adding a dash of wanderlust to a realty venture would certainly make them more viable, feel sector analysts.

ritwikmukherjee@mydigitalfc.com

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