Searching for the unusual: The North East, the travel hotspot for 2024 – Travel & Tourism News

As travelers look for more offbeat destinations and the Northeast emerges as India’s new travel hotspot, hospitality groups are also ramping up their expansion plans in the region.

Indiathe largest hotel company of Indian Hotels Company (IHCL) this month opened Hotel Vivanta in Tawang, the first five-star hotel for the state of Arunachal Pradesh. This follows on the heels of the opening of the Taj Guras Kutir Resort & Spa and the Ginger Hotel in Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim (the state already has a Vivanta Hotel in nearby Pakyong). The hospitality professional has also signed another hotel in Arunachal in capital Itanagar. The 150-key green property strategically located within driving distance of Donyi Polo Airportwill also be branded Vivanta.

Meanwhile, Vivanta at Tawang, which opened on Tuesday, sits at an altitude of 10,000 feet and is a short drive from Tawang Monastery, the world’s second largest. It offers 80 rooms and apartments. At the grand opening of the hotel on December 23, Arunachal Pradesh CM Pema Khandu took to X (formerly Twitter) and wrote, “Tourism in Arunachal now gets an iconic facility at Vivanta Tawang… Better facilities will not only ensure ease of stay for our tourists but also make their visit to Arunachal Pradesh unforgettable.”

“We have a significant presence in the region. IHCL is present in five states in the Northeast through its brands with 12 hotels, including five under development,” said Suma Venkatesh, executive vice president, real estate and development, IHCL.

Earlier this month, The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts announced the signing of an agreement to manage a 140-room hotel at Ranka in Sikkim, marking the brand’s foray into northeast India. Leela Sikkim is scheduled to open in December 2026.

“Sikkim remains a pristine destination with the right combination of urbanization, rich cultural heritage and unexplored natural beauty. This expansion is in step with growing demand from discerning global leisure travelers,” said Anurag Bhatnagar, CEO, The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts.

Meanwhile, Nagaland is also gearing up to get a piece of the 5-star hospitality pie after the state tourism department recently entered into an agreement with Hotel Polo Towers Group to set up two properties, including one with a mall, for the first time in the state. While one with a mall will be set up in Dimapur, the other will come up in the state capital Kohima and the estimated investment for them will be Rs 150 crore, according to reports.

In Assam, IHCL already has two operational hotels — Vivanta and Ginger — in Guwahati. Another Ginger in Guwahati and one in Jorhat are also in the pipeline, besides another Vivanta in Guwahati. “We have Hotel Vivanta in Shillong, Meghalaya and Hotel Ginger in Agartala, Tripura,” said Venkatesh. “Under our ama Stays & Trails brand, we have also signed a bungalow at Pakyong in Sikkim,” she added.

Tour operators confirm the trend. Yatra.com, for example, has seen 25-30% growth in hotel bookings. “Northeast India is undoubtedly a hidden gem, offering a diverse range of cultures, incredible historical sites, revered sites like the Kamakhya Temple and exciting activities like river rafting and trekking. With its strategic importance, stunning natural environment and diverse cultural offerings, this region is poised to become a top holiday destination by 2024,” said Bharat Malik, Senior Vice President, Flights, Yatra.com.

“The Northeast attracts more Indians because of the pleasant temperatures, dense forests, ancient monasteries, snow-capped mountains, pristine valleys, lakes, waterfalls; we are witnessing an increase in demand of 20-25% year-on-year for the destination,” said Daniel D’Souza, President and Country Head, Vacations, SOTC Travel.

Thomas Cook (India) also registered 25% year-on-year growth for the region. “As this is the best time to explore the tribes, trails and teas of this magnificent region, travelers are showing interest in Gangtok and Shillong due to easier connectivity and availability of hotels. Popular searched locations include Kaziranga National Park, Tsomgo Lake, Yumtang Valley, Tawang Monastery, Natula Pass, Gurudongmar Lake, Teesta River, Loktak Lake, Majuli Islands, Mount Gorichen and Sela Pass. New emerging locales include Cherrapunjee/Sohra and Umium lake,” added Rajiv Kale, President and Country Head, Holidays, MICE, Visa, Thomas Cook (India).

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