The Uttar Pradesh government will set up five-star hotels with premium facilities for tourists in nine palaces and forts of the state, a government spokesperson said.
The move aims to enhance the tourism sector and provide employment opportunities for the youth, while also promoting rural tourism and culture and boosting the economy.
This approach will not only restore the heritage assets but also create direct and indirect employment opportunities for the youth in the field of tourism. Additionally, it will contribute to the economic transformation of rural tourism, culture, and local areas.
The Uttar Pradesh Tourism Department is gearing up to convert heritage properties, including Chattar Manzil in Lucknow, Chunar Fort in Mirzapur, Barua Sagar Fort in Jhansi, Kothi Gulistan-e-Iram, Kothi Darshan Vilas, and Kothi Roshan in Lucknow, Barsana Water Palace in Mathura, Shukla Talab in Kanpur, and Tikait Rai Baradari in Bithoor into heritage hotels.
The government has created three categories for the purpose with a proposed minimum investment amount of Rs 180 crore.
According to the spokesman, wellness centres, heritage hotels, resorts, museums, heritage restaurants, boutique restaurants, banquet halls, wedding tourism, adventure tourism, homestays, thematic parks, and other tourism and hospitality units will be constructed in heritage properties by the Tourism Department.
The proposed plan of the government is being actively considered by the tourism industry.
Leading hotel groups interested in investing in the adaptive reuse of ancient heritage buildings include Leela Hotels, Neemrana Hotels, Indian Hotels Company (Taj Hotels), Mahindra Hotels and Resorts, Oberoi Hotels, The MRS Group and Resort, Lalit Hotels, Hyatt Regency, Sarovar Hotels and Resorts, Accor Group, THF Hotels, Langer Hotels, Royal Orchid Hotels, Ramada Hotel, Clark Hotels, and Bridgman Groups of Hotels. All of them have shown interest in the Expression of Interest (EOI).
Notably, a few months ago, around 41 heritage entrepreneurs met officials of the Tourism Department to express their interest in the heritage buildings of the state. Furthermore, the Tourism Department has also studied heritage buildings in five states — Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Odisha, and Rajasthan.
According to Mukesh Meshram, Principal Secretary and Director General of Tourism, the selection of the successful bidder for the project will be based on the quality and cost-based selection method.
According to officials, criteria and responsibilities for the conservation of heritage buildings have been defined.
The established criteria and responsibilities include maintaining the layout of archaeological buildings as they were original, refraining from making any changes in their original form, adapting the use of the building in accordance with its mythological and historical significance, establishing informative signage by developers about the history of the heritage building, showcasing local culture, cuisine, arts, clothing, and cultural practices, as well as developing neighbouring villages under CSR selected by the developer, along with providing employment to 25 per cent of the local citizens.
Mukesh Meshram said that the selection of the successful bidder will be based on the quality and cost-based selection method.