Atmosphere Hotels & Resorts announces expansion plans
Maldives-based Atmosphere Hotels & Resorts is all set for expansion with two new resorts, OBLU XPErience Ailafushi and OBLU SELECT Lobigili, set to open in November 2021, in the Malé Atoll.
OBLU XPErience Ailafushi is the company’s first four-star resort with an aim to attract budget travellers.
OBLU SELECT Lobigili is a contemporary five-star boutique resort, exclusively for couples, with a similar positioning and ‘Serenity Plan’ as its popular sister property OBLU SELECT Sangeli.
“Once we retain our volumes and occupancy to pre-pandemic levels, we will plan to strengthen and position our uber-luxe brand, THE OZEN COLLECTION on a worldwide basis. In the new normal, there has been an increase in the average duration of stay of guests,” Salil Panigrahi, Founder & Managing Director at Atmosphere Hotels & Resorts, said.
“We hope to attract high profile guests with the unique experience of working and living in paradise. Our long stay offer for extended stays and workcations at THE OZEN COLLECTION is soon to be introduced in all our markets.”
A visionary hotelier par excellence, Panigrahi has built a reputation for hospitality based on the ethos of ‘Joy of Giving.’ He conceptualised Atmosphere in 2013, as a resort management brand with a unique philosophy. His objective was to operate value-driven resorts focused on the leisure segment in the Indian Ocean region.
In just seven years, under Panigrahi’s leadership, the group has launched six resorts in the Maldives, with the latest addition being OZEN RESERVE BOLIFUSHI in South Malé Atoll which launched in December 2020.
“We launched OZEN RESERVE BOLIFUSHI on December 3, 2020, along with our flagship uber-luxe brand THE OZEN COLLECTION,” Panigrahi said, in an interaction with ETHospitalityWorld.
“Our rebranding and redesign of the resort started during summer 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic had stalled many businesses and activities across the world. Within a few months, we launched the resort to a resounding success.”
The Maldives was the first Asian destination to reopen for tourism since the global shutdown. And, when the country’s borders reopened on July 15, 2020, all the six resorts under the Atmosphere Hotels & Resorts group resumed operations with immediate effect.
After a successful festive season with occupancy surging to strong levels, the current occupancy rate has stabilised.
“However, our occupancy rates are still extremely encouraging, considering that we have been receiving a significant share of the tourists coming to the Maldives especially from the Indian market,” Panigrahi added.
While India was not the top volume generator for Maldives historically, there was massive growth seen in Q3 2019 with unprecedented year-over-year growth of 105 per cent.
Because many of the major source markets are closed due to travel restrictions, there has been a visible upsurge in Indian tourists visiting the Maldives, especially with the air travel bubble and newly introduced flights enabling swifter travel between the two countries.
“Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, and Ahmedabad are some of the key cities from where we have been receiving guests,” Panigrahi informed.
“This has been seen across economic segments and buying capacities, right from the budget traveller seeking a relaxing time at entry-level resorts to the very nuanced and seasoned traveller. The latter category, including Bollywood celebrities, have been flocking to the destination, working both as a promoter of Maldives as a hot destination and inspiring and influencing the other traveller segments to put the Maldives on their wishlist.”
Panigrahi is optimistic about the ongoing vaccinations in the Maldives and globally. Looking at the current pattern, he is hoping that a significant upswing in volumes will help achieve pre-pandemic numbers by late 2021 or early 2022. Spreading out the wings beyond the Maldives, Panigrahi also has plans for Sri Lanka.
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