JK Mohanty, CMD Swosti Group in a passionate conversation with Nilambar Rath, Editor OdishaLIVE on the making of Swosti Chilika Resort, his dream project. OdishaLIVE met the veteran hotelier at ground zero a couple of days before inauguration of the property.
(Swosti Chilika Resort, one of a kind property in the hospitality sector in India has been developed by Swosti group. In the 9 acre patch it has got everything from Pool Villas, Quad Villas, Hotel Block, Spa, Amphitheatre, Convention, Bar, a large swimming pool with Jacuzzi, a grand Presidential Suite and ample green space with serene environment. Moreover, being right on the bank of Chilika Lagoon the unique destination is going to attract Eco tourists and people for Destination Weddings and Corporate Events.)
Congratulations on developing a new property Swosti Chilika Resort. How did you come up with this idea?
JK: I keep visiting South East Asian countries quite frequently and see Indians spending a good amount of time at resorts and hotels in Hong Kong, Thailand, Pattaya, Phuket, Sri Lanka. Because we did not have a unique domestic retreat and recreation destination, we thought to deliver a high end product in the country so that the people experience the class and spend their money here in Odisha instead of going abroad. This is a first of its kind resort on the Chilika lake. We have taken the best of consultants and amenities at Swosti Chilika Resort to give it an international feel.
What are your plans to attract the foreign tourists?
JK: At our Chilika Resort we are looking for both inland and foreign travellers. Recently an international airline has started operations in Odisha so we will do road shows in places like Kuala Lumpur which has international air connectivity to Odisha. The Government is also widely promoting Odisha tourism via road shows. So we hope to attract a good number of tourists from Asian countries as well as other parts of the globe.
What is your plan to sell the resort as a destination?
JK: We have been actively involved in the digital marketing of the resort on our website and getting a good number of enquiries from foreign tourists, wedding planners and event managers. In fact we have booked two destination weddings in the winter months from outside Odisha. So we are getting a nice response from people as well as the corporate sector and we hope to take the property to international standards very soon.
Why did you choose Chilika as the location?
JK: Though there is lot of scope outside the state and also in the city locations in Odisha we thought of building the resort as a unique destination away from the city hustle and bustle. So to match the thought what would have been a better choice than Chilika? Secondly, we are a popular brand in Odisha. So we developed the property here which would not only bring employment for our workforce but also contribute to the growth of local economy around Chilika.
What unique features do you offer at Swosti Chilika Resort?
JK: These days people want absolute silence and peace away from the city life. After the day to day hectic life people want to de-stress and rejuvenate. Swosti Chilika Resort will be a good choice for them. We have developed world class facilities for both the eco tourists and people who come as leisure tourists. We have got a unique Spa treatment and Yoga Centre. We are offering different types of accommodation in our hotel block, pool villas with Jacuzzi, quad villa as per the preference of the guests. Besides this Chilika is an exotic destination for migratory birds which will enchant the modern day individuals. We can take people to any of the 26 islands for morning or evening picnic parties.
Though Odisha has diversified tourism treasures, do you think Chilika got the potential to be marketed as an independent destination?
JK: Of course. The government is focused on the promotion of Chilika Lake and development of infrastructure in South Odisha which was not seen earlier. I think we would benefit with the promotion and incentives offered by the Govt. The Chief Minister wants tourism to be a chief contributor to the economy of the state. The future looks promising.
Tourism needs Infrastructure to develop potential. Do you think this resort will add value to the region?
JK: Definitely. Chilika is a well known destination but people did not turn up in good number due to lack of quality accommodation. Now that Swosti Chilika Resort is here, we hope that we inspire other hoteliers and may be an international hotel chain can come up in the near future. Talks of a film city are doing the rounds as well which is definitely going to attract tourists. But we also have to keep the ecological balance of the place intact. We cannot afford to overcrowd Chilika or disturb the natural surroundings.
You are a frontrunner in the Hotel and Tourism Industry of Odisha. How do you place the Chilika property among other Swosti Group offerings ?
JK: Swosti Grand and Swosti Premium at Bhubaneswar are both hotels competing within the city. But this resort is built around a virgin destination. In fact, apart from promoting our own resort we are also promoting Chilika as a destination. Though it is a challenge for us but we hope to promote tourism in Chilika and explore its vast potential.
How do you look forward to have a return on this huge investment?
JK: We have made a good investment keeping in mind the lack of facilities in the area. But the amount of promotion we have done and the response and enthusiasm we are receiving everyday give us promise and we look forward to have returns on our investment in the next five years.
Experiential tourism has become the buzzword today. As the founder and CMD of Swosti Chilika Resort what commitment do you offer to your guests over here?
JK: We have kept tourist experience in mind while building up this resort. We are providing bicycles to our guests to explore the local lifestyle, try a fishing rod in Chilika Lake, cook and serve the varieties of sea food that guests catch, which they never get in any city hotel. The guests will also have the unique thrill of water sports.