ITCM interviews Gary Khan, CEO, Hyderabad Convention & Visitors BureauJalil Khan, known mostly as Gary, hails from Hyderabad, but has spent most of his life away. He has an MBA from California and for 23 years he worked for United Airlines in the USA. ‘But I always knew I would return home to India. I wanted to give something back to Hyderabad and this is the perfect vehicle for doing that’.
‘MICE business is important and is one of our first priorities’, he agrees, ‘because it is high yield tourism per head and it is a well defined target market. Furthermore, Hyderabad has remarkable facilities for it. I see my immediate task as making the world aware of exactly what we have in Hyderabad and I am confident that organisers will then see the benefits of staging events here.’
Gary calculates that every dollar spent in Hyderabad by a foreign visitor generates an average of $2.63 of business for the community, as the taxi driver uses it to buy food and the shopkeeper spends it on clothing and so the dollar makes its rounds.
‘The facilities here will be a massive surprise to those coming to inspect them. For example, Hyderabad boasts the world’s largest film studios. Some reports claim that as many as 20 international movies and 40 local movies can all be made there at the same time.’
‘There are hotels galore to suit all levels of budgets’, he goes on. ‘We have 2,500 rooms in 5-star hotels, 1,100 4-star, 1,500 3-star and there are serviced apartments. And during 2012 a further three 5-star properties will open adding 1,700 rooms.’
The hotels are geared up for meetings. There are, for example, the 288-room Novotel with its integral Conference Centre that can accommodate events for up to 350 people, the 293-room Hyderabad Marriott Hotel & Convention Centre offering over 55,00sqft of indoor and outdoor function space and the 427-room Westin Hyderabad Mindspace Hotel with nine meeting rooms, the largest able to seat up to 700 delegates.
Hyderabad is a waking giant with an 8.5% growth in GDP year on year. It is particularly well supplied with universities and highly advanced medical facilities. ‘Doctors are coming back to Hyderabad to work here and medical tourism is a growth industry for Hyderabad’, comments Gary. ‘People from all corners of the globe come for treatment and operations. It is a very suitable location to hold medical and pharmaceutical conferences, with very interesting excursion programmes.’
The region has grown rapidly and is continuing to grow as a global IT centre. ‘We can list enterprises here that include Hewlett Packard, IBM, Microsoft and even Google and Face book. We are an important Accenture centre. It is possible to say that Hyderabad is the thinking person’s capital with a workforce that is English-speaking and highly educated, ready to provide the human resources that any multi-national operation might require.’
‘I am very passionate about Hyderabad’, says Gary Khan – and ITCM is sure that his passion will soon be shared with many much further afield.