Indian hospitality chain Lemon Tree Hotels is planning to open 30 new properties across the country this year, The Economic Times has reported.

This will potentially add more than 2,000 rooms to Lemon Tree’s portfolio.

The basis of this expansion plan is the company’s belief that the middle-class consumer segment will drive demand in the hotel industry as the country’s economy improves.

Lemon Tree Hotels, chairman and managing director Patanjali Keswani in an interview with Economic Times stated that the expansion plan includes the opening of one resort in the neighbouring country Bhutan and the launch of three to four hotels and resorts in Nepal.

This follows the company’s significant growth last year, which saw the addition of 1,375 new rooms across 14 hotels, including India’s largest hotel, the 669-room Aurika Mumbai Skycity.

Lemon Tree is also targeting strategic growth in key tier-one, two, and three markets, including cities such as Gurugram, Jamshedpur, Meerut and Thiruvananthapuram.

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The brand also plans to expand its presence in famous leisure and wellness destinations such as Dehradun, Goa, Kanha Somnath, Kumbhalgarh and Udaipur.

It is also set to expand its luxury brand, Aurika Hotels & Resorts, with two new resorts in Kasauli and Rishikesh, with 110 rooms and 132 rooms, respectively.

Keswani said: “The large Indian chains will drive consolidation in the hospitality sector through lower inventory hotels because the economics or cost structure of international chains doesn’t support this kind of expansion at present.”

“I had said we would cross 10,000 rooms. Of which, 60% will be owned by us. We opened India’s biggest hotel in Mumbai. Now, our operating-owned inventory is close to 6,000 and our managed inventory is about 4,500 rooms. So put together, it’s 10,500. We are there.”

For the quarter ended 31 December, Lemon Tree reported a revenue from operations of Rs2.89bn ($34.8m) and a profit of Rs440m ($5.3m).

Keswani further stated that the brand is expected to sign up to 4,000 more rooms, most of which could be standalone hotels or some other branded hotels being added to their portfolio.

Last month, the company launched Keys Lite by Lemon Tree Hotels in Dapoli, Maharashtra, and signed for the Lemon Tree Hotel Meerut in Uttar Pradesh, slated to open next year.