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Tata Coffee forays into holiday homes biz

Business Standard - February 23, 2006
Tata Coffee, the coffee plantation company, as part of its diversification exercise, has entered the holiday homes' business in the coffee-growing district of Kodagu (Coorg) in Karnataka by launching a separate division called 'Plantation Trails'. Addressing a press meet here on Wednesday, M H Ashraff, managing director, Tata Coffee said that the exercise has been confined to eight estates in the Polybetta area in Kodagu. It might be extended to other regions like Hassan and Chickmagalur by the year-end.

Three bungalows are ready with 14 rooms and by the year-end, 12 bungalows with 38 rooms will be covered under their expanded tourism portfolio, he added. The company plans to sell planters' experience and bungalows. On offer are the original estate homes, occupied by the planters of Tata Coffee and have a unique style of their own.

They offer one a first-hand opportunity to experience a plantation lifestyle just as the original planters did, a way of life far removed from the typical urban, corporate existence, combined with appealingly personalised services in the midst of the estates of Coorg. The holiday homes also offer the holiday-maker an opportunity to experience outdoor activities like open-top jeep drives, biking, fishing and golfing, the latter available at the Tata Coffee Golf Course.

Priced at Rs 2,500 to Rs 3,500 per room with bed and breakfast for two persons with taxes, lunch and dinners come extra for Rs 250 per head per meal. The company plans to target segments like the IT professionals of Bangalore, weekend holidayers and foreigners, said Christine F Jamal, vice president (corporate), Tata Coffee. As an exercise to reach them, the company has made efforts to enlist travel agents, direct corporates sales and through the company's website, she added.

Ashraff said, "Tata Coffee has built up heritage value with its coffee brand. It is now time to take advantage of the heritage value and make the most of it for an enterprise that not only complements our business, but also is in a fast-developing sectors - the tourism and hospitality sector. We are sure plantation trails will make a world of difference to tourists this season."

"The venture into hospitality is yet another pioneering endeavour for us. The tourism sector is responding to an increasing demand for eco-tourism. With increased activity in tourism development along the wildlife circuits, a large number of wildlife sanctuaries and national parks across the country are entering such businesses," he added.