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Raising the Bar of Sustainable Hospitality

Shruti Shibulal, Director - Strategy & Development, The Tamara realised her calling as an entrepreneur much early and debuted in the service industry at the age of 23. Having followed a sustainable line of thought, her efforts were recently recognised by the World Economic Forum (WEF) which termed her among the 100 Young Leaders, under the age of 40 who are tackling the world’s most complex challenges with innovative approaches. Akansha Pandey elaborates.

Friday, June 9, 2017, 11:30 Hrs  [IST]

Though she began her professional career from the finance industry in New York, the entrepreneur in her called out early on, as she co-founded her first business – a restaurant company way back in 2008 at the age of 23. This was just the starting of a new journey for Shibulal, who was trying to walk independently from the shadows of her illustrious father, SD Shibulal, Co-Founder and former CEO of Infosys. Being a newbie, she gained practical know-how and experience across various functions of finance, management, operations and strategy as is required in any new venture. By immersing herself into the service industry, she discovered that she was truly passionate about the hospitality industry.

On graduating from Columbia Business School, New York in 2010, she ventured with The Tamara and launched the operations of the first property – The Tamara Coorg in 2012, a luxury resort located on a 182 acre organic coffee plantation. Far from the maddening crowd, this resort near Madikeri is nestled in the unmapped hills of Coorg, one of the few places in the world that is built inside a functional coffee plantation.

The company also operates Lilac, the first of a collection of hotels in the affordable luxury segment located in Bengaluru and Palma Laguna, a boutique resort on the backwaters of Kerala.

Commenting on the recent recognition, she stated, “Being acknowledged as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum was an honour. I take the expectations associated with it very seriously and hope to create significant impact through the work that I do. My innate passion for hospitality comes from wanting to provide exceptional service to our guests and from a deep desire to create employment. Hospitality remains people-centric and is currently one of the most significant employers in the world. Jobs created lead to the upliftment of employees and furthermore their families and communities which feels remarkably fulfilling to me.”

Maintaining sustainability as one of the core values, The Tamara strives to preserve and protect the local communities, conserve water resources and minimise energy utilisation. Technology is efficiently utilised to reduce waste and create a shared sense of responsibility in the minds of all employees. This can be seen through the lack of plastic at The Tamara Coorg, innovations in the plumbing system to reduce the water consumption by 30% and utilisation of waste from the kitchen to create organic manure. “We strive for utmost guest satisfaction and create properties that allow them to experience the environments in which we are located without impacting them negatively. This is what makes all the difference,” she informed.

On the expansion front, Shibulal has made two hotel acquisitions in Germany last year. They presently have five projects under development including a luxury resort in Kodaikanal, a business hotel in Trivandrum, an expansion on Palma Laguna and additional Lilac properties in Bengaluru and Guruvayoor, Kerala. The Tamara is expected to reach 1000 keys by 2025.

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