Director Vivek Chadha of Nine Group of Hotels with Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street

Vivek Chadha and David Cameron

Vivek Chadha and David Cameron

British Premier David Cameron paid a glowing tribute to British Sikhs for their remarkable contribution to multicultural Britain at a presti- gious reception at 10 Downing Street earlier this month. Over 100 guests, men and women, and each a leader in their own right, attended the fourth annual Vaisakhi reception host- ed by Mr Cameron.Regardless of motive or objective, credit must be given to the PM, or to Dave, as some call him, for recognising and acknowledging the contributions of main- stream community groups which make up the mosaic of multi-cultural Britain.
A key announcement that Mr Cameron made at this event was that, as of Monday 7 April, Sikhs in the UK would be exempt from wearing hard hats at construction sites. “From now on Sikhs don’t have to wear hard hats at construction sites in our country,” he said. “We have already stopped searching of turbans in the UK,” he added, describing British Sikhs as “absolute role models in integrating with the British society.” Construction sites are considered to be one of the most dangerous workplaces and hard hats are worn as a precautionary measure.
Here, guests from all over the country exchanged hugs, handshakes and business cards. Vegetarian canapés and soft drinks were served by catering staff.Then came the moment everyone was waiting for: Mr Cameron entered the room. As always, it was amusing to see several guests cut short their conversations with whoever they were chatting to and head towards the PM, in a desperate attempt to meet him.
For those meeting the PM for the first time, understood. But you’d think the regulars would give others a chance. Eventually, the PM arrived at the raised platform and gave his address:”I send my best wishes to everyone in Britain and around the world celebrating Vaisakhi,” he began. “This year marks 160 years since the first Sikh arrived in Britain. Since then, the story of British Sikhs has been one of success – of many thousands of people making a positive contribution in so many ways.
From the Sikh entrepreneurs and small businesses who are creating jobs, to the business leaders who are helping to boost overseas trade; from the hard working families who are getting on in life, to the sports- men and women who do our country proud, Sikhs are a key part of our island story.
In Britain, another aspect of Sikhs’ contribution stands out: “Seva”, or selfless service. We see it across the country – Gurdwaras which prepare meals (langar) for their com- munities; Free Schools giving children the best opportunities, charities helping their commu- nities, like those who went to help residents hit by the recent flooding.
As we celebrate the Sikhs contribution to Britain today, let’s also be reflect on what their ancestors did for this nation in the past. A hundred years ago, well over a million men from India, many of them Sikhs, fought alongside Britain in the First World War.
I’d also like to send my best wishes to other communities celebrating Vaisakhi in the Punjab, across India and around the News-sj001world. So whether you’re in London, Jalandhar or Vancouver, once again I wish you a very happy and peaceful Vaisakhi.”
A beautiful hymn in Punjabi was sung by 17-year-old stu- dent Gurpreet Singh Chandan, of the Amrit Singh Jatha group, part of the Birmingham-based Guru Nanak NishkamSewakJatha, or GNNSJ. As a mark of respect guests were asked to remove their shoes and to cover their heads. Those able to sit cross-legged on the floor did so, while others chose to stand, as did the PM, clean shaven and wearing a navy blue suit.
One guest asked why such events were not covered in mainstream British press. An interesting and valid point raised. So in the grand scheme of things, does this mean events like these are of little or no significance for the British mainstream media? According to a report, 96% of British Sikhs would like to see more Sikhs on mainstream British TV, includ- ing in documentaries, sports- based features and in fictional dramas.
The youngest guest in the audience was NihalHari Singh, son of former Leicester Lib Dem MP Parmjit Singh Gill. Nihal, dressed in a traditional Indian outfit, who turned eight last Sunday, asked Mr Cameron, “is it hard work being Prime Minister?” Mr Cameron shook Nihal’s hand, smiled and replied: “Fortunately I have a lot of people to help me.” India’s High Commissioner to the UK Ranjan Mathai,lead- ing non-resident Indian indus- trialist Lord Swaraj Paul, Lord NavnitDholakia, deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords and Dr Rami Ranger, winner of record five Queens’ awards for exports were among those who attend- ed this function.
Present from the ethnic media were: Manoj Kumar, Editor-in-Chief of Jagatwani, the newspaper,VasudevTuli from Zee Punjabi, PoonamTaneja from BBC Asian Network. Others in attendance were former Deputy Lieutenant of Leicestershire Resham Singh Sandhu,  former Leicester MP Parmjit Singh Gill, Chairman of National Asian Business Association UdayDholakia OBE,Shalbinder Singh Malle,Rt Hon Hugo Swire MP, KetanGokani from Elite Mobile Limited, Amanda Solloway, Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Derby North, Sukhbir Singh from GNNSJ, Ranbir Singh Suri from the now defunct British Asian Conservative Link, Mr Bhupinder Singh, MD, PNBIL,Mr.VivekChadda Director SNJ Group, Tommy Nagra, BBC Birmingham’s Head of Business Development, Jas Jassal, MayuriParmar and Alok Sharma MP, from Conservative Friends of India,Mr.JindyKhera M.D. KTC, Mr. Jayson Woura M.D. East End, Sir Mota Singh, Mr.Atul PathakMD Appt Corp Ltd., Priti Patel MP, Mr & Mrs Jas Parmar from Bedfordshire, Chris White MP,Mr.Sohi Singh, Sukhdev Singh SiddhuMinnister of Co-ordination (India House), Ashok Verma from Leicester, Satinder Singh from Gurseva, Minister for Communities Stephen Williams MP, Lord DaljitRana, Paul Uppal MP, Sun Kaur of United Sikhs – to list just a few. According to the 2011 Census, there are approximate- ly 430,000 Sikhs in the UK, with the vast majority (420,196) in England. Worldwide the Sikh population stands at around 27 million. The first Sikh settler in Britain was Maharaja Duleep SinghJi (1838-1893). Vaisakhi, the annual Sikh harvest festival, was first cele- brated in the Punjab region of India and commemorates the founding of the Sikh faith in 1699.

IHG® expands in Greater London as it signs six brands into its portfolio

1 April, 2014

IHG® expands in Greater London as it signs six brands into its portfolio

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG®), one of the world’s largest hotel companies today announced the signing of two further hotels in London with the Hotel Indigo® London – Barbican and Holiday Inn® – Watford Junction. As a result, over the last nine months IHG signed all six of its current European brands into its Greater London pipeline, further reinforcing IHG’s presence in the UK’s capital.

The two new signings join the InterContinental® London – The O2, Crowne Plaza® London – Albert Embankment, Staybridge Suites® London – Vauxhall and Holiday Inn Express® London – Ealing.

Due to open this summer, Holiday Inn Watford Junction will be a 92 -room property operating under a franchise agreement with Nine Hospitality Ltd. Featuring the Holiday Inn Open Lobby, the hotel’s excellent location is anticipated to attract a healthy mix of leisure and corporate guests.

Meanwhile IHG continues to build momentum in East London with the addition of another Hotel Indigo property – Hotel Indigo – London Barbican. The newly constructed 101-room hotel will operate under a franchise agreement with long standing Owner Partner Sanguine who currently have six IHG hotels open in the UK and two under construction.  Situated in a vibrant area in the heart of one of London’s business hubs, the hotel is well placed to receive a steady stream of business travellers as well as leisure guests drawn to the local cultural and arts attractions. The hotel is due to open in 2016.

Vivek Chadha, Owner of Nine Hospitality said, “The Holiday Inn brand has a legendary reputation in the industry and so we’re very proud to be part of such an internationally recognised hotel company. The signing of Holiday Inn Watford Junction kicks off what is destined to be a fantastic relationship with IHG. We are looking forward to opening our hotel doors to what is set to be a busy yet inviting Open Lobby for our guests in Watford Junction in just a few months.”

Angela Brav, CEO Europe, IHG said, “IHG already has a significant presence in Europe. Signing all six of our current European brands in Greater London is just fantastic and demonstrates the continued momentum in the market. We see plenty of room to grow here and these signings demonstrate the ability of our brands to penetrate markets across Europe both old and new. IHG’s relationship with our owners is absolutely key in maintaining long-term sustainable development and I’m thrilled to see us all growing together.”

Simon Matthews-Williams, Chairman of Sanguine said, “Sanguine Hospitality Ltd is delighted to have signed a franchise for the proposed Hotel Indigo Barbican.  This is our first flurry into London and demonstrates our confidence in the brand and complements our other Hotel Indigo projects in Liverpool, Birmingham, Newcastle and Manchester.  The brand is innovative and being relatively new, has substantial growth potential.”

IHG’s broader family of nine brands in nearly 100 countries and territories meets the needs of guests, whatever the occasion – whether an overnight getaway, a business trip, a family celebration or a once-in-a-lifetime experience. All IHG hotels participate in IHG’s guest loyalty programme, IHG® Rewards Club which is the industry’s first and largest guest loyalty programme with 77 million members. It is free to join at IHGRewardsClub.com.

* Figures as at 31st December 2013.

-Ends-

Media enquiries:

For UK/European media enquiries: Please contact Laura Baker on 01895512820 or on laura.baker@ihg.com

Notes to Editors:

IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) [LON:IHG, NYSE:IHG (ADRs)] is a global organisation with a broad portfolio of nine hotel brands, including InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts, Hotel Indigo®, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn® Hotels and Resorts, Holiday Inn Express®, Staybridge Suites®, Candlewood Suites®, EVEN™ Hotels and HUALUXE™ Hotels & Resorts.

IHG manages IHG® Rewards Club, the world’s first and largest hotel loyalty programme with over 77 million members worldwide. The programme was relaunched in July 2013, offering enhanced benefits for members including free internet across all hotels, globally.

IHG franchises, leases, manages or owns over 4,700 hotels and 687,000 guest rooms in nearly 100 countries and territories. With more than 1,100 hotels in its development pipeline, IHG expects to recruit around 90,000 people into additional roles across its estate over the next few years.

InterContinental Hotels Group PLC is the Group’s holding company and is incorporated in Great Britain and registered in England and Wales.

Visit www.ihg.com for hotel information and reservations and www.ihgrewardsclub.com for more on IHG Rewards Club. For our latest news, visit: www.ihg.com/mediawww.twitter.com/ihg, www.facebook.com/ihg or www.youtube.com/ihgplc.