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May 4, 2002 | 1535 IST
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M S Oberoi: A pioneer mourned

BS Corporate Bureau

Rai Bahadur M S OberoiThe Indian hotel and tourism industry on Friday grieved the loss of Rai Bahadur (M S Oberoi). The general feeling was that his death marks the end of an era of entrepreneurship.

"He was the pioneer of the hospitality industry of India and will be remembered for his contribution to the cause of tourism and to the society at large. We have all been greatly benefited and inspired from his vision and emtrepreneurship," ITC Hotels managing director, S S H Rehman, said.

Indian Hotels Company managing director R K Krishna Kumar added: "M S Oberoi, a legend, now passes into the history of our industry as an icon. His vision and leadership will always be remembered."

Terming his death as a great loss, because he gave a recognition to the hotel industry on an international platform, Asian Hotels (Hyatt Regency in Delhi) managing director Sushil Gupta said: "One of the most memorable moments in my life is when Rai Bahadur came for my brother's wedding 20 years ago. He had been awarded the Hotelier of the Year award that year and he made a speech at the wedding expressing his happiness on the Indian hotel industry getting recognised in the international arena."

Tulip Hospitality Services chairman AB Kerkar said: "I would miss him very much. If it was not for Rai Bahadur, the Indian hospitality industry would not have taken off as it did and neither would it be where it is now."

Saying Oberoi's was a truly 'rags to riches' story, the Confederation of Indian Industry president, Ashok Soota, pointed out that his death had left a void in the hospitality industry. "He will continue to be the source of inspiration to all budding entrepreneurs in the coming ages," Soota said.

Ravi Bhoothalingam, former president of East India Hotels, said Oberoi's had been a remarkable and a legendary life. "He was a true pioneer in the hospitality industry and he created a new path of excellence in quality."

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