The passing away of Prithvi Raj Singh Oberoi, Chairman Emeritus, of The Oberoi Group on November 14, 2023 has cast a pall of gloom over the industry. He was the founding member and Patron-in chief of The Hotel Association of India (HAI), the apex body of the Indian hospitality Industry. HAI mourns the loss of its legendary leader.
A towering figure of the Indian Hospitality Industry, Oberoi‘s legacy is one of excellence and innovation. He joined the Oberoi Group in 1956 and quickly rose through the ranks, becoming Executive Chairman in 1984. Under his leadership, the Oberoi Group grew from a handful of hotels in India to a global leader in luxury hospitality. A pioneer in the field of human resources and training he was instrumental in establishing the Oberoi Centre of Learning and Development (OCLD) in 1967.OCLD has trained and educated thousands of hospitality professionals over the years.
Oberoi was the recipient of numerous awards and accolades, including the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second-highest civilian honouring recognition of his exceptional contribution to the country in tourism and hospitality. He was also a member of the board of directors of several prestigious companies. He is survived by his wife, one son, two daughters and two grandchildren.
Expressing his deep sorrow and sadness, Puneet Chhatwal, President, HAI and MD and CEO, IHCL said, “Oberoi – A legend, an icon and one of the greatest that Hospitality sector has seen. He will always be remembered by Indian businesses in general and global hospitality in particular.”
“We are saddened by the passing of PRS Oberoi, a visionary leader who left an indelible mark on the hospitality industry. Having worked with him on few projects, I was able to witness his passion for work, creativity, focused approach, and dedication to do better every time. We are extremely grateful for all his contributions and believe that the legacy he has left behind will inspire each one of us to reach greater heights,” said K B Kachru, Chairman Emeritus and Principal Advisor, South Asia, Radisson Hotel Group and Vice President HAI.
Speaking on the void created by his passing away MP Bezbaruah, Secretary General, HAI said, “Oberoi was a visionary who transformed the Indian hospitality industry. He was the pioneering founding member of HAI and piloted it through the formative years. HAI was proud to have his guidance. One of HAI’s most significant milestones is Mr. Oberoi’s Letter to the Hon’ble Prime Minister in July 2019 seeking 7 key reforms to energise tourism and hospitality sector as a growth engine for achieving US $ 5 trillion economy envisaged for India, which were also reflected in the Economic Survey presented in July 2019 and the Union Budget 2019-2020.”
Priya Paul, Chairperson, Apeejay Surrendra Park Hotels Ltd.,another founding member of HAI said, “ Truly a giant of our Industry and such a wonderful man! May God bless his soul.I have such beautiful memories of him from the HAI foundation years.”
P.R.S. Oberoi was an iconic leader in many ways, and his legacy will continue to inspire generations to come. His passing leaves a vacuum in the industry that will be difficult to fill.