STR said things really improved in China following the belief that the Covid outbreaks were over. Hotel RevPAR for the week ended July 30 in China was up 8.5% year over year while down only -10.3% versus the same week in 2019. We wouldn’t get used to those numbers as once again we have a Zero-Covid fail as more than 80,000 tourists have been stranded on the resort of Sanya after a Covid outbreak. China ordered all flights and train links canceled following hundreds of positive cases on Saturday. Covid-19 cases on China’s Hainan province rose to a cumulative 828. The reason is the new variants are so contagious that ZERO COVID will not work. To make things even worse, all those in lockdown must pay for their own extended stay. The province told hotels to halve their rates for tourists but some are reporting the hotels bumped up their rates just before the announcement. Restaurants and entertainment venues are closed there. We are quite certain all 80,000 guests are regretting traveling now, and there are many who will hear about this who will be changing their plans. For those thinking it is all clear in Macau, all residents are undergoing two days of Covid-19 tests after a person traveled to the neighboring city of Zhuhai and tested positive for the virus. Even worse is that person worked in a supermarket. Macau had just allowed quarantine-free travel to Zhuhai. It should be really clear to anyone watching Macau that this casino market has no chance while Zero-Covid is in place.
Travelers from Japan, Taiwan and Macau will be temporarily allowed to enter South Korea without a visa this month. Seoul has pushed for the visa waiver program in consultation with the culture, justice and foreign ministries and the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency since June. Seoul Festa 2022 takes place August 10-14 so they are hoping for a good turnout. If tourists from those visa-free areas want to go to the tourist festival, they better hurry up as they need to obtain entry approval on the Korea Electronic Travel Authorization website at least 72 hours before their flight takes off.
Baring Private Equity Asia announced its affiliated real estate funds completed the acquisition of the Sydney Hilton hotel for A$530 million. The deal is the largest ever single asset transaction in the Australian hospitality sector. The Sydney Hilton in a 587 room, 5-star hotel in the heart of Sydney’s CBD with extensive events and conferencing facilities, award-winning food and beverage offerings and luxury retail outlets. BPEA Real Estate is planning significant investment into the hotel, including upgrades and expansion to guestrooms and F&B outlets, enhancements to the front and back of house operations and implementing ESG-related initiatives. The transaction was negotiated through JLL Hotels & Hospitality Group.
Marriott International in Indonesia signed a memorandum of understanding with The Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy of The Republic of Indonesia to develop the tourism sector and the creative economy in Indonesia. The MOU includes collaborations encompassing tourism destination and tourism marketing; the institutional field including the development of talent and human resource competencies in the tourism sector; the field of creative economic development, as well as other forms of collaborations beneficial for the tourism and hospitality industry within a period of three years from the signing. Marriott currently operates 60 hotels and resorts in Indonesia across 19 of its 30 global brands. They have new properties opening soon in Jakarta, Labuan Bajo and Manado.
Marriott’s first resort in the Philippines in Mactan Island, Cebu, will finally open on September 1, after more than two years of delays due to the pandemic. Sheraton Cebu Mactan Resort will have a soft opening beginning September 1 with around 50% of the rooms and amenities, including the Bali-inspired swimming pool. AppleOne Mactan Inc. is the developer of the Sheraton Cebu Mactan Resort and the Residence at Sheraton Cebu. The 250 room luxury resort will be managed by Marriott. The P4 billion, five hectare seaside project is the first Sheraton brand hotel in Southeast Asia. The grand opening is expected in December.
The Fairfield by Marriott brand debuted in Mumbai, India, with the opening of Fairfield by Marriott Mumbai International Airport. The 205 room hotel is located less than a kilometer away from the Mumbai International Airport. This is the twenty third Fairfield by Marriott hotel opening in India. The 205 rooms and suites hotel includes a 68 square meter Presidential Suite, two signature restaurants and bar, a swimming pool, 3,218 square feet of function space and a fitness center.
Indian Hotels Company Limited announced two hotels under their Ginger and Vivanta brands will open in Kevadia in Gujarat. The greenfield projects will be launched in agreement with the Sardar Sarovar Namada Nigam Limited, set to open in 2025 and will total 275 rooms. The company recently signed a Ginger hotel property in Ahmedabad. IHCL is also expected to inaugurate a Vivanta Hotel in Ahmedabad this month and another hotel under its Taj brand along Gandhinagar-Mahudi Road in September. IHCL also announced the opening of the 102 room Ginger Goregaon in Mumbai and the signing of the 60 room Taj hotel in Ranthambore, Rajasthan.
Hyatt Hotels Corporation announced its management agreement with Bhopal’s Noor-Us-Sabah Palace. This is one of the oldest hotels in India and will undergo extensive renovations to become a 60-room heritage hotel under The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand in India. The refurbished property is expected to open its doors in 2025 as the debut Unbound Collection property in India.
The Lux Collective and Jumbo Group in China have signed a hotel management agreement to build the first LUX* urban resort in Guangzhou, China – LUX* Guangzhou. This latest signing markets The Lux Collective’s first foray into one of the top three first-tier cities in China. The new hotel is expected to open in June 2024 in Huangpu District, Guangzhou City. The new project is described as a luxurious complex comprising a 109 room hotel which includes 36 ultra-luxurious residences, an art gallery and a modern office building. It will feature a spacious banquet hall, restaurants, spa, fitness center, swimming pool connecting indoors and outdoors, children’s playground and other modern facilities and amenities.