China reported 2,312 new Covid infections nationwide today, the first time in more than three months that cases topped 2,000 for three consecutive days. That was actually down a bit from Saturday’s 2,467 which was the highest since May. Protests and anger are exploding in places like in hotel resorts in Hainan and even in Shanghai where officials wanted to lock down an IKEA store, with people inside because someone who had come into contact with a six year old boy with an asymptomatic infection was inside. In Hainan, steps to get people home finally are being taken but with 1,340 new cases reported Saturday, either China has to start relaxing rules and admit they can’t have Zero Covid or the virus spread has to run its course there. The problem is the protests are not just about not being able to leave, tourists don’t want to pay for rooms and food since they are being forced to stay there. Videos being leaked show small but growing protests, police being summoned to some hotels to restore order, a situation that is like a ticking time bomb.
Singapore’s Changi Airport emerged as the busiest airport in Asia in the three months to June 30, 2022, recording more than double the number of passenger movements than its nearest rival. Singapore handled 7.3 million passengers in Q2 with Delhi’s Indira Gandhi Airport and Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport coming in second with 3.2 million each. Seoul Incheon Airport was third with 2.9 million. Hong Kong International Airport, the busiest pre-Covid, had just 591,000 passengers, falling out of the top 10. That airport handled 19.1 million passengers in 2019, ahead of Seoul Incheon with 17.6 million and Changi with 16.8 million. The expectation is that Singapore’s Changi will recover to 70% of pre-pandemic passenger levels this year, up from 50% during the first half of the year. Hong Kong is at 5% with no major change expected.
The Invercargill Licensing Trust’s Langlands Hotel is in its final stages of construction and is on track for a soft opening before the end of August. The soft opening for the seven-story, 78-room hotel will see three of the five accommodation floors and two of its five hospitality venues, a bar and café, open during the week of August 22-29. The plan is for the remaining two accommodation floors and the restaurant and two more bars to be opened in the following month. Staffing the New Zealand hotel has been a challenge.
The newly built 229 keys midscale Mercure Kuala Lumpur Glenmarie managed by Accor has officially opened in Shah Alam, Selangor in Malaysia. This is the first international business hotel in the Glenmarie area, located within the new 8.7-hectare integrated development of Utropolis Glenmarie. That development includes the Utropolis Marketplace mall, 1,500 serviced apartments, and the UOW Malaysia KDU University College campus. It is a development by Paramount Corp. Bhd. The contract to operate the hotel was signed by Paramount subsidiary Super Ace Resources Sdn Bhd and Accor back in April of 2017. The 13 story hotel was reported to have cost about RM75 million to develop and originally had been earmarked to be complete in 2019. The soft opening took place on November 15, 2021.
The DoubleTree by Hilton Shah Alam i-City at i-City Finance Avenue in Selangor opened its doors in a mixed development in the Golden Triangle. The new 300-room luxury hotel will have two flagship eateries, along with the Koffee and Axis Lounge which Hilton said will complement the business, recreational, retail and residential components at Finance Avenue in i-City with its top MICE facilities.
Barcelo Hotel Group announced the opening of its latest 5-star hotel in Jakarata, Indonesia. The Orient Jakarta, a Royal Hideaway Hotel, is located in Jakarta’s central business district and is Barcelo’s first property in the country. The establishment is a member of The Leading Hotels of the World. The Orient Jakarta, a Royal Hideaway Hotel has 153 keys, divided into eight categories and spread across 12 floors, including Superior, Deluxe, Grand Deluxe Orient and Grand Orient rooms. The property also features lavish Orient, Presidential Junior and Presidential suites. The property features the Caspar Restaurant and Lounge, a Whiskey Bar, while the rooftop will be transformed into an urban beach club oasis comprising a restaurant, two swimming pools, a jacuzzi, a dance floor, and an infinity pool bar. The expansive fitness space includes a yoga and meditation room, wellness corner, saunas and a weight training area. The hotel also features seven meeting rooms and lounges with VIP areas, along with an open terrace for events, as well as five floors of secured parking. Barcelo is targeting Asia Pacific for expansion. In May 2023, they plan to open a second hotel in Sri Lanka, the Occidental Eden Beruwala, following a complete refurbishment of its facilities.
Radisson Hotel Group announced the signing of Radisson Biratnagar in Nepal, in partnership with The Centurion Hotel Private Limited, which will further strengthen its leading position in South Asia with over 100 hotels in operation. The 145-room Radisson Biratnagar is expected to open in Q3, 2024 and is in Biratnagar, the industrial and fastest growing provincial capital in Nepal. The hotel will include state-of-the-art facilities with a swimming pool, fitness center, spa, specialty restaurants and 10,000 square feet of banquet space. Radisson Hotel Group said this is part of their expansion in South Asia where they are set to more than double their footprint with 148 hotels and resorts to be added by 2025.
Indian Hotels Company Limited said that besides domestic expansion, they expect their Taj Hotels unit to grow its footprint in other countries that have a strong Indian diaspora and/or are big destinations for the desi travelers, including in North America, Europe and the Middle East. The Tata Group currently runs two hotels each in the US, UK and Africa; three in the UAE and eight in India’s immediate neighborhood. IHCL said they are exploring strategic partnership opportunities in key global markets across the UK, US and Europe among others, which have substantial customer crossover with India.
ITC Hotels announced the inauguration of its premium luxury hotel – the ITC Narmada, in India’s first UNESCO World Heritage City of Ahmedabad. ITC Narmada is Gujarat’s first LEED Platinum certified hotel and is ITC Hotels’ fifteenth Luxury Collect Hotel in India. ITC Narmada is also ITC Hotels’ twelfth property in the state of Gujarat. The 291 key, 19-story, 70-meter grand structure is conveniently located in the business district of the city. The hotel includes five signature culinary brands, convention spaces and Kaya Kalp – The Spa.
The government of Quang Ninh Province in Vietnam is set to develop a luxury tourism project at a total cost of over VND24.8 trillion, or US$1 billion. The tourism complex project will cover some 300 hectares of land and water surface and will comprise 236 villas, 257 townhouses, over 2,610 high end apartments and 606 social houses.
JLL published a report on how hotels are increasingly being turned into co-living spaces in markets where institutional investors are hunting for cheaper alternatives to residential conversions and high rental growth potential. They cited a US$200 million joint venture announced in June between asset manager PGIM Real Estate and co-living operator Weave, acquiring a Rosedale Hotel in Kowloon, Hong Kong with the intent to convert the 435 key property into a co-living property. In Singapore, LHN Group invested S$90.5 million in the past three years to acquire properties under its co-living brand Coliwoo with its two latest Amber Road properties also converted into new co-living offerings. Favorable tax rates in the two cities with lower taxes on the purchase of hospitality assets compared to residential assets have made hotels the preferred option for asset conversion, particularly in Singapore and Hong Kong. The co-living trend first found its footing in Europe and the US.