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Asia-Pacific

Foreign Tourists Buoy Thailand

Alan Woinski
September 8th, 2022 at 10:44 AM EDT

Skift Take

  • A rebound in foreign tourist arrivals into Thailand is pushing up the nation’s hotel occupancy rate from a record low during the pandemic.
  • Hotel industry experts are predicting an influx of international tourists in the Philippines in the final quarter of 2022, particularly in Manila, Cebu and Clark.
  • ITC Hotels in India could soon be spun out of conglomerate ITC. The chairman of the parent company told reporters they are exploring alternate structures for ITC Hotels, in line with industry recovery dynamics.

A rebound in foreign tourist arrivals into Thailand is pushing up the nation’s hotel occupancy rate from a record low during the pandemic. The Bank of Thailand and the Thai Hotels Association released a joint survey of 106 hotels. The survey found the average room occupancy at Thai hotels was 48% in August, up from 46% a month earlier. The central bank said the hotels are benefiting from a rebound in global travel demand with authorities scrapping all pandemic-era restrictions while a government funded air travel and hotel subsidy program for residents has also helped hotels log higher occupancy. It wasn’t all positive as the survey also found that hotel incomes have improved but overall revenue remains well below pre-Covid levels. The hotels reporting income of more than 50% of pre-pandemic levels are mostly 4-5 star rated properties. September results are expected to show a fall back with the occupancy rate expected to open be around 40%. In the survey, about 60% of the operators are concerned about inflation, worrying that falling purchasing power will coincide with lower than expected tourist arrivals. Impact from potential new outbreaks and a labor shortage are also among the key concerns.

Hotel industry experts are predicting an influx of international tourists in the Philippines in the final quarter of 2022, particularly in Manila, Cebu and Clark. While domestic travelers have fueled the tourism industry recently, international travelers are coming back fast since more than 50% of international carriers are already operating. Comments from a Marriott International VP for the Philippines suggest the overall Philippines market has recovered about 90% of its 2019 business levels. South Korea is being talked about as a surging market even as air traffic from there is still only at about 34% of pre-pandemic levels. Cebu is one of the most popular destinations for Korean travelers and hotels there expect to see a big increase in visitation in the next couple of months.

ITC Hotels in India could soon be spun out of conglomerate ITC. The chairman of the parent company told reporters they are exploring alternate structures for ITC Hotels, in line with industry recovery dynamics. They recently launched two new brands – Mementos and Storii, to go along with existing brand Welcomhotel and Fortune. ITC Hotels is opening a new hotel almost every month, aggressively pursuing their growth through the asset right strategy. The company is also exploring overseas expansion.

Indian homestay aggregator StayVista plans to increase the number of properties under its umbrella after its recent funding round in which it raised Rs 40 crore. The funds raised will be used for expansion and growth acceleration, brand building and technology. The Series B funding round was led by DSG Consumer Partners and Capri Global and CA Holdings. The company wants to increase supply from 500 to 2,500 properties over the next three to four years. The focus will be on two types of markets – getaways and holiday destinations. Getaways, usually a 2-4 hour driving distance, is right now 70% of their business and they want to increase that in destinations like around Delhi and Kasauli where they currently manage 35 properties. They want to increase that to 75. They currently have about 50 homes in holiday market Goa and they want to increase that to 200 villas. StayVista is targeting doubling its revenue this year. While the focus will be on the India market for the next 18-24 months, the company also plans to then focus on international destinations such as Bali, UAE and Dubai.

Sri Lanka’s Damro Group will set up a new luxury hotel in Colombo 3 with an investment of US$57.50 million. The investment agreement was entered into this past week with the Board of Investment. The hotel will be constructed and operated by Damro Group subsidiary Damro Leisure Private Limited and will have 366 rooms. This is in addition to the Cabinet approval they received this past February for a US$70.4 million luxury urban hotel in Colombo under the Strategic Development Project Act. Damro Group already owns and manages a luxury hotel in Colombo 3 – Marino Beach with 300 rooms. Within the hotel premises and facing Galle Road is Marino Mall with a shopping area of over 150,000 square feet.

The new M Resort & Hotel, located in the green belt of Damansara in Malaysia, in close proximity to one of the city’s green areas in Bukit Kiara, opened during the recent Independence Day. The M signifies Malaysia and the property includes 385 guestrooms, a pillarless ballroom, eight meeting rooms, two holding rooms for dignitaries, a secretariat room, boardroom, a free form swimming pool with water slide and a spa, a 24 hour fitness center and a Kids’ Club.

In JapanNagasaki governor Kengo Oishi announced that US-based Cantor Fitzgerald and Credit Suisse will be financing the planned Integrated Casino Resort property in Sasebo city, pending central government approval. The opening costs of the IR is expected to be US$3.1 billion with US$1.2 billion expected to come from investors while US$1.9 billion will come from debt. Cantor and Credit Suisse will serve as financiers alongside CBRE. The company led by Casinos Austria Japan hopes to get approval and start development with a planned opening in autumn of 2027.

Knight Frank and STR shared key hospitality investment insights ahead of the Future Hospitality Summit that will take place at Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai from September 19-21, 2022. Knight Frank believes that the Middle East’s travel & tourism sector is set to reach and potentially surpass pre-pandemic levels of more than 100 million tourist arrivals and over US$270 billion in revenue contribution this year. All indicators are showing they will reach the goal of 160 million tourists in 2030, driven by the region’s giga projects that will open up even more tourist destinations and further boost travel tourism. There are over 600,000 hotel rooms in the planning and development state. STR said Dubai is having a tremendous year with hotel RevPAR up 23% from 2019 in the first 7 months of the year. Investor interest remains high in the region, the proof of which is in the increasing hotel pipeline. STR cited the success of Expo 2020 in Dubai and a keen interest in Saudi Arabia and the transformative Vision 2030 as boosting investment, fueling the hotel pipeline in the region. STR said the Kingdom is firmly among the fastest growing countries globally for hotel development. Knight Frank also mentioned Qatar, with the hospitality market expected to reach US$54 billion by 2030. The country has allocated US$45 billion worth of funds for tourism and travel growth by 2030 with the kickoff clearly being the host of the FIFA World Cup. There are 56,000 hotel rooms under development with an estimated value of US$7 billion with international brands representing 62% of the inventory in the pipeline. 

In QatarHamad International Airport has opened the Oryx Garden Hotel, the second airport hotel within its terminal. Situated in the North Plaza, this is one of many new experiences that are part of HIA’s airport expansion project, set to be launched in time for the FIFA World Cup. The hotel will have 100 rooms ranging from king to twin, as well as suites. All rooms are located within the terminal and can be booked around the clock for a maximum of 24 hours. Guests at the Oryx Garden Hotel will be able to enjoy Oryx Airport Hotel’s Vitality Wellbeing and Fitness Center located at the airport’s South Plaza. It includes a 25 meter swimming pool, gym, spa and a squash court.

Alan Woinski
September 8th, 2022 at 10:44 AM EDT

Companies: CBRE Hotels, Fortune, ITC Hotels, Knight Frank, Mementos, StayVista

Locations: Colombo, Dubai, Goa, Japan, Malaysia, Nagasaki, Philippines, Qatar, Sri Lanka, Thailand

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