Thailand rescinded its entry policy which requires visitors to show proof of a Covid-19 vaccination, citing sufficient immunization levels in China and the rest of the world. Thailand’s health minister said checking evidence of vaccinations was inconvenient and a panel of health experts recommended withdrawing the rule that had just been put into effect over the weekend, ahead of an expected deluge of visitors from China. China had been a crucial source for visitation pre-Covid and even without them, November visitation totaled 1.75 million, quadruple the number for the whole of last year when flights and foreign arrivals were limited. For full year 2022, the government expects arrivals to be more than 11.5 million. Pre-Covid, Thailand saw nearly 40 million travelers arrive, spending about 1.91 trillion baht. The government is now expecting seven to ten million Chinese visitors, up from the earlier five million estimate. The first flight from China arrived in Thailand on Monday. Thailand was expecting 3,465 arrivals from China on the first day.
Vietnamnet reported thousands of people lined up at the Mong Cai border gatesthis past weekend to cross into China. The main requirements to cross were removed on December 31 with the final one, the compulsory PCR tests requirement, being removed on Sunday. While Vietnamnet was using this to report on how the manufacturing and goods business will prosper, it is easy to see how this can help the hotel, resort and the casino business in Vietnam. There were just 3.6 million international visitors to Vietnam in 2022. Pre-Covid that number had been 18 million with about 6 million of them coming from China. Vietnam is expecting the first round of visitor boost to come from business travelers from China, international students and relatives of Vietnamese/Chinese citizens visiting their families. The January 22 Chinese New Year is expected to be the best they have seen in three years.
The first Marriott International property to open on the North side of Phu Quoc in Vietnam has launched. The tropical island of Phu Quoc has welcomed Sheraton Phu Quoc Long Beach Resort. The property is part of a strategic agreement with Vinpearl, Vietnam’s largest hospitality and leisure chain, to convert and develop 2,200 rooms across six hotels in Vietnam. The Sheraton Phu Quoc Long Beach Resort is located on a four-kilometer stretch of beach on the west coast of Phu Quoc. The resort has 459 rooms, suites and villas, alongside multiple food and beverage outlets, extensive conference space, three pools overlooking the turquoise ocean, a spa, fitness center and a kids’ club. The resort is situated in the Ganh Dau area on one of the Pearl Island’s most scenic beaches, with Vinpearl’s Convention Center located only a five-minute ride from the resort. The 42 square meter Deluxe Rooms come with private balconies and ample space for a family of three. The one-bedroom suites are 80 square meters and the two- to four-bedroom villas range from 190 to 360 square meters and come with a private pool, fully equipped kitchen and living space.
Marriott International’s Courtyard by Marriott brand announced the opening of Courtyard by Marriott Colombo. This is the first Courtyard by Marriott branded property to open in Sri Lanka, located in the heart of the city’s central business district, adjacent to the Colombo City Centre Mall. For Marriott International, this is their third property in Sri Lanka. Located on the West Coast of Colombo, overlooking the Indian Ocean, the Courtyard is 45 minutes from the Bandaranaike International Airport. The hotel offers 164 rooms and includes comfortable suites ideal for extended stays or family travel. The hotel features three distinct dining venues, banqueting facilities, 24-hour fitness center and an outdoor swimming pool.
Hyatt Place Hangzhou International Airport, the first Hyatt Place hotel in Hangzhou City in China, has officially opened, expanding the Hyatt Place brand’s footprint globally. The new hotel features Hyatt Place brand’s design, casual atmosphere and practical amenities. The hotel was developed by Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport Co., Ltd. The hotel includes 472 guestrooms including 24 suites. The food offerings include breakfast and The Kitchen which prepares meals 24/7. The business offerings include Event Spaces offering 2,637 square feet of high-tech meeting/function space. There also is a fitness center.
Accor said they expanded their Fairmont Hotels & Resorts portfolio in India with the signing of Fairmont Shimla Fagu. The property is expected to open in 2026, to be built on a 2.5 acre hilltop plot of land at an altitude of 2,400 meters in Fagu, Shimla. The 105 key luxury resort will be the fourth Fairmont property in India, following Fairmont Jaipur, which opened in 2012, the under-construction Fairmont Mumbai and the Fairmont Udaipur. Accor is partnering with owner RTM Hotels Private Limited on Fairmont Shimla Fagu. The SPV is promoted by the Nagrath family. The upcoming Fairmont will have 105 keys, 5,500 square feet of banqueting and events space, entertainment spaces, an indoor pool and spa and multiple Food & Beverage outlets.
Accor also announced the opening of Grand Mercure Bali Seminyak, expanding their offerings in Indonesia. The hotel is nestled 100 meters from the beach in Bali’s Seminyak district, surrounded by cafes, boutiques, contemporary galleries, bars, restaurants and more. This is the first Grand Mercure hotel in Bali. The hotel has 269 rooms and suites ranging from 38 to 65 square meters in size. Every Deluxe Room and Junior Suite features a balcony with garden views and the Executive Suites offer panoramic ocean vistas. The hotel includes three swimming pools surrounded by tropical gardens, a fitness center, kids’ club and children’s pool, an all-day restaurant and Lagoon Pool Bar. The spa is set to launch soon. The Pandawa Ballroom features 500 square meters of space.
The Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority announced it reached an agreement with South Korean conglomerate Hanwha Corporation for the group to make a subordinated investment amounting to approximately US$80 million in the form of the issuance of non-registered, non-guaranteed junior convertible bonds. It is almost as if Hanwha Corporation is investing to pay itself as they are the main contractor for Mohegan’s Inspire integrated casino resort that is under construction in Incheon, South Korea. The investment is split into two tranches of $40 million, the first of which was to be funded on December 30, 2022 and the second must be funded on or before March 30, 2023. The convertible bonds bear interest at 5.5%, maturing on December 30, 2023. At maturity, Mohegan’s Inspire must pay a redemption rate equal to a yield to maturity date of 10% per year. After 36 months, Inspire may pay up to 70% to redeem the bonds where after 60 months, Hanwha can convert the bonds into common shares of Inspire, not to exceed 5% of the total. Hanwha is not only the main contractor but their hotel and resort arm is set to manage the non-gaming offerings at the property, including the three 5-star hotel towers set to open in the latter half of 2023. The agreement covers 1,270 hotel rooms and suites.