The Chinese Embassy in South Korea has suspended issuing short-term visas for South Korean visitors. This is considered the first retaliatory move against nations imposing Covid-19 curbs on travelers from China. All the countries that were making travelers from China take extra tests or any other restrictions were warned that this would happen. The embassy said they will adjust the policy subject to the lifting of South Korea’s “discriminatory entry restrictions” against China. According to China, these countries are acting in disregard to scientific facts and the actual epidemic situation in their own countries. South Korea said their decision was made based on scientific grounds. They have held talks with Beijing since they were told of its move and will continue to convey their position that this was based on scientific and objective evidence. Arrivals from China must provide a negative result of a PCR test taken within 48 hours of beginning their journey or a rapid antigen test taken within 24 hours. Short-term visas for Chinese nationals have been suspended until month’s end. Beijing’s embassy in Japan also suspended visa issuance in retaliation.
The newly inaugurated Fushoushan Farm Guesthouse in Taiwan is fully booked for the Lunar New Year and 228 Peace Memorial Day holidays. That happened just one minute after it became available for booking at 8 a.m. on January 10. The 62-room Fushoushan Farm Group is located beside the Apple King tree. The hotel took more than two years to complete at a cost of US$10.23 million. The hotel was inaugurated on Monday.
Marriott International’s Tribute Portfolio continues to expand its footprint in Singapore with the opening of The Serangoon House. The 90-room lifestyle hotel is owned by The Garcha Group and is located in Singapore’s most vibrant ethnic district, Little India.
Accor welcomed its Mercure hotel brand back to the coastal holiday hotspot of Cairns in Tropical North Queensland with the opening of Mercure Cairns. The new hotel is the result of a multi-million dollar upgrade and rebrand of ibis Styles Cairns and comprises 75 spacious guestrooms, including Standard Queen, Standard Twin Singles, Standard Twin, Superior King Room, Family Room, Loft Spa Room, Executive King Room, a pool deck and a new modern Australian restaurant – The Stanley.
Flexible living brand, Hmlet has unveiled its first hotel at Owen House by Hmlet. The hotel is soft opening with the grand opening scheduled for February. Owen House joins Hmlet Boutique Collection following the launch of Hmlet Cantonment in August 2019. Hmlet said that together with TCRE Partners and JMB Group, they have conceptualized Owen House by Hmlet as their first hotel to cater to the growing need for flexible stay experiences. The 106-key Owen House will feature nine room categories. Owen House features a lobby speakeasy bar, two communal lounges for in-house guests on the second and fourth floors as well as a meeting venue on the sixth level.
Cebu Landmasters Inc., through joint-venture Yuson Huang Excellence Soberano Inc., has completed the construction of a hotel and 26-story residential tower of The Paragon Davao. Turnover for the 554-unit residential tower, One Paragon Place, was expected to start in the fourth quarter of 2023. The Citadines Paragon Davao hotel, meanwhile, is set to open its doors in 2024. The Paragon Davao is a mixed-use development located in Matina along Davao City’s MacArthur Highway, touted as one of the largest mixed-use developments in the city. It has over 80,000 square meters in floor area and is envisioned to be a lifestyle and convention destination. The hotel and residential tower will be complemented by The Paragon Davao Convention Center and The Paragon Davao Lifestyle Mall that will have 4,389 square meter in gross leasable area with various commercial tenants.
H World Group Limited announced the pricing of its underwritten public offering of 6.19 million American Depository Shares, each representing 10 ordinary shares of the company, a US$42 per ADS. The Shanghai-based company plans to use the proceeds to fund its growth strategies amid post-Covid reopening; invest in initiatives that support its long-term success; and environment, social and governance efforts along with working capital and general corporate purposes.
Sunset Hospitality Group has expanded its global footprint to Southeast Asia as it prepares to launch Azure Beach and Attiko in Vietnam. Scheduled to open in Q3 2023, the initiative will be the firm’s fourth Azure Beach location following its success in Dubai and Beirut. A third location is set to open in Doha in Q2 2023. Attiko will welcome its third venue after unveiling at W Dubai – Mina Seyahi in November 2022 and earlier in June in Bodrum. This follows recent funding from Goldman Sachs Asset Management. Both venues will mirror their Dubai-based presence. Azure Beach is nestled among the heavenly white sands and shimmering blue waters of the South China Sea. The complex will be the country’s first integrated high-class resort of its kind. Constructed by KDI Holdings, a further collection of 168 ocean view shophouses, luxury villas and 5 star hotels will complete the complex.
The Ascott Limited, a lodging business unit of CapitaLand Investment, announced the appointment of Serena Lim as its chief growth officer. Serena will lead Ascott’s global business development team and will be responsible for steering and managing the company’s growth in management and franchise contracts globally, excluding China, where developments will continue to be led by the in-market team. Lim was most recently vice president, development, Southeast Asia and Korea at IHG Hotels Group.