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Optimism High for Australia Growth, But Numbers Still Lag 2019

Alan Woinski
February 1st, 2023 at 7:43 AM EST

Skift Take

  • The World Travel & Tourism Council’s Cities Economic Impact Report showed travel and tourism’s direct contribution to Sydney, Melbourne and Perth’s GDP and jobs continues to rise.
  • KSL Capital Partners is among investors that are increasingly keen on acquiring hotels in remote destinations across Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.
  • A resort in the Blue Mountains that was closed during the pandemic has reopened its doors and has been listed for commercial sale following a multi-million renovation.

The World Travel & Tourism Council’s Cities Economic Impact Report showed travel and tourism’s direct contribution to Sydney, Melbourne and Perth’s GDP and jobs continues to rise. Prolonged border closures in Australia and key markets such as China means visitor spending numbers are still low. In 2019, Perth’s travel and tourism sector contributed over A$4.5 billion to the city’s economy while Melbourne and Sydney totaled A$10 billion and A$13 billion respectively. In 2020 that was dropped by almost half in Perth, two thirds in Sydney and almost three quarters in Melbourne. 2021 saw Melbourne rise to A$4 billion but Sydney and Perth continued to see declines. Last year Perth’s T&T GDP contribution forecast was half of 2019 while Melbourne and Sydney were forecast to be at only 25% and 27% below 2019 levels respectively. Melbourne and Sydney are seeing a much better bounce back for sector jobs than in Perth. Optimism is high as international visitor spend showed strong year over year increases in 2022 while still on average being 46% lower than in 2019.

KSL Capital Partners is among investors that are increasingly keen on acquiring hotels in remote destinations across Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific, according to a report by CoStar. KSL, through a 2018 strategic partnership with Australian luxury lodge operator Baillie Lodges, has a mission of lifting the remote luxury lodge to the next level. Their purchase of Huka Lodge in the Lake Taupo region of New Zealand’s North Island in 2021 market a strategic entrance into the New Zealand market. They also recently went offshore to acquire the Clayoquot Wilderness Lodge on Vancouver Island, Canada and Chile’s Tierra Hotels. IHG said they had their biggest year ever in 2022 for hotel openings in the South Pacific Islands and are looking to expand their footprint in Fiji and the Pacific. In 2022 they rebranded the Grand Pacific Hotel Suva, Fiji into an InterContinental and the 50 room InterContinental Lifou Wadra Bay Resort in New Caledonia is set to open in September. In 2024, Holiday Inn-branded resorts will open on Lifou and Ouvea Islands in New Caledonia. Kerzner-owned Doubloon Investment will begin work on a One&Only Resort on Nacula Island, Fiji.

A resort in the Blue Mountains that was closed during the pandemic has reopened its doors and has been listed for commercial sale following a multi-million renovation. The Leura Gardens Resort is situated 100km west of Sydney’s CBD. The four-star resort is on an 18,793 sqm land parcel and has price expectations of more than A$20 million. CBRE Hotels is managing the Expressions of Interest campaign for the resort. It comprises a mix of 92 rooms, suites, serviced apartments and a two bedroom manager’s residence. The property is held by private investment company ARFW and also includes conference and events facilities, two restaurants and bars, a coffee lounge, gym and amenity rooms for a variety of uses. The owners anticipate a reopening for bookings in mid-March. The Expressions of Interest campaign will close on March 7 unless sold prior.

A $23 million central-Queenstown development site, which has consent for one of the highest buildings in town, is up for sale. Developer Graham Wilkinson was granted permission to build a 393-room, seven-story hotel complex on the Brecon St site in 2019. It was to include four buildings and 12 ground-floor commercial tenancies. The site is now for sale with Colliers Queenstown.

Fairfield by Marriott announced seven anticipated openings in 2023 in Japan, adding to its portfolio of 22. The new hotels will be located along national roadside rest areas in the prefectures of Hyogo, Kagoshima, Okayama, Saga, Kumamoto, and Fukuoka in the southern region of Japan. The Fairfield by Marriott ‘Michi-no-Eki’ project aims to facilitate access to many of Japan’s off-the-beaten-path attractions. The first of the hotels to open this year was Fairfield by Marriott Hyogo Tajima Yabu, opened January 24 with 88 rooms. Next up will be the 95-room Fairfield by Marriott Kagoshima Tarumizu and Fairfield by Marriott Okayama Tsuyama with 78 rooms, both expected to open in Spring 2023.

A hospitality complex featuring Japan’s largest airport hotel, an open-air bath and a range of shops and restaurants opened next to Tokyo’s Haneda airport yesterday, after a nearly three-year delay due to the pandemic. The full opening of Haneda Airport Garden, a 12-story compound connected to the airport’s Terminal 3, which primarily serves international flights, comes as Japan aims to welcome back inbound travelers after easing its border controls last year. The large scale, mixed-use development complex was supposed to begin operations in April 2020 but was delayed. It is comprised of a Villa Fontaine-brand hotel that, with a total of 1,717 rooms, makes it the country’s largest hotel directly connected to an airport, according to the developer, Sumitomo Realty and Development Co. The open-air bath on the twelfth floor of the hotel complex is a natural hot spring and commands a view of Mt. Fuji and airplanes. The complex on the 43,000 square meter development area houses a bus terminal on the ground floor that connects to 30 locations in the country, with plans to expand the number of routes as tourism demand grows. It also accommodates a hall for conferences and smaller conference rooms.

The Japan Tourism Agency reported over 47 million people stayed in hotels and ryokan-style inns across Japan in December, up 20% from a year earlier. That is almost at the level from December 2019.

Sri Lanka’s John Keells Holdings said it is in talks for international gaming expertise for a casino at its Cinnamon Life resort. Based on preliminary discussions, it is estimated the overall fitout of the gaming space will take a period of 12 months once the design aspects are finalized. The integrated resort is expected to be fully operational by the first quarter of 2024/2025 year. The cost of the project is expected to be about 10% higher than the US$900 million envisaged in 2019.

Macau’s Public Security Police Force and Macao Government Tourism Office said a total of 451,047 visitors were welcomed during the week, a daily average of 64,435 visitors. That was 37.5% of the 2.21 million visitors during Golden Week 2019. Hotel occupancy rates for the week were 85.7%. The highest occupancy rate was on the fourth day at 92.1%. The average room rate was MOP1,575.

Personnel Move

MUU Hotels & Resorts announced that Christian O. H. Zunk has taken over as the Group General Manager of MUU Hotels, Christian has worked in the five star luxury hotel industry for over 29 years across Asia, Germany and the United States. That includes six years with Four Seasons in New York, Berlin and Hawaii, four years with Rocco Forte Hotels as part of the executive’s pre-opening teams in Frankfurt and Munich and seven years in leadership roles with Anantara Hotels and Resorts in Asia and the Middle East. Christian is based in Bangkok.

Alan Woinski
February 1st, 2023 at 7:43 AM EST

Companies: Fairfield Inn & Suites, IHG Hotels & Resorts, John Keel Holdings, Kerzner International, KSL Resorts, Marriott International, Muu Hotels, Sumitomo Realty and Development Co

Locations: Australia, Fiji, Fukuoka, Japan, Macau, Melbourne, New Zealand, Perth, Sri Lanka, Sydney, Tokyo

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