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Relaxed Covid Restrictions Buoy Singapore, Taiwan and Australia

Alan Woinski
February 15th, 2023 at 7:57 AM EST

Skift Take

  • Singapore signaled an end to the Covid-19 era restrictions, removing nearly all remaining mask rules as well as all border restrictions for arrivals who are not fully vaccinated.
  • All travel restrictions for residents of Hong Kong and Macau wishing to go to Taiwan will be lifted on February 20, three years after they were imposed.
  • STR said Australia’s hotel performance turned a massive corner during the first half of 2022 as the Omicron wave subsided and governments relaxed travel restrictions around the country.

Singapore signaled an end to the Covid-19 era restrictions, removing nearly all remaining mask rules as well as all border restrictions for arrivals who are not fully vaccinated. The measures went into effect this past Monday. Masks are no longer required on public transport and indoor healthcare and residential care settings. The Ministry of Health retained the practice of mask-wearing for visitors, staff and patients in healthcare and residential care settings where there is interaction with patients. Non-fully vaccinated travelers entering Singapore are no longer required to show proof of negative pre-departure test or purchase travel insurance. Nobody has to show proof of vaccination upon arrival anymore.

All travel restrictions for residents of Hong Kong and Macau wishing to go to Taiwan will be lifted on February 20, three years after they were imposed. Residents of the two regions will be able to travel to Taiwan for individual sightseeing visits from Monday. Group travel for residents of the two cities had resumed last November after being stopped for more than two years due to Covid.

STR said Australia’s hotel performance turned a massive corner during the first half of 2022 as the Omicron wave subsided and governments relaxed travel restrictions around the country. Occupancy increases, combined with labor shortages, broader inflationary pressures, a skew toward leisure demand, and consumer’s willingness to pay for experiences, pushed room rates to record highs. Regional Australia strength spread to capital cities later in the year with more positive performance when compared to the leisure-heavy destinations. STR said Sydney and Melbourne still lag their capital city peers but wider demand sources have strengthened performance in those markets. While all destinations benefited from ADR growth, each of the markets were behind 2019 occupancy levels with NSW South Regional impacted severely by brushfires. Great Southern and South West regions led the group in recovery at room rate index of 162. New Year’s Eve was the first celebration free of restrictions across the country since 2019. Perth was the only market that broke through 2019 occupancy but hoteliers nationwide averaged near 50% lift in ADR. STR said Sydney broke the A$700 room rate barrier for the first time, recording ADR of A$709.10 and an occupancy level of 90.2%. STR said the focus in 2023 will be on whether Australia’s markets will climb further, plateau or face risk of a decline. Using the Gold Coast and Sydney as their leisure and city proxies, they see an extremely strong start to the corporate travel season with their Forward STAR showing occupancy on the books in the first three week of February being double that of 2022 in Sydney. Overall STR does expect room rate growth to begin to abate when comparing over 2022 but some locations will still see some pent-up demand helping to keep that strength going.

STR said Bangkok’s hotel industry reported the second highest monthly average daily rate on record, according to preliminary January 2023 data. Occupancy was 67.5%, ADR was THB 4,338.82 resulting in RevPAR of THB 2,930.15. The only other month with ADR above THB 4,000 in Bangkok was December 2022. The January ADR level was 21.5% above the pre-pandemic comp while occupancy and RevPAR remained below the 2019 comparables by -19.7% and -2.4% respectively. Bangkok’s highest occupancy levels were seen on January 26 at 77.1% and January 27 at 78.6%, helped by extended Chinese New Year celebrations and initial demand from Chinese visitors.

India hospitality major OYO said they observed a nearly 35% increase in bookings for Valentine’s Day, despite it being a weekday. OYO said Vrindavan had the maximum number of bookings this Valentine’s Day, up 231% from last year. Bengaluru was up 51%, Hyderabad was up 47%, Pune was up 45%, Kolkata 38%, Chennai 35% and Mumbai was up 19%. The average duration of stay during this Valentine’s Day increased from 2 days to 4 versus 2022.

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts and Yuan Lih Construction Co., Ltdannounced plans for a new luxury hotel in the heart of Taiwan’s capital. Yuan Lih Construction is part of Taipei-based Yuan Lih Group. Four Seasons Hotel Taipei will be located in the Xinyi District, directly opposite to Taipei 101, considered one of the most iconic skyscrapers in Asia and one of the tallest towers in the world. The hotel will feature approximately 260 light-filled rooms with both city and mountain views. Dining venues will include a high end Chinese restaurant, destination bar, specialty restaurant, all-day restaurant, pool bar and lobby lounge. The 180-meter tall hotel will also feature an executive club lounge, fitness center with an outdoor pool and spa. The property will offer extensive meeting and event spaces, including a grand ballroom and a junior ballroom, along with garden space for meetings and events. Four Seasons Hotel Taipei will be located a one hour drive from Taoyuan International Airport or a 20 minute drive from Songshan Airport.

TFE Hotels homegrown hospitality brand, Vibe Hotels, will extend its footprint to every state and territory in Australia when Vibe Hotel Adelaide debuts on March 1. The 123 room hotel is the final installment in a 20-year project by Adelaide-based developer GuavaLime, completing their long term vision for the Flinders East Precinct on the leafy fringe of the Adelaide parklands. The lobby of the hotel includes an eye-catching serpentine chandelier, suspended from the lobby’s dramatic, raw concrete ceiling using special acrylic rods that will be illuminated to glow differently over a 24 hour cycle. The hotel has several different room and suite categories including Premier Suites, Urban Retreat Rooms, Deluxe Rooms and lead in Guest Rooms. Vibe Adelaide features a suspended bridge pool that allows guests to swim between the hotel and the neighboring ONE Apartments. The pool runs alongside a pedestrian bridge with guests having access to a pool deck with a spa, sauna and communal plaza. The hotel’s ground level includes dining, drink and entertainment available at Storehouse Flinders East restaurant and bar.

Archipelago International is making its debut in Vietnam with Aston Nha Trang City Hotel, opening today. The Daphovina Hotel has rebranded to Aston Nha Trang City Hotel, making it the first Aston in the country. The hotel is 50 minutes from the Cam Ranh International Airport and four kilometers from the center of Nha Trang City. The hotel offers access to the city’s popular beaches, tourist attractions, shopping and dining options. Aston Nha Trang has 135 rooms and suites, an all-day restaurant, Roof Top Bar & Beer Garden and more.

The Indian Hotels Company announced the signing of its first hotel in Rajahmundry, Andhra Pradesh. The greenfield hotel will be branded Vivanta. IHCL is partnering with Sailaja Hotels and Resorts Pvt Ltd for the Vivanta hotel in the city. The 120-key hotel is strategically located a comfortable driving distance from the Rajahmundry International Airport and the satellite city of Kakinada. The hotel will have the signature all-day diner Mynt, a bar and recreational facilities including a swimming pool and fitness center. It also will offer over 550 square meters of banqueting space including meeting rooms. With the addition of the hotel, IHCL will have six hotels across Taj, Vivanta, SeleQtions, and Ginger brands across Andhra Pradesh including two under development.

Alan Woinski
February 15th, 2023 at 7:57 AM EST

Companies: Archipelago International, Four Seasons, OYO Hotels, TFE Hotels, The Indian Hotels Company Ltd, Vibe Hotels, Vivanta

Locations: Adelaide, Andhra Pradesh, Australia, Bangkok, Bengaluru, Chennai, Melbourne, Mumbai, Pune, Singapore, Sydney, Taipei, Taiwan, Vietnam

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