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WTTC Calls Out 5 APAC Cities for Post-Covid Rebound Success

Alan Woinski
February 21st, 2023 at 7:42 AM EST

Skift Take

  • The World Travel & Tourism Council reported positive signs of recovery for the Asian travel and tourism sector with five major metropolises seeing a significant economic rebound.
  • Macau visitor arrivals in January doubled year on year, reaching nearly 1.4 million, but a hospitality and tourism management professional has warned Macau will only see half of the yearly pre-pandemic visitors this year.
  • Accor announced plans to open a Mercure property in Tokyo, Japan. Mercure Tokyo Hibiya will be housed within the existing Uchisaiwaicho Heiwa Building, close to JR Shimbashi and Uchisaiwaicho stations.

The World Travel & Tourism Council reported positive signs of recovery for the Asian travel and tourism sector with five major metropolises seeing a significant economic rebound. The highest-performing Asian cities in 2022 were Bangkok, Beijing, Seoul, Singapore and Tokyo. The report, in partnership with Oxford Economics, showed those five cities had a recovering direct contribution to GDP by the travel & tourism sectors.

Macau visitor arrivals in January doubled year on year, reaching nearly 1.4 million. Pouring cold water on the situation was Jose Wong, an associate professor at the Macau University of Science and Technology’s Faculty of Hospitality and Tourism Management. He said Macau will only see half of the yearly pre-pandemic visitors this year. While January had 75% of the month with the travel restrictions removed, the visitor total was the highest in three years. More important is the number of visitors staying at least one night was up 234.5% year on year to 816,199 and the average length of visitors rose by 0.3 days to 1.6. We should advise everyone that Las Vegas, more than two years after removing all restrictions, has still not reached pre-pandemic visitation and just finished a year of record gaming revenue, record RevPAR and record profits.

Accor announced plans to open a Mercure property in Tokyo, Japan. Mercure Tokyo Hibiya will be housed within the existing Uchisaiwaicho Heiwa Building, close to JR Shimbashi and Uchisaiwaicho stations, scheduled to open in winter 2023. The hotel will feature 178 rooms, a restaurant with outdoor terrace and garden, a fitness center, and an executive lounge with a theater and cigar lounge. Interiors will offer a contemporary take on traditional theater design elements, a nod to the Yurakuza Theater and The Imperial Theater which were built in the Hibiya districts in the 1920s. Accor is partnering on the hotel with owner Heiwa Real Estate Co. Ltd. Accor currently operates 20 hotels in Japan with forthcoming projects including Fairmont Tokyo and a dual-branded development in Osaka.

Plans for a $300 million hotel proposed for Movie World on the Gold Coast in Australia officially opened for public consultation. The plans include a 22-story hotel that will feature 600 rooms, along with a bar, restaurants, infinity pool, sky deck and function center. A decision on the hotel’s future will be made later in the year following public comment.

IHG Hotels & Resorts announced the growth of the Holiday Inn brand in Thailand, following a franchise agreement with Destination Group to rebrand two resorts in Phuket. Independent hotels Surin Phuket Beach Resort and Karon Phuket Beach Resort will undergo renovation and be rebranded into Holiday Inn Resort Phuket Surin Beach and Holiday Inn Resort Phuket Karon Beach this year. This will bring the Holiday Inn portfolio in Thailand to 12 opened and in the pipeline. The 256-room Holiday Inn Resort Phuket Surin Beach is 25 minutes from Phuket International Airport, a 20-minute drive from Patong Centre and 150 meters to Surin beach. IHG said its key appeal will be its Family Rooms and Suites and a wide array of activities for kids including an arcade room, cinema, ice cream shop and toy store. Facilities include three restaurants and bars, swimming pool, fitness center, spa and kids club Siam Adventure Club. The 224 room Holiday Inn Resort Phuket Karon Beach is 60 minutes from Phuket International Airport, 20 minutes from Patong Centre and 100 meters to Karon Beach. Rooms include family suites and plunge pool suites with facilities such as five restaurants and bars, thee swimming pools, fitness center, spa and kids club Siam Adventure Club.

The renovation of the decades-old Grand Regal Hotel in Davao City, Philippines will continue this year, according to developer Grand Land Inc. They are targeting to complete their renovation of the ballroom and lobby this year. Grand Land also added a brand new glasshouse at the hotel roof deck as one of the latest amenities available. The Glass House is an enclosed, high-ceiling structure with glass walls. It can accommodate 200 guests. Currently, more than 70% of the hotel rooms have been renovated and they are doubling down in preparing the rooms, amenities and other facilities for the upcoming MiceCon in Davao City on March 1 to 3.

Ahmedabad-based hospitality and restaurant group Sankalp Recreation, Kolkata’s Shri Ram Multicom and Rare Asset Reconstruction Co are the bidders remaining in the race to take over the now-defunct Mumbai, India-based hotel property of real estate company Rajesh LifeSpaces after 13 rounds of bidding. The three bidders have offered different plans which will now be evaluated by Resurgent Resolution Professionals, the valuer appointed by banks. The bidding was described as strong and above expectations and much higher than the base price of 305 crore set by creditors. Sankalp Recreation offered the highest amount of 533 crore but most of the payment is deferred. It offered 30 crore upfront, another 20 crore within 30 days and the remaining 483 crore in 300 days. Shri Ram Multicom’s proposal is for 474 crore, payable over 90 days and Rare ARC offered 461 crore upfront with another 31 crore equity in the company. The debt is 621 crore which is owed to the lenders. The background is Rajesh Business & Leisure Hotels had tied up with Singapore-based GHM Hotel to operate a 316-room five-star hotel under The Chedi brand at Kanjurmarg near Mumbai’s Powai locality. The company could not complete the project due to a liquidity crunch.

The Hobart City Council has lost its bid for more power against a surging Airbnb situation. They failed in a push for legislation allowing it to cap new whole house short stays in residential areas. The Tasmanian Planning Commission handed down a decision, finding the Hobart City Council’s request to better regulate Airbnb through a planning scheme amendment’s proposed rules would clash with existing directives.

Personnel Moves

Galaxy Entertainment Group announced the impending departure of long-time Chief Financial Officer Robert DrakeTed Chan will replace him. The transition will take place from March 1, 2023 with Chan to work with Drake over a period of months to ensure a smooth transition. Chan will officially resume operations in Macau. He previously was overseeing Galaxy’s initiatives in Japan, joining GEG in 2018 as Chief Operating Officer – Japan Development. Drake will continue in a newly appointed position with GEG of Senior Advisor to the Group.

Millennium Hotels & Resorts announced Fahad Abdulrahim Kazim as their new Chief Executive Officer for Middle East & Africa. Fahad has also been appointed CEO of Tetra Hospitality Investment, the company that owns and operates numerous prime hotel assets across the region, including Millennium Hotels and Resorts. The press release did not say where Fahad previously was employed, just that he brings more than 20 years of regional experience across the real estate and professional service industries. His LinkedIn page shows he has been CEO of Tetra Hospitality since August 2022.

Alan Woinski
February 21st, 2023 at 7:42 AM EST

Companies: Accor, Fairmont, Galaxy Entertainment Group, Heiwa Real Estate Co. Ltd, Holiday Inn, IHG Hotels & Resorts, Mercure Hotels, Millennium Hotels and Resorts, Tetra Hospitality Management

Locations: Bangkok, Beijing, Gold Coast, Kolkata, Macau, Mumbai, Philippines, Phuket, Seoul, Singapore, Tasmania, Tokyo

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