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Asia-Pacific

China Reopens to Tourists But Hurdles Remain

Alan Woinski
March 15th, 2023 at 11:43 AM EDT

Skift Take

  • Oxford Economics said tourist arrivals into the Asia Pacific region are tipped to reach around 50% of pre-Covid levels in 2023.
  • China will resume issuing visas to foreign tourists for the first time since the pandemic broke out more than three years ago.
  • Wyndham Hotels & Resorts has recently unveiled two new hotels in Australasiawith the latest being TRYP by Wyndham Pulteney Street Adelaide.

Oxford Economics said tourist arrivals into the Asia Pacific region are tipped to reach around 50% of pre-Covid levels in 2023, only fully recovering in 2025 or 2026. Oxford also said Asia Pacific economies still rely too heavily on Chinese tourists who have been slow to return since China reopened on January 8. The tourism outlook was presented as part of a roundtable hosted by the online travel agency booking.com.

China will resume issuing visas to foreign tourists for the first time since the pandemic broke out more than three years ago. As of today, foreign offices can process applications for Chinese visas. Visa-free entry will also resume in Hainan Island and Shanghai for cruise ships. Tour groups from Hong Kong and Macau will also regain their visa-free privilege. Valid visas issued before China closed to the world on March 28 2020 will be honored again. Chinese citizens will be able to travel on tour groups to 60 countries.

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts has recently unveiled two new hotels in Australasia with the latest being TRYP by Wyndham Pulteney Street Adelaide. This will be Wyndham’s forty-ninth hotel in the South Pacific and will mark the entry of the TRYP by Wyndham brand into Australia and the state of South Australia. The 120-room hotel is set in the heart of Adelaide’s central business district. The property is within walking distance of multicultural restaurants, bars and boutique shopping at the Adelaide Central Markets and Rundle Mall. Their forty-eighth hotel was the TRYP by Wyndham Tory Street Wellington, launched in February, signifying the first TRYP by Wyndham brand in not only New Zealand but the wider South Pacific.

The Star is pulling out all stops in trying to raise capital to pay for their defense and fines, now listing the 295-room Sheraton Grand Mirage resort on the Gold Coast for $200 million. The beachfront property is 50% controlled by The Star, alongside Far East Consortium and Chow Tai Fook, each controlling 25%. The joint venture acquired the Sheraton property in early 2017 from $140 million with The Star contributing $40 million of equity. The Star has been on an equity drive to raise $545 million. They recently announced they anticipated losses of up to $1.11 billion due to the legal cases for anti-money laundering breaches and potential changes to the New South Wales tax regime.

202 Elizabeth is a new entry into Sydney’s boutique hotel scene, built from the inside out. Luxeland developer Diana Ren bought the property for a reported A$30 million last July before launching the restored Porter House Hotel in the CBD. The hotel is a 38-room, six level property occupying a prime spot on the Elizabeth and Campbell streets intersection. The sixth floor includes a rooftop space. The ground floor lobby features multiple stylish working and chill-out spaces, including a sun-drenched rear courtyard and soon to open retail and wine tasting space. The hotel includes a variety of room categories with the most luxurious being The Lizzy with plush armchairs, double walk-in rain shower and a soaking tub. 

Silks Hotel Group celebrated the grand opening of its first overseas hotel on March 1, situated in Osaka’s Shinsaibashi district. The opening of Just Sleep Osaka Shinsaibashi Brand marks the tenth location of Silks’ Just Sleep brand and their sixteenth hotel under management. The new venture also marks Silks Hotel Group’s expansion into Japan. The owner of the Japanese hotel is Minato Create Co., Ltd. They signed a management contract with Silks’ Just Sleep brand in early 2022. The hotel has a total of 100 rooms, with an average size of 12 to 16 square meters. The hotel’s first floor houses a 50 seat Just Café which combines social, meeting and dining functions. SHG said the hotel’s projected occupancy rate the first three months is projected to reach 70% with an average room rate of NTD$3,000.

Crimson Hotels Private Limited, an Indian luxury to boutique hotel operator, brand franchisor and Greenfield Project conceptualizer, has taken over the management of Darbar E Khas, an experiential boutique hotel in Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh. This hotel also becomes the company’s fifth operational hotel across India and Nepal. It is located at Airport Road and includes 35 rooms, a multi-cuisine all day dining restaurant, rooftop international lounge and spacious indoor and outdoor banqueting. Crimson Hotels said they will soon announce the opening of another 24 hotels across 4 countries, 9 of which are 5-star hotels. They will also soon be announcing the entry of a Japanese-style luxury hotel brand in India.

Personnel Move

Minor Hotels announced Paul Stocker is their new Vice President of Operations in Southeast Asia. Stocker joins Minor from Oakwood Worldwide Asia where he held a VP role from 2019.

Middle East Highlights

STR reported Riyadh’s hotel occupancy rate hit 75.5% in February, the highest figure since 2008. Occupancy, ADR and RevPAR all recorded increases from pre-pandemic levels. Occupancy was up 23.4% from 2019, ADR was up 34% and RevPAR increased 65.3% to SR605.06. The market recorded an occupancy rate over 90% for three consecutive days – February 6 to 9, attributed to the International Conference and Exhibition for Science. 

Wynn Resorts revealed at the JP Morgan Gaming, Lodging, Restaurant & Leisure Management Access Forum that their project in the UAE will break ground in the next week or so with a targeted opening in 2027

Ennismore announced the signing of its first standalone development in Dubai with the SLS Residences The Palm, Dubai. They signed the agreement with Roya Lifestyle Development LLC. SLS Residences The Palm, Dubai is set to open in 2026, housed in a newly built standalone, low-rise development, offering approximately 113 luxurious branded residences comprising 2, 3 and 4-bedroom properties and penthouses. Residents will have full use of an exclusive clubhouse, an infinity pool and a fitness area. The property’s ground floor will have 13 flagship residences, each with its own private gardens. The private 1,000 square meters social house will be available exclusively to residents offering a wellness space including fitness facilities, locker rooms and treatment rooms; a lounge with facilities for private dining, high end game entertainment room and a kids club.

Alan Woinski
March 15th, 2023 at 11:43 AM EDT

Companies: Ennismore, Marriott International, Minor Hotels, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, Silks Hotel Group, SLS, Tryp, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Wynn Group of Companies

Locations: Adelaide, Australia, China, Dubai, New Zealand, Riyadh, Shanghai, Sydney, UAE, Uttar Pradesh

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