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Asia-Pacific

Vietnam to Relax Visa Rules to Boost Visitors

Alan Woinski
March 20th, 2023 at 7:44 AM EDT

Skift Take

  • Vietnam Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh instructed his cabinet to relax certain visa requirements in a bid to attract more foreign tourists to the country.
  • The Economic Times said many more hotels will be signed in India this year compared to last year with some chains even considering doubling their signing numbers from last year.
  • Wyndham Hotels & Resorts announced strong growth in Asia Pacific as it closed out 2022, diversifying its offerings for guests and owners across the region.

Vietnam Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh instructed his cabinet to relax certain visa requirements in a bid to attract more foreign tourists to the country. Bloomberg said Chinh wants to offer visa waivers to more countries, expand their e-Visa program and allow foreigners to stay for longer. Vietnam is targeting 8 million visitor arrivals in 2023. They attracted 18 million in 2019 but only 3.44 million last year. Vietnam resumed visa exemptions for visitors from 13 countries earlier this month, for up to 15 days. That includes Belarus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden and the UK. Visitors from nine ASEAN countries can stay up to 30 days. Bloomberg said tourism officials want to extend the maximum length of stay to 45 days.

The Economic Times said many more hotels will be signed in India this year compared to last year with some chains even considering doubling their signing numbers from last year. Consulting company Hotelivate said they expect a 15-20 percent growth in new hotel signings compared to 2022 and that they are doing nearly double the number they had signed in 2019. JLL said their hotels’ feasibility and project assessment practice has witnessed a 25% increase over last year. Goa remains the favorite market across hotel categories and was further pushed by the successful opening of MOPA Airport. JLL said 2021 saw 162 hotel signings across 13,686 keys while 2022 saw 245 hotel signings with 19,912 rooms. Lemon Tree Hotels sees conversion growth as there are more than 30 lakh rooms in India of which only 1.60 lakh rooms are branded. Wyndham Hotels & Resorts said they have recorded multiple queries for their hotels nationwide, adding to their immediate goal of mapping significant growth in 2023. MayFair Consultants said first-time hotel owners from tier two and three cities are more active as the overall sentiment of the cities is growing in terms of spending power and infrastructure development. Finally, Radisson Hotel Group told Economic Times they signed 12 hotels across brands last year and the prediction for 2023 looks strong.

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts announced strong growth in Asia Pacific as it closed out 2022, diversifying its offerings for guests and owners across the region. Highlights included 169 new hotel signings, 132 new hotel openings and the addition of more than 18,000 new rooms, resulting in 5% net room growth across Southeast Asia and 10% net room growth across our direct franchise and managed properties in Greater China. Wyndham also opened their first hotels in new markets including Xiong’an in ChinaSapporo in Japan, and Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam while bringing six brands into new countries. Wyndham’s Asia Pacific brand portfolio is up to 14 brands. Approximately 30% of all new signings for the year came from existing owners. Wyndham remains focused on continued expansions across Asia Pacific in 2023, all while supporting its hotels, owners, partners and guests.

Total visitor arrivals to Macau grew by 140% year on year in February to 1,593,743. The Statistics and Census Service said that number was up 14% from January and is the second month visitor arrivals passed one million since the pandemic hit. Visitor numbers from Mainland China rose 64.8% year on year to 1,003,999. 523,271 visitors came from Hong Kong, up by 1,160% year on year.

Marriott International said they will debut their first dual branded hotel in Malaysia in the third quarter of 2023, adding to its 27-year legacy. Marriott is renovating the Renaissance Kuala Lumpur Hotel & Convention Center, in preparations for the hotel to be reborn as a home to two hotels – Four Points by Sheraton Kuala Lumpur, City Centre and Renaissance Kuala Lumpur Hotel & Convention Centre. The Renaissance will feature 406 rooms while the Four Points will have 513 rooms. The Renaissance will have the Evolution Café all day dining spot and the R Bar while the Four Points will have Sichuan Kitchen with private rooms and an open area, alongside all day restaurant MESH as well as offering their own Nitro brew for coffee enthusiasts and Gazebo, a Mediterranean-inspired poolside restaurant and bar. There are common facilities on Level 3 and 4. The largest pool in the city with waterslides for all plus a fitness center, Mandara Spa and Stay & Play function room for private events round out the amenities.

Marriott’s Westin Hotels & Resorts brand announced the opening of The Westin Manila in Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila, partnering with Robinsons Land Corporation. The new hotel marks the Westin brand’s re-entry into the Philippines. The hotel is situated in the Ortigas CBD in Mandaluyong, the gateway to Metro Manila’s top corporate centers, shopping malls, healthcare establishments and dining and entertainment hotspots. The hotel is located approximately 10 km from Ninoy Aquino International Airport. The 32-story hotel features 303 rooms including 57 suites. There are Westin Club rooms and suites, featuring separate living rooms with access to the exclusive Club Lounge. The hotel offers four F&B outlets including a pool bar and rooftop dining venue. Signature Westin amenities include 24/7WestinWorkout Fitness Studio and Heavenly Spa by Westin which will open in June. A total of 1,063 square meters of meeting and function spaces is available.

Melia Chiang Mai has unveiled a ‘hotel within a hotel’ called The Level that sets apart 43 rooms and suites as well as a private lounge and a hotel of bespoke privileges. Housed on the upper floors of the 22-story urban hotel, ‘The Level Rooms’, ‘The Level Premium Rooms’, ‘The Level Suites’, and ‘The Level Presidential Suite’ are 30sqm, 44sqm, 62sqm and 113sqm respectively. Guests staying in The Level experience an upgraded level of service and benefits including access to the 21st-floor The Level Lounge. That is tucked under the hotel’s 22nd-floor 360-degree rooftop bar Mai The Sky Bar, the highest bar in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The Level guests have access to all of Melia’s Chiang Mai’s facilities including bars Mai The Sky Bar and Tien Pool Bar, restaurants Mai Restaurant and Bar and Laan Na Kitchen, lobby lounge Ruen Kaew lounge, seven treatment room YHI Spa, a swimming pool, gym, kid’s club and bar.

Billionaire Lance Gokongwei is spending US$1.3 billion this year to reap the fruit of a post-pandemic recovery in the Philippines. His family’s JG Summit is stepping up investments in each of its major businesses – hotels, airlines and banking. More than half will be spent on buying new aircraft for Cebu Air. JG Summit’s Robinsons Land real estate arm is building new shopping malls, office buildings, hotels and residential projects. They completed three new hotels last year and this month opened the West Manila, described above. Robinsons Hotels has over 4,000 rooms in 26 properties across the country.

CapitaLand Group is in talks to acquire assets worth US$1.5 billion from Vietnam’s biggest listed property firm Vinhomes. One of the sources told Business Times that CapitaLand is considering buying part of Vinhomes’ Ocean Park 3 project, a 294-ha resort-city style development near the Vietnamese capital city of Hanoi, or another project in the northern city of Haiphong.

Marriott’s Tribute Portfolio announced its latest addition with the opening of Laila, Seychelles, a Tribute Portfolio Resort. This marks the brand’s debut in Seychelles, located close to Anse Royal, the white sandy beach on the Southeastern coast of Mahe. The resort has 76 guest rooms including eight boutique suites, including the Senior Suite with a private plunge pool and private terrace overlooking the Indian Ocean and surrounding mountains. The resort amenities include a water sports center, outdoor pool, gym, spa, barbershop and kids’ recreation area. The resorts features five restaurants and bars.

Alan Woinski
March 20th, 2023 at 7:44 AM EDT

Companies: Four Points by Sheraton, JG Summit, JLL, Lemon Tree Hotels, Marriott International, Melia Hotels & Resorts, Melia Hotels International, Radisson Hotel Group, Renaissance Hotels, Tribute Portfolio, Westin Hotels & Resorts, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts

Locations: Cebu, Chiang Mai, China, Goa, Ho Chi Minh City, India, Kuala Lumpur, Macau, Manila, Philippines, Sapporo, Seychelles, Vietnam

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