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Asia-Pacific

Hong Kong Sees 1 Million Visitors for First Time Since 2019

Alan Woinski
March 22nd, 2023 at 7:49 AM EDT

Skift Take

  • The Hong Kong Tourism Board announced Hong Kong saw a provisional visitor arrival of 1.462 million in February, three times what arrived in January.
  • Indian Hotels Company announced the opening of Ginger Chennai, OMR in Tamil Nadu in India.
  • The World Trade Center Association and the Merlin Group have partnered to develop a World Trade Center in the Nabadiganta Industrial Township Authority area, Salt Lake, West Bengal.

The Hong Kong Tourism Board announced Hong Kong saw a provisional visitor arrival of 1.462 million in February, three times what arrived in January. This is the first time there were more than 1 million arrivals in a month since the Covid-19 pandemic was declared and it happened in the shortest month of the year. While a very big positive, that is only 30% of what the arrival total was before the pandemic. Mainland China provided the most visitation at 1,108,653 and in 2022, the total was only 375,130 for the entire year. The other short-haul visitors came from Southeast Asia. Long-haul markets only brought in 75,628 visitors.

Indian Hotels Company announced the opening of Ginger Chennai, OMR in Tamil Nadu in India. IHCL said that this opening expands their footprint to cater to the demand of the IT corridor. Their presence in the key metropolitan city includes 11 hotels in Tamil Nadu, including one under development, across their brands. The 99-room Ginger OMR is strategically located on Old Mahabalipuram Road. The hotel features Qmin, the all-day diner, a state-of-the-art meeting area and a fitness center.

The World Trade Center Association and the Merlin Group have partnered to develop a World Trade Center in the Nabadiganta Industrial Township Authority area, Salt Lake, West Bengal, at an estimated investment of 1,500 crore. The facility is spread over 3.5 million square feet. The facility will have World Trade Center branded services including trade information, trade education, research, inbound & outbound trade missions, business services, tenant services, international business club, conference facility, convention and services, exhibition facility and IT/ITes offices combined with support facilities, retail, a 5-star hotel, F&B outlets, as well as entertainment facilities. This is the first under construction World Trade Center in eastern India. The proposed World Trade Center is expected to reinforce the economic prosperity of West Bengal as well as eastern India. The oldest World Trade Center in India is in Mumbai but there are also ones in Bengaluru, Chennai, New Delhi, Noida and Pune among others.

TUI’s global leisure hotel brand, TUI Blue, has added five hotels for this summer. They include the TUI Blue  Victoria in Menorca in the Mediterranean and hotels in Hurghada, Egypt; Ayia Napa, Cyprus; Cala Bona, Majorca, and in Thailand. The 4+ star TUI Blue Victoria Menorca will open on May 1. Also expected to open that day will be the TUI Blue Crystal Bay in Hurghada in Egypt. Two more additional Mediterranean hotels, the TUI Blue Levante, Majorca and TUI Blue Atlantica Sungarden Park in Cyprus will open even earlier, ready for Easter guests. The TUI Blue The Passage will become the third TUI Blue hotel in Thailand, opening in the northwest of Koh Samui this summer. TUI is planning to add onto their nearly 100 TUI Blue hotels, with plans for new openings across four continents in destinations including Asia, the Caribbean, and West Africa planned over the next two years.

Raman Sarin is finally about to open his four star hotel in Lower Hutt in New Zealand. Sarin has confirmed the hotel is taking bookings and is set for a soft opening on May 1. Sarin first announced the hotel in 2015, saying it would open in 2017. The Lower Hutt council spent $3.5 million purchasing and clearing land at the southern end of High Street for the hotel. In 2016 they paid Sarin $2.8 million for a nearby building which it subsequently sold to developer Ian Cassels for $1.5 million. While Sarin would not confirm the final budget, it certainly was more than his initial cost projection of between $12 and $15 million. The hotel will complement the nearby Events Centre. The $700 million RiverLink project is expected to begin construction later this year.

Philippine integrated resorts operator Hann Resorts has announced it has secured a PHP9 billion (US$165.66 million) loan to partially finance the ongoing construction and development of its Hann Reserve integrated resort project in New Clark City. The loan was provided by Asia United Bank and UnionBank of the Philippines. The resort dovetails a $600 million expansion of the group’s existing Hann Casino Resort in Clark, completed in 2021, and is expected to cost billions of dollars, bringing together luxury hotels including Banyan Tree, Sofitel, Emblem and Westin alongside luxury retail, convention space and restaurants. It also includes residences and commercial spaces. The first phase of the development includes the Banyan Tree hotel and an 18-hole golf course, as well as a clubhouse and a 10 hectare public park. Hann Casino Resort was formerly known as Widus.

Personnel Moves

Hann also confirmed the recent appointment of Dennis Andreaci as its new Senior Vice President of Casino Operations. Andreaci is a former executive with Sands China and Galaxy Entertainment Group in Macau, Marina Bay Sands in Singapore and Manila’s Solaire Resort, Entertainment City in the Philippines.

The board of directors of The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited announced that Mr. Christopher Shih Ming Ip has resigned as Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer of the company. Ip has decided to pursue other business interests. He will step down on March 31, 2023.

Star Entertainment Group, fresh off yet another disclosure of wrongdoing, this time allowing customers to buy casino chips with credit cards at some of its Australian casino resorts, as recently as last year when it was already under investigation, announced the appointment of David Foster as its new Chairman. Foster is a Non-Executive Director and replaces interim Chairman Ben Heap who was named in the Austrac investigation. Foster will replace Heap, effective December 31. Foster’s background is financing, spending 25 years with Suncorp Bank, including five as CEO. Foster also served on boards across a diverse range of industries including financial services, retail government, education and professional services.

In line with Dubai headquartered Aleph Hospitality’s continued expansion, the independent hotel management company has appointed Tariq Yousef Dowidar as Vice President, Saudi Arabia. The company said they intend to add further resources to the Saudi team over the course of the year. Tariq will be the company’s key representative in the Kingdom. He is considered an accomplished Saudi hotelier with 26 years of hospitality experience there, most recently as the Area General Manager for IHG government hotels and General Manager of InterContinental Riyadh. Aleph Hospitality has targeted 50 hotels in the Middle East and Africa by 2026. They manage hotels directly for owners, either with a franchise for branded properties or as a white-label operator for independently branded hotels.

Alan Woinski
March 22nd, 2023 at 7:49 AM EDT

Companies: Accor, Banyan Tree, Emblems Collection, Ginger, Hann Philippines, Marriott International, Sofitel, Star Entertainment, The Indian Hotels Company Ltd, TUI Blue, Westin Hotels & Resorts

Locations: Chennai, Dubai, Hong Kong, Koh Samui, New Zealand, Philippines, West Bengal

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