STR reported China hotel data for the week ended March 18. China hotel RevPAR rose 134% on a year-over-year basis, up against an easy -46% comp result in 2022. When compared with the same week in 2019, RevPAR was down -14%.
Sabre said after sifting through its extensive shopping and booking data to examine the impact of the reopening through February 9, 2023, on tourism in China and globally, they have found strong demand among Chinese travelers for trips despite high airfares, with fares peaking at more than 2x in January and 1.5x in February when compared to pre-pandemic prices. Demand is outstripping supply with Chinese airlines leading capacity growth. There has been a significant spike in shopping queries and requests, particularly for the outbound tourism industry. Outbound travel has rebounded faster than inbound travel to the region with Sabre data showing outbound bookings making up 43.5% of 2023 overall travel through February 9, compared to 37% for the same period in 2019. As of February 9, Japan, Thailand and South Korea are the top three destinations for Chinese outbound travel so far in 2023. Bookings for the UK, Thailand and Philippines have bounced back the fastest versus bookings made in the same period in 2019. Indonesia lost its spot in the top 10 to the Philippines. Sabre’s bookings show the largest sources of inbound travel for China so far in 2023 are Taiwan, the US, Thailand, Korea, the UK and Canada with Thailand, UK and Canada bouncing back the fastest as of February 9.
Marriott International announced the milestone opening of hotel number 1,000 in Asia Pacific, signaling its continued confidence in the long-term growth potential of the region. The company entered the region nearly 50 years ago and has steadily increased its Asia Pacific footprint. The property is the Ritz-Carlton Melbourne, the second Ritz-Carlton in Australia. Set on the western side of Melbourne’s central business district, the hotel has 257 guestrooms, a Sky Lobby Reception on Floor 80, three culinary venues, the Ritz-Carlton Spa, over 2,500 square meters of event space and more. The rooms include The Ritz-Carlton Suite, one of the city’s largest, spanning the length of the building. There are Club Level suites giving access to the signature Ritz-Carlton Club. After this hotel, Marriott anticipates adding 100 hotels – roughly two a week – in Asia Pacific in 2023, expanding its footprint in key Asia Pacific markets including Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, China and India. Their luxury portfolio will have 12 new openings this year including the sixth Ritz-Carlton hotel in Japan, in Fukuoka. Marriott expects over 30 additions this year in their premium brand portfolio including five from their Westin brand. Marriott’s select service portfolio accounts for nearly 50% of planned openings in 2023 with Fairfield by Marriott having 19 properties opening in Asia Pacific alone and Courtyard will have 11 new hotels.
In the Philippines, Solaire Resort operator Bloomberry Resorts has informed investors it has terminated plans for a proposed investment in the Emerald Bay Project in Cebu, following their due diligence on the target companies and the projects. The group had entered into a term sheet with Dennis Uy’s PH Resorts Group Holdings on May 6 of last year regarding investment in Lapulapu Leisure Inc regarding the Emerald Bay project, as well as another casino project in Clark. The fate of that project now hangs in the balance. Uy had originally said they planned to open the Emerald Bay project this year. He had topped off the Emerald Bay towers with the completion of the resort, pending financing, to have 270 hotel rooms, 122 gaming tables and 600 electronic gaming machines. The second phase was to add 700 rooms, MICE space, more than 700 machines and 140 more gaming tables.
The Carol Cay Resort, one of Mackay’s most renowned accommodation offerings, has been listed for sale by its West-Australian owner, hiring CBRE to market the 4 star resort for sale. The hotel comprises 82 guest rooms of various configurations, located on a 9,148 square meter freehold land parcel. The resort is constructed over two levels and offers a range of facilities and leisure offerings including the Coral Bay Bar & Grill, meeting rooms, swimming pool, gym, sauna and outdoor guest parking. The hotel is being offered for sale with the benefit of vacant possession or to retain owner Pacific Hotels under a Hotel Management Agreement.
City Developments Ltd is acquiring an 87.9% effective group interest in Australia’s Sofitel Brisbane Central hotel for US$120 million. Through CDL’s wholly-owned Millennium & Copthorne Hotels, and in a 50/50 joint venture with its New Zealand listed subsidiary, M&C New Zealand, the group will acquire the hotel from Brookfield Asset Management. The hotel will continue to be managed by Accor Group under its Sofitel brand following the completion of the deal in the second half of this year. The Sofitel Brisbane Central is a five-star, 30-story luxury hotel comprising 416 rooms and suites, nine meeting and conference rooms, directly linked to Brisbane’s Central Station. This will be CDL’s third Australian hotel and represents the property group’s entry into Brisbane’s hospitality sector.
The Laundy family, led by Arthur Laundy and his sons Stuart and Craig, are said to be the frontrunners to buy the Sheraton Mirage hotel in Australia from Star Entertainment. The family owns the Sofitel Noosa and Crowne Plaza Terrigal and was outbid for the Sofitel Brisbane by City Developments. Laundy is currently undertaking due diligence on the beachfront resort.
Chalet Hotels announced they will acquire a 100% stake in Sonmil Industries for Rs 74.64 crore. Chalet’s board approved the share purchase agreements for the acquisition of equity shares of Sonmil Industries Private Limited and The Dukes Retreat Private Limited. The acquisition is expected to close by the end of this month. They will acquire 100% of Sonmil Industries for Rs 74.64 crore and 82.28% of equity shares of the Duke’s Retreat for Rs 81.75 crore with the remaining 17.72% continuing to be held by Sonmil Industries Private Limited. Dukes is the owner and operator of The Dukes Retreat in Khandala in Western India. There is an 80 room full service resort with the capacity to add 42 more rooms.
Middle East Highlight
IHG Hotels & Resorts announced they signed a management agreement with Arabella Group to develop three new hotels in Egypt between 2023 and 2026. The hotels will be the InterContinental North Coast Direction White, voco Cairo Arabella Plaza Cairo, and Crowne Plaza Cairo Arabella Clubhouse. They will combine to add over 500 keys to IHG’s Egypt portfolio. The voco hotel will open its doors in July 2023 while the Crowne Plaza is slated for a January 2026 opening and the InterContinental will not be ready to open before September 2026. The voco Cairo Arabella Plaza will have 77 rooms, situated in a prime location in Egypt, New Cairo. It will house five food and beverage outlets including a rooftop bar. The property will feature a swimming pool and health club, 427 square meters of meeting space, all located just 20 minutes from Cairo International Airport.