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Chinese Domestic Tourism Surges During May Day Holiday

Alan Woinski

May 24th, 2023

Skift Take

  • Chinese domestic tourism rebounds strongly, reaching 119% of pre-pandemic levels during the May Day holiday, while international travel remains slow.
  • Fitch Ratings highlights the encouraging recovery trajectory of the domestic tourism industry, driven by pent-up demand and limited outbound flight options.
  • Despite the increase in domestic trips, spending remains nearly flat due to factors such as low-income travelers, visits to lower-tier cities, and short-distance trips.

The Fitch Ratings agency said the number of domestic tourism trips taken by Chinese consumers reached 119% of 2019 levels during the recent May Day holiday, aided by strong pent-up demand and the slower return of international flight capacity. Fitch said the domestic recovery trajectory was encouraging for the tourism industry but domestic tourism also benefits from the slow recovery on outbound flights which resulted in many people traveling around China during the week. Fitch is not expecting international air traffic to return to 80% of pre-pandemic levels until the fourth quarter of 2023. While total domestic trips were up 19% over 2019 levels, spending was nearly flat, at 100.9% of pre-Covid figures. Fitch believes this is due to a larger number of low-income travelers after years of travel restrictions, more visitors to lower-tier cities and rural areas and a large share of short-distance trips due to high hotel and airfare prices.

All that domestic travel did have another result, a surge to 65 million weekly cases of Covid. China’s new Covid wave is a result of the XBB variant. This was not lost on Chinese travel/consumption stocks trading on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange as many were down 3% to 5% overnight. While this is China’s first new wave of Covid following the end of Zero Covid, we doubt it will be their last and like the rest of the world, will learn to live with it.

IHG Hotels & Resorts and Mori Trust Co Ltd have signed a partnership agreement to open Hotel Indigo Nagasaki Glover Street in late 2024. The deal starts a new partnership between IHG and Mori Trust. The hotel will be Japan’s fifth Hotel Indigo when it opens including the upcoming Hotel Indigo Tokyo Shibuya, expected to open later this year. Hotel Indigo Nagasaki Glover Street will debut in Nagasaki’s Minami Yamate area, housed in a rare, historic Romanesque red-brick building. The hotel will have approximately 70 rooms as well as dining facilities and a fitness center.

Frasers Hospitality, a strategic business unit of Frasers Property, announced the formation of two joint ventures with established real estate players, Tishman Speyerand Alyssa Partners, in China and Japan, respectively. Frasers entered into two sale and purchase agreements to acquire its inaugural premium rental apartment assets in Shenzhen, China and Osaka, Japan with a combined asset value of S$170 million. The premium rental apartment assets will complement Fraser’s existing portfolio and deepen its presence in North Asia. The 325-unit premium rental apartment in Shenzhen, China is a leasehold asset jointly acquired with Tishman Speyer. It is situated in the heart of the Luohu commercial and shopping district. The property will be managed and branded under Fraser Hospitality and forms part of a mixed-use development project that topped off last year and is slated to open in the fourth quarter of 2024. The 124 unit premium rental apartment in Osaka, Japan is a freehold asset acquired through a joint venture with Alyssa Partners. It is situated in the Namba precinct and is currently operational and at close to full occupancy.

Accor’s first ibis property in Palembang, Indonesia has opened its doors. The ibis Palembang Sanggar is located in Indonesia’s South Sumatra province, a 35-minute drive from Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II International Airport. The hotel includes a total of 158 rooms in a range of accommodation options including both standard and premium rooms. Distinctive elements include a vibrant social hub providing guests with opportunities to gather, socialize, and enjoy themselves, a bar, lobby lounge, all-day dining restaurant and several function rooms.

Brij Hotels announced the signing of Brij Anarya, Dharmshala in Himachal Pradesh in India, scheduled to open this June. The hotel features 12 suites, located 7.4 miles from the Kangra airport. The hotel will join the Brij properties portfolio, currently at seven in India.

Suba Group of Hotels announced the launch of two properties in Vadodara in India – Click Hotel, Sayajigunj and Click White House Residency, Vasna Bhayi Road. The Click Hotel Sayajigunj features 33 smartly furnished rooms and a comprehensive range of guest facilities to ensure a pleasant stay for guests. Click White House Residency features 49 smartly furnished rooms. Suba Group now has four operational hotels in Vadodara.

The Clarks Hotels & Resorts has opened a new property, Clarks Inn Suites in Manali, Himachal Pradesh in India. With the opening, the brand strengthens its footprints in the mountains and aims for the upscale leisure market. Clarks Inns Suites has cottages divided into three categories and equipped with all the modern amenities. All rooms include a valley or mountain view. The premium rooms have a balcony along with two side views whereas the family suites have a kitchenette, one living room along with a single bedroom. The hotel includes The Bridge, an on-site multi-cuisine restaurant.

Sands China Ltd is a day away from its grand re-opening celebration of the Londoner Macao property. The Macao Daily News reported Sands China is not done yet with development and would like to build an extra hotel structure as part of a proposed expansion flagged in December, at its Cotai Expo meetings facility at the Venetian Macao resort. The Cotai Expo expansion plan is now in its preliminary design stage but includes the idea of additional hotel rooms atop an 18,000-square-meter supplement to its capacity for meetings and conference. Sands China’s current hotel inventory in Macau is about 12,000 rooms.

Ennismore announced the strategic global expansion of Mondrian with the addition of Mondrian openings staled for 2023 including: the 302-room Mondrian Singapore Duxton opening in June 2023; the 154-room Mondrian Ibiza, opening in the summer of 2023; the 324-room Mondrian Hong Kong, opening Q3 2023; and Mondrian Bordeaux, opening early fall with 97 guestrooms. Looking ahead into 2024, Mondrian Gold Coast will become the first branded residences in Australia. Mondrian Abu Dhabi, the brand’s first project in the United Arab Emirates, is also slated for a 2024 opening. Slated to open in 2025, Mondrian Tulum Hotel & Residences will be the second Mondrian in Mexico. Finally, Mondrian Riyadh is due to open in 2026, marking the brand’s debut in the city as well as the first in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group’s branded collection of the world’s finest vacation homes, chalets and mansions, has seen 150% growth in its first 12 months of operation and plans to grow the portfolio to over 100 homes within the next 5 years. Mandarin Oriental Exclusive Homes seeks to expand its footprint of luxury leisure destinations in Europe, for both winter and summer breaks, as well as broadening the portfolio in Asia. The Group has also identified the United States and the Caribbean as key regions for future expansion. Complementary to luxury private home rentals, the Group has seen increasing demand for tailored experiences with heavily personalized offerings. In collaboration with StayOne, Mandarin Oriental Exclusive Homes is able to offer curated experiences.

Alan Woinski

May 24th, 2023

Companies: Accor, Alyssa Partners, Clarks Hotels & Resorts, Ennismore, Frasers Hospitality Trust, Hotel Indigo, ibis, IHG Hotels & Resorts, Mandarin Oriental, Marina Bay Sands, Mondrian, Suba Hotels

Locations: Abu Dhabi, Australia, China, Dharamshala, Gold Coast, Himachal Pradesh, Hong Kong, Ibiza, India, Indonesia, Japan, Macau, Nagasaki, Osaka, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Shenzhen, Singapore, Sumatra, Tulum, UAE

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