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Asia-Pacific

Thailand Aims for Record 2 Million Russian Tourists Amid European Travel Restrictions

Alan Woinski
August 2nd, 2023 at 7:45 AM EDT

Skift Take

  • Thai tourism officials hope for 2 million Russian tourists to visit Thailand next year, as Russian travelers have been unwelcome in many European tourist locations due to their government’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.
  • Marriott International’s Sheraton Hotels & Resorts is expanding in Asia Pacific with five new properties in China and Japan, showcasing the brand’s new design concept.
  • ONYX Hospitality Group announced the grand opening of Amari Raaya Maldives, establishing its presence in the Southeast Asian hotel industry.

Tourism officials in Thailand are hoping for 2 million Russian tourists to visit the Kingdom next year. The Director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Moscow office believes they could hit this record number if Thailand maintains its friendly country status with Russian government officials. Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine has Russian tourists unwelcome in many European tourist locations resulting in Thailand seeing a year-round boom in Russian visitation. The Kingdom has already seen 840,000 visitors from the Russian Federation this year, ranking it among the top five choices for Russian travelers. That is expected to reach 1.3 million by the end of the year, close to the record 1.48 million recorded in 2019.

Marriott International’s Sheraton Hotels & Resorts brand said they are continuing their momentum in Asia Pacific with five new properties demonstrating the brand’s design concept in Rizhao, Ninghai, Beihai, andChengdu in China and Kagoshima in Japan. There are now 13 new builds and refurbishments in the region, exemplifying the brand’s new design vision.

Minor Hotels and its joint venture partner in China, Funyard Minor JV Co. (China), announced the signing of the Anantara Shaoxing Resort in northeastern Zhejiang Province. The luxury resort is perched on the slopes of Mount Kuajii and was developed in partnership with Shaoxing Lan Ruo Lake Real Estate Development Co., Ltd. It will be the first internationally-branded resort in the city when it opens in 2024. Anantara Shaoxing Resort will form the core of Taoyuani Health and Wellness Town, an integrated mixed-use community featuring landscaped courtyards, playgrounds, restaurants, organic supermarkets, communal dining, and comprehensive health and wellness facilities for all ages. The 120-key Anantara Shaoxing is inspired by a multi-deck luxury yacht with a cluster of low-rise buildings cascading towards Lanruo Lake. The property will feature an all-day dining restaurant, a tearoom, a specialty restaurant, and a 700-square-meter banquet area. The wellness-centric resort will promote health and well-being through natural immersion, with facilities ranging from a hot spring-fed outdoor swimming pool and a water landscape platform to the Anantara Spa, complete with yoga rooms and a fitness center.

IHG Hotels & Resorts said 50% of their hotel signings in Southeast Asia this year have been with the Holiday Inn brand family – Holiday Inn Hotels & Resorts and Holiday Inn Express. That includes opening the first Holiday Inn Express & Suites property in Singapore, situated in Novena, helping to grow their estate to 95 open and pipeline hotels. Across Southeast Asia, 33 open Holiday Inn Hotels & Resorts properties, and 26 are in the pipeline. Also, IHG has 22 Holiday Inn Express properties in the region and 14 in the pipeline.

IHG also announced the signing of a management agreement with Ginger Tree Goveia to bring a new hotel to Goa, India. The voco Goa Arpora is set to open its doors in January 2025.   Central located in North Goa, the voco will offer proximity to night markets, high-quality dining, boutique shopping, and the beaches of Baga & Calangute. The hotel will feature an outdoor pool, a spa, and a well-equipped gym. The voco Goa Arpora will also have meeting rooms spread across two venues and a banqueting space. There will be three dining options, including a bar and lobby lounge.

Indian Hotels Company announced the signing of its first hotel in Jorhot, Assam, in North East India, under the Ginger brand. The hotel is a greenfield project on a fully-fitted lease. The 100 key hotel is strategically located on Club Road, adjacent to Jorhat Gymkhana, the third oldest golf club in the world, a short distance from the airport. The hotel will feature Qmin, the all-day diner offering a wide range of culinary options. There will also be a fitness center and meeting rooms. With the addition of this hotel, IHCL will have five hotels in Assam, including three under development.

The Fern Hotels & Resorts announced the opening of its first Fort resort, the Fern Bambora Fort, Bambora-Udaipur. This is the company’s 13th hotel in Rajasthan, India, nestled in the rugged landscape of Bambora village. The hotel has 32 regency-fashioned rooms and suites. The resort features a swimming pool, in-house bakery, lush lawns, children’s play area, banquets, meeting rooms, 1711 AD Lounge, a lobby-level restaurant, and the Sheesh Bar. The Fern Hotels & Resorts also announced the signing of The Fern Residency, Mira Road in Mumbai. Fern Hotels operates nine hotels in theMumbai Metropolitan Region and expects this property will reinforce the brand’s leadership position in the key market. Once operational, the property will feature 70 well-appointed rooms with a host of F&B, banqueting, and conferencing facilities. The Fern Residency is nestled in the heart of Mira Road, a fast-growing neighborhood in the Greater Mumbai region. The new property is expected to open in 2024.

Premium homestay chain SaffronStays is teaming up with Marriott International’s Homes & Villas by Marriott Bonvoy to offer luxury rental properties in more than 20 markets across India. They include Alibaug, Lonavala, Pawna, Kamshet, Mahabaleshwar, Karjat, Nashik, Igatpuri, Ranikhet, Chail, Manali, Dehradun, and Ooty.  Two hundred thirty-six of the properties are lives, with 54 being exclusively branded and marketed by the platform.

Choice Hotels Asia Pacific announced the launch of their 15th Ascend Hotel Collection property in Australia-New Zealand, with First Light Mooloolabaon Queensland’s Sunshine Coast to join this month. The hotel features 67 well-appointed, self-contained, one to three-bedroom apartments and showcases resort-style living, including a pool and gym. The apartment hotel is one of the newest buildings in the area. The owners, Chris and Olivia Taylor, previously operated one of the first Ascends in the market. First Light Mooloolaba is Choice Hotels Asia-Pac’s second addition to the Ascend Hotel Collection this quarter following the launch of Hotel around Takayama to the group in July.

Onyx Hospitality Group announced the grand opening of its newest hotel, Amari Raaya Maldives. The resort launch marks a milestone for Onyx, firmly establishing its presence in the competitive hotel industry across Southeast Asia. Onyx said their strategic vision is to become “The Best Medium-Sized Hospitality Management Company in Southeast Asia.” Amari Raaya Maldives showcases 187 villas with a range of options, including private beachfront villas to overwater pool villas. The resort includes eight food and beverage outlets.

Alan Woinski
August 2nd, 2023 at 7:45 AM EDT

Companies: Amari, Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas, Ascend Hotel Collection, Choice Hotels International, Ginger, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, IHG Hotels & Resorts, Marriott International, Minor Hotels, ONYX Hospitality Group, SaffronStays, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, The Fern Hotels & Resorts, The Indian Hotels Company Ltd, Voco

Locations: Assam, Chengdu, China, Goa, Japan, Kagoshima, Maldives, Mumbai, Queensland, Singapore, Thailand, Udaipur

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