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Japan’s Inbound Tourism Surges Thanks to Gulf Countries

Alan Woinski
August 3rd, 2023 at 7:53 AM EDT

Skift Take

  • China hotel RevPAR increased by 27.9% year over year and by 13.7% when compared to 2019.
  • Japan experienced a resurgence in inbound tourism, with GCC countries leading the way, and June 2023 saw 72% of the visitor numbers compared to June 2019.
  • Several hotels, including W Sydney, W Macao Studio City, and The Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel, have announced openings and renovations to cater to the recovering travel demand. Additionally, CapitaLand Ascott Trust signed a Memorandum of Understanding for acquiring lodging assets in the UK, Ireland, and Indonesia.

STR reported China hotel RevPAR for the week ending July 29th. Hotel RevPAR in China was up 27.9% year over year. It was up against a positive 8.5% comp in the year-ago week. When compared with the week in 2019, RevPAR was up 13.7%.

Japan National Tourism Organization announced the resurgence of inbound tourism to Japan, with the Gulf Cooperation Council countries leading the way. The first half of the year saw 13,537 GCC nationals visiting Japan, close to the 2019 figure of 13,582. Countries such as Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, and Bahrain have outperformed their 2019 visitor numbers, showcasing the recovery of inbound tourism from these markets. June saw Japan welcoming 2,073,300 international visitors, 72% of the June 2019 figure and the first time Japan has surpassed 2 million visitors in a single month since January 2020. The cumulative number of international visitors to Japan during the first half of 2023 reached 10,712,000.

W Sydney announced that the hotel will open its doors on October 12th. The hotel has 585 luxury rooms and suites, a two-story rooftop bar, WET Deck, by a heated infinity pool overlooking Darling Harbour, the AWAY Spa, FIT Gym, signature restaurant BTWN, a Living Room bar, and state-of-the-art event spaces. The hotel is set on the waterfront in Darling Harbour with immediate access to the CBD, International Convention Centre, and harbor entertainment precinct.

Melco Resorts and Entertainment said the W Macao Studio City hotel at City of Dreams on Cotai in Macau will open in September. That will add another 560 rooms to their existing hotel supply there.

The Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel, part of Millennium Hotels and Resorts, unveiled its S$30 million renovation that showcases a sophisticated redesign of all 574 guestrooms and suites with eco-friendly features, expanded conference facilities, and upgraded public spaces. For the MICE guests, the hotel now has one of the largest event spaces among Singapore hotels at over 6,200 square meters. The 33 function rooms were at the forefront of the renovations. The 5-star hotel underwent a nine-month revamp that commenced in October 2022. In addition to the hotel’s redesign, Grand Copthorne Waterfront offers enhanced food and beverage concepts at its three restaurants and customized event catering. The Executive Club Lounge, located on Level 29, has also undergone a complete transformation. 

CapitaLand Ascott Trust signed a Memorandum of Understanding with its sponsor, The Ascott Limited, for a proposed DPS-accretive acquisition of three lodging assets in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Indonesia at an agreed property value of S$530.8 million. The three assets are a hotel in London, The Cavendish London, with 230 rooms; a hotel in Dublin, Temple Bar Hotel, with 136 rooms; and a serviced residence in Jakarta, Ascott Kuningan Jakarta, with 185 units. The acquisition will enable CLAS to enhance its income streams and capitalize on the travel recovery and robust lodging demand. The Cavendish London will be renovated and rebranded under The Crest Collection Brand. The Temple Bar Hotel will also undergo renovation from Q1 2024 to Q4 2024. CLAS also said asset enhancement initiatives are in place for two existing properties – Novotel Sydney Central and Citadines Holborn-Covent Garden London. The Novotel Sydney Central will add 72 rooms across eight more floors, a 28% increase from the hotel’s current inventory. A new retail space will be added on the ground floor, while the hotel’s existing 255 rooms, lift lobbies, corridors, and façade will also be refreshed.

Hotel Ibis Limited, a hotel development company in Bangladesh, announced the signing of Ramada by Wyndham Cox’s Bazar Kolatoli Beach under a franchise agreement with Wyndham Hotels & Resorts. Cox’s Bazar is the prime beach and tourist town in Bangladesh, alongside the Bay of Bengal beach. Located about 150 km south of Chittagong Metropolitan City, Cox’s Bazar is connected by both air and road with the capital of Bangladesh, Dhaka, and the prime port city of Chittagong. The hotel will have 141 contemporary rooms, all-day dining, banquet halls and meeting room, a health club, a spa, and an outdoor rooftop swimming pool.

Sterling Holiday Resorts in India announced the opening of its new resort in Vythiri, Wayanad, its second resort in the tourist destination of Wayanad, adding to its existing resort at Sultan Bathery. The main attraction of the 27 suites and cottages is the tranquil rivulet of the Kabini River flowing through the resort. The resort is a 2-hour drive from Calicut International Airport.

Accor no longer manages Th8 Palm. The former ‘House of Originals’ Dubai flagship is now under IHG’s collection brand: Vignette Collection. The House of Originals brand, originally a joint venture between Accor and SBE, no longer exists. It was rebranded to Morgan’s Originals when Ennismore merged with Accor. The8 Palm is now IHG’s debut property for its collection brand, launched in August 2021. Th8 Palm Dubai Beach Resort, Vignette Collection, remains under the same owner, Kuwaiti firm Aqarat, which also chose IHG as the operator of the new Vignette Collection in Kuwait City.

Personnel News

Centara Hotels & Resorts announced the appointment of Pannarat Tantrativud as Assistant Vice President – CRM & Customer Service. Pannarat graduated with a Master of Marketing degree from Monash University in Australia. Most recently, she held the General Manager position at Scale 360 Co., Ltd, where she oversaw the digital banking & online marketplace business.

The board of directors of The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited,announced that Ms. Christobelle Yi Ching Liao would join the board as an Executive Director and the Chief Corporate and Governance Officer of the company with effect from 8/4. Liao is currently the Group Director, Corporate and Legal, and Company Secretary of the company as well as a member of the Group Management Board.

Alan Woinski
August 3rd, 2023 at 7:53 AM EDT

Companies: Accor, CapitaLand Investment, Centara Hotels & Resorts, Citadines, Copthorne, IHG Hotels & Resorts, Marriott International, Melco Resorts & Entertainment, Millennium Hotels and Resorts, Novotel, Ramada, Sterling Holiday Resorts, The Ascott Limited, Vignette Collection, W Hotels, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts

Locations: Bahrain, Bangladesh, China, Cotai, Dhaka, Dublin, England, Indonesia, Ireland, Jakarta, Japan, Kuwait, London, Macau, Oman, Qatar, Singapore

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