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Malaysia and Hong Kong See Significant MoM Tourism Bumps

Alan Woinski

August 15th, 2023

Skift Take

  • Malaysia is on track to surpass its international tourist target with an expected 18 million visitors, while Hong Kong saw a significant MoM increase in July, driven largely by visitors from Mainland China.
  • Key developments include the Marriott’s expansion in China and India, the transformation of Sydney’s former Department of Education building into a luxury hotel, and Damac International’s progress on its Maldives resort.
  • JLL India reported mixed hotel performance, Blackstone is reinvesting in Japanese real estate due to favorable market conditions, and Absolute Hotel Services has made key management appointments.

Malaysia is expected to surpass its international tourist arrival target for the year by achieving an arrival of at least 18 million visitors, exceeding the initial target of 16.1 million tourists. They now expect to get 18 million as they recorded 4.5 million tourist arrivals in the first quarter.

JLL’s Hotel Momentum India report showed that in 2Q 2023, RevPAR was up 15.4%, but occupancy was actually down slightly. Skift’s India report said they spoke with JLL India, and they attributed the declining occupancy level to harsh weather in the summer months, social events/weddings at an all-time low, and reduced corporate travel.  

The Hong Kong Tourism Board reported a 31% month-on-month increase in July visitor numbers. The HKTB’s preliminary numbers suggest 3.6 million visitors in July, bringing the total in the first seven months of 2023 to approximately 16.5 million visitors, with an average daily count of 116,000 in July. Of the 3.6 million, 2,975,902 came from Mainland China.

China Tourism Academy recently published the “Big Data Report on Outbound Tourism in the First Half of 2023.” They noted 40.37 million outbound trips by mainland tourists in the first half of the year, of which almost half had Macau as the destination. Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan were the top destinations for Chinese outbound tourists, comprising 80% of the total visits between January and June. The inability to obtain visas for travel outside the country explains the higher volume of travel to Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan, which require more simplified travel procedures for mainland tourists. The number of mainland tourists visiting Macau in the first half of the year represented a 52.7% recovery from the same period in 2019, a better performance than for neighboring regions.

Marriott International announced it signed an agreement with New Development Group to introduce the EDITION Hotels brand to Dali in Southwestern China. The Dali EDITION will be nestled on a hillside halfway up Cangshan Mountain. It will be the third EDITION branded property in China and is expected to open in December 2025 with 150 luxurious, serene guestrooms, including suites and villas with private pools. The hotel will feature four signature restaurants and bars, a swimming pool, the Fitness Center, The Spa, the Recreational Activities Center, conference and event spaces, and a 600 square meter outdoor lawn.

Blackstone is back, looking to acquire Japanese real estate again after selling about $4.5 billion worth in the past year to capitalize on high international interest in property in the nation. Blackstone has several bids out and properties like hotels and data centers in the pipeline. Japan still has rock-bottom interest rates, making it one of the few developed markets where income from real estate assets still exceeds the cost of borrowing, attracting foreign investors. Hotels are said to be at the top of their list.

Marriott Hotels has unveiled the Coorg Marriott Resort & Spa amidst the landscapes of Coorg, Karnataka, in southern India. The Coorg Marriott Resort & Spa has 108 villas and cottages and a diverse culinary offering.

Signum Hotels, a fast-growing hotel management company in India, announced its entry in Gujarat with the launch of Signum CityScapes Landmark in Dahej. The hotel offers 48 furnished rooms, multi-cuisine dining, business and meeting facilities, a gym, and an on-site parking facility.

The Veriu Group said they will open their first South Australian apartment hotel accommodation property, Veriu Adelaide, midway through 2024. Developed in partnership with Pelligra Group, the project is one of the group’s first office conversions, with the transformation of over 5,000 sqm of vacant office space into the 111 apartment hotel. The property, in the city’s CBD, will ultimately offer a mix of modern studios, interconnecting studios, and one-bedroom suites.

Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment said construction of its Korean-integrated resort, Mohegan Inspire in Incheon, is now 89% complete and on track to meet its scheduled 4Q23 opening date. They confirmed all funding requirements would be met with a final investment of US$67 million to be drawn down from the company’s line of credit facility in the near term. The hotel and non-gaming amenities will be opened first so they can get their rating of the hotels to get the casino license.

CapitaLand Investment Limited recently secured about S$1.3 billion (US$950 million) in equity commitment from global institutional investors for three of its private funds, bringing its total equity raise to S$3.2 billion this year. S$870 million was recently raised for CapitaLand China Opportunistic Partners Programme, S$134 million for CLI’s flagship regional core-plus fund, CapitaLand Open End Real Estate Fund, and S$263 million for its new India business park development fund, CapitaLand India Growth Fund 2.

IGB Bhd announced that EVT Hotels and Resorts will manage its Tank Stream Hotel in Sydney. The Tank Stream Hotel is a 15-story building with 280 rooms. The hotel was initially included as part of the Independent Collection by EVT and will now undergo a staged refurbishment over the next 9 months. Once refurbishments are complete, the hotel will be rebranded as Rydges Australia Square in mid-2024.

The former Department of Education building, the Edwardian-Baroque building, located 400 meters from Sydney Harbour, has reopened as the 5-star Capella Sydney hotel. Pontiac Land Group restored and adaptively remodeled the building, opening up the ground floor to be fully accessible to the public. Changes include the gallery on level 6 being transformed into a spa, with a 20-meter swimming pool inserted on a self-supporting structure into the existing building. Four additional floors have been added, taking the building to 11 stories. Back-of-house facilities are accommodated across three new basement levels to operate for this building and the neighboring Lands Building.

Damac International announced that the construction of its Mandarin Oriental Bolidhuffaru Reef Resort, currently under development in the Maldives, is progressing well. The project’s beach villa foundations and structure are underway, while the beach reclamation works are almost complete. The infrastructure for the island is also nearing completion. The 34-hectare Mandarin Oriental Resort is scheduled to open in 2025 and will be located in the Bolidhuffaru Reef in South Male Atoll. The resort will comprise 120 keys, offering one-bedroom to four-bedroom beach and water villas, world-class F&B specialty restaurants with seven dining options, and the renowned Mandarin Spa.

Personnel Move

Absolute Hotel Services announced the appointment of Ms. Sita Selanontas the group training manager. Her past employment includes roles as a cabin crew member, purser, and airline instructor at globally recognized airlines such as Qatar Airways and Nokair.

Alan Woinski

August 15th, 2023

Companies: Absolute Hotel Services, Blackstone, Capella Hotels & Resorts, CapitaLand Investment, DAMAC Properties, Edition Hotels, EVT Hotels and Resorts, Mandarin Oriental, Marriott Hotels, Marriott International, Signum Hotels

Locations: Adelaide, China, Dali, Gujarat, Hong Kong, Karnataka, Macau, Malaysia, Maldives, Sydney, Taiwan

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