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Asia-Pacific

Thai Hotels Association Warns Regulations Will Hurt Tourism

Alan Woinski
September 6th, 2023 at 7:47 AM EDT

Skift Take

  • The Thai Hotels Association (THA) expresses concerns about new regulations that exclude accommodations with up to eight rooms and 30 guests from the hotel business, anticipating a 15% to 20% loss in tourism revenue and increased safety risks. The THA believes these regulations have more disadvantages than benefits, while the Tourism Council of Thailand supports them.
  • Speculation grows regarding the legalization of casino gambling in Thailand within three years, attracting international and regional operators. The text emphasizes the importance of the government’s approach to legalization, as it could affect investor interest, citing examples from other countries like Vietnam, South Korea, and Japan.
  • New World Hotels & Resorts, an upper-upscale hotel brand under Rosewood Hotel Group, is actively expanding in Asia. They plan to have 18 operating hotels by the end of the year, with two more opening in 2024. The brand is entering various markets, including Mainland China, Vietnam, and Japan.

The Thai Hotels Association said new ministerial regulations allowingplaces of accommodation with no more than eight rooms and 30 guests to be excluded from the hotel business would lead to a 15% to 20% loss of tourism revenue and an increase in safety risks. The regulation was recently published in the Royal Gazette, and THA believes this creates more disadvantages than benefits. The Tourism Council of Thailand proposed and supported this new regulation, saying it will boost local homestays with unique services. The THA thinks this will exempt more properties under the same rules as registered hotels, and the government will lose revenue.

More people believe Thailand will legalize casino gambling within three years, prompting a gold rush among international and regional operators. While there are more signs of less opposition to casinos, how they legalize them may be a lot more important than if they do it. For every Singapore andMacau, there are Vietnams and South Koreas, places where the casinos have flopped, or Japan, which should have had three casinos ready to open instead of one trying to figure out if it is even worth it to think about a casino opening even later than expected, in Fall 2030, at a cost of $1.3 billion more to nearly US$9 billion for the initial investment. International casino companies like Las Vegas Sands, Hard Rock, and Galaxy Entertainment are all ready to pounce. Still, if the government doesn’t do it correctly, it will limit the companies that are interested, like what happened in Vietnam and South Korea. If Japan gets its act together or Vietnam and South Korea’s governments realize what they did wrong, Thailand will have waited too long.

New World Hotels & Resorts, the upper-upscale hotel brand under Rosewood Hotel Group, is progressing with its ambitious growth initiatives in Asia. The brand’s portfolio will reach 18 operating hotels by the end of this year, with two more slated to open in 2024. They opened New World Shijiazhuang Hutuo Resort in June in China and have three more planned for this fall: Chongqing, Taishan, and Guangzhou. In June, they rebranded all KHOS properties to New World Hotels & Resorts, welcoming New World Qingyuan Hotel, New World Langfang Hotel, and New World Shenyang Hotel. New World entered a joint venture with Rezen Group, a subsidiary of Trip.com Group, to develop and operate all New World Hotels & Resorts in Mainland China in 2021. The joint venture, New World Tongpai Hotels Group, has a three-year goal to develop 10 New World Hotels & Resorts in Mainland China. In Vietnam, New World will open its fifth property next year with New World Nha Trang Hotel. They will debut in Japan with the opening of New World La Plume Niseko Resort in 2024.

Hilton is locked in a battle with the tax office in Australia over allegedly unpaid taxes amid accusations it set up a scheme to minimize its tax in Australia deliberately. Hilton obviously feels differently, and it launched legal action against the Australian Taxation Office in the Federal Court in July to dispute the assessment that it owes $80.7 million (Australian dollars) in unpaid taxes, penalties, and interest. The ATO believes the company owes $51 million in taxes over the sale of its Hilton Sydney property in 2015. Hilton agreed to pay the ATO an installment of $26 million in response to the claim. They offloaded the 595-room Sydney Hilton property to Bright Ruby in May 2015 for $442 million. Hilton’s notice of appeal said the ATO was wrong to make the assumption it used a business structure and scheme to avoid a capital gain. The total claim with penalties and fees is $80.7 million. Hilton said it made the installment payment in 2021 on the condition that ATO agreed the shortfall interest charges would cease to be accrued.

SH Hotels & Resorts plans to bring its ultra-luxury Baccarat brand to Australia as part of a major regional expansion. The first Australian property will be 1 Hotel on the north bank of Melbourne’s Yarra. Melbourne is also a potential market for a Baccarat hotel. There is only one in the world, which is in Manhattan, near Central Park. Six or seven in major cities around the world are in the works. SH Hotels also announced last week that its first Treehouse Hotel will open in the City of Adelaide’s $400 million Market Square development in Adelaide by ICD Property and the City of Adelaide. The 248-room upbeat lifestyle hotel will be completed by 2026 as part of the expansion of the 1869-built Adelaide Central Market. The first 1 Hotel will be part of local developer Riverlee’s $550 million Seafarers project at the historic Goods Shed site. SH is also looking to bring 1 Hotels to Sydney and to make Australia a hub for its expansion in the Asia Pacific region.

Minor Hotels announced plans for its first NH Hotel in Australia with the upcoming launch of NH Sydney Airport. The A$55 million new-build, upscale property is set for completion in 2026 and will be located in the premier position of 102-106 Robey Street, Mascot, just 7km from the Sydney CBD. The hotel will have over 90 rooms, a lobby restaurant, and a bar with all-day dining options and contemporary communal spaces. The signing of NH Hotel Sydney Airport means it will be developed alongside NH Collection Sydney, which is due to open in 2025 as the first hotel under the boutique NH Collection brand in Australia.

A new urban zone comprising offices, hotels, and residences surrounding a 4.5-hectare urban park will open in a redevelopment zone named Grand Green Osaka north of JR Osaka Station in Kita Ward, Osaka, Japan. The park, hotels, and some of the other facilities are set to open in fiscal 2024. The urban zone is part of a redevelopment plan dubbed the Umekita 2nd Project. Mitsubishi Estate Co is overseeing the development of Grand Green Osaka.

Signum Hotels & Resorts announced the opening of Signum Resort Igatpuri in India’s western state of Maharashtra. The hotel will feature 35 rooms and follows last month’s launch of a property in Gujarat.

Absolut Hotels Services announced establishing a significant strategic alliance with Artotel Group, a leading Indonesia-based hospitality management company with a creative lifestyle and community at its core, aimed at ushering in a new era of collaborative growth and expansion. The alliance is expected to amplify their respective brand reach. AHS will introduce its U Hotels & Resorts, Eastin Hotels, and Eastin Grand Hotels brands to multiple destinations across Indonesia. Artotel Group will expand its international presence by introducing Otelart properties, their signature global identity, making its debut in Thailand and Laos. The properties will operate under the licensure of AHS.

Alan Woinski
September 6th, 2023 at 7:47 AM EDT

Companies: Absolute Hotel Services, Artotel Group, Baccarat Hotels, Galaxy Entertainment Group, Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos, Hard Rock International, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Las Vegas Sands, Minor Hotels, New World Hotels and Resorts, NH Collection, SH Hotels & Resorts, Signum Hotels

Locations: Australia, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Indonesia, Japan, Macau, Maharashtra, Melbourne, Osaka, Singapore, Sydney, Thailand, Vietnam

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