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South Korea Takes Steps to Woo More Chinese Tourists

Alan Woinski
September 11th, 2023 at 7:14 AM EDT

Skift Take

  • China hotel RevPAR increased by 30.7% YoY but was down by -6.8% compared to 2019.
  • South Korea aims to attract 1.5 million Chinese tourists, lifting group visit bans with incentives.
  • H World Group refines strategy for post-pandemic tourism in China, focusing on quality growth and lower-tier cities.

STR said China Hotel RevPAR the week ended 9/2 was up 30.7% year over year. The previous week’s RevPAR was up against a +19.3% year-over-year comp. Versus the same week in 2019, China hotel RevPAR was down -6.8%.

South Korea aims to attract 1.5 million Chinese tourists by the end of the year. Pre-pandemic, nearly five million Chinese visitors came to South Korea yearly. Chinese authorities recently lifted the ban on group visits to South Korea. In response, South Korea is rolling out incentives, including opening near visa application centers, expanding air routes, and offering financial incentives like VAT or visa fee refunds for group bookings. Tourism programs specifically designed to cater to Chinese preferences are under development, as is the integration of payment platforms such as WeChat Pay and Alipay.

H World Group said they are refining their strategy to capture the post-pandemic tourism spending boom in China with plans to cover more mainland cities, pivoting from leased and owned hotels to “manachised” ones, managed but now owned or leased, reported the South China Morning Post. The logic is that this will help H World cover more lower-tier cities. Currently, H World only has 7% of its hotels leased and owned. The company will focus on quality growth as they have been closing many first-generation HanTing hotels due to their outdated designs and infrastructure.

Marriott’s W Hotels brand announced the opening of W Macau – Studio City, marking the debut of the W Hotels brand in Macau. Studio City is majority-owned by Melco Resorts & Entertainment and is on the Cotai Strip in Macau. The hotel has 430 guestrooms and 127 suites, including a two-bedroom Extreme Wow Suite on the 38th floor. The hotel includes the W signature amenities such as the in-room W Mix Bar, indoor pool area Wet, Fit fitness center, and the Away Spa. The Academy is W Macau – Studio City’s meeting and events space, with the largest room measuring 152 square meters. The hotel features Greater China’s first W South Suite, the brand’s signature recording studio experience. The property also includes four distinctive restaurants and bars.

Hilton announced the launch of DoubleTree by Hilton Seoul Pangyo. This is the first upscale full-service hotel and residences in the south Gyeonggi area. Spanning 25 floors, the hotel is the largest full-service hotel and residences complex in southern Gyeonggi. The dual building complex comprises 432 hotel rooms and 170 residences, respectively, and includes executive rooms that grant access to the Executive Lounge. The residences feature studio rooms and premium suites with up to two bedrooms. Dining options include an all-day restaurant and an elevated dining experience with an Executive Lounge Terrace. The hotel features meeting and event facilities, an indoor swimming pool, a 24-hour fitness center, a driving range, a tennis court, and a sauna.

Indian Hotels Company announced the opening of Wow Crest, an IHCL SeleQtions hotel in Indore, Madhya Pradesh. The 125-room hotel is a short drive from the Devi Ahilyabai Holkar Airport and offers an array of dining experiences. Exclusive meeting venues are spread over 6,400 square feet, while other amenities include a rooftop swimming pool and a gym. With the addition of this hotel, IHCL has nine hotels across Taj, SeleQtions, Vivanta, and Ginger brands in Madhya Pradesh in India, including one under development.

Radisson Hotel Group announced the re-opening of Radisson Blu Pune Hinjawadi after comprehensive renovations. The 152-room Indian hotel offers rooms under multiple categories with cityscape or hillside views. The property offers round-the-clock in-room dining, multiple F&B options, and 17,000 square feet of meeting space featuring indoor and open-air venues. Alcon Victor Group owns the hotel.

A memorandum of understanding was signed between PT Indonesian Paradise Property Tbk and Vacances Pte Ltd., the Club Med unit. Paradise Indonesia and Club Med are entering a mutually exclusive partnership to develop a portfolio of new upscale all-inclusive resorts across Indonesia. It will be rolled out across several phases with the development target of more than five new resorts. The first phase consists of three resorts to be developed in the next five years in key tourism destinations, namely North Sulawesi, Bali, and West Java. Club Med’s next global business expansion for 2023 to 2025 is anticipating opening 17 new resorts, including 10 extensions or renovations of existing resorts.

Four Points by Sheraton Surabaya, Pakuwon Indah in Indonesia has unveiled the Soiree Rooftop and Bar, a level M3 retreat featuring the Mystical Banquet mural.

BWH Hotels said they are continuing their rapid expansion in Vietnam by launching a new upscale beachfront hotel in the heart of Nha Trang. The hotel is on the city’s main beachfront road, Tran Phu Street. The Best Western Premier Marvella Nha Trang is just steps from the beach, surrounded by urban attractions, including shopping malls, markets, restaurants, and bars. The hotel offers a selection of 335 rooms and suites, ranging from the 31-sqm Superior King or Twin rooms to the 66-sqm Executive Suites. The 52-sqm Romantic Suite and 218-sqm Presidential Suites can accommodate up to four adults and four children. The hotel has four restaurants and bars, including Sky 32, the rooftop bar on the 32nd floor. Other amenities include the Tram Spa, a gym, an infinity pool, and a 3D gold simulator. The hotel offers a grand ballroom and VIP meeting room for meetings and events. A business center is also available.

Melbourne’s newest co-living lifestyle hotel, Lyf Collingwood Melbourne, has been listed for sale by developer Urban. The 105-room Australian hotel opened in 2022 and forms part of a mixed-use development that includes boutique office spaces and two restaurants. Thirty-five apartments that are incorporated will not be included in the sale. CBRE Hotels and ICR manage the sale via an Expression of Interest Campaign that closes October 5, 2023. The hotel will be offered for sale encumbered by a lease to The Ascott Limited under their co-living brand Lyf.

Alan Woinski
September 11th, 2023 at 7:14 AM EDT

Companies: Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts, Best Western Hotels & Resorts, Club Med, DoubleTree by Hilton, Four Points by Sheraton, H World International, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, lyf, Marriott International, Radisson Blu, Radisson Hotel Group, SeleQtions, The Ascott Limited, The Indian Hotels Company Ltd, Vivanta, W Hotels

Locations: China, Indonesia, Macau, Madhya Pradesh, Melbourne, Nha Trang, Pune, Seoul, South Korea, Surabaya

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