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Singapore and Thailand Lead the Hotel Recovery in APAC

Alan Woinski
October 2nd, 2023 at 8:34 AM EDT

Skift Take

  • Global hotel businesses are rebounding to pre-pandemic levels except in Asia-Pacific. Vietnam lags in recovery with reduced Chinese tourism and increased flight costs, despite aggressive hotel development since 2016.
  • Macau’s August hotel occupancy averaged 88.7%, with significant visitor growth during the Golden Week, particularly from mainland China, showing signs of a robust recovery to near 2019 levels.
  • Wyndham Hotels unveils its first Auckland hotel, Espire Hospitality launches the ZANA Forest Resort in India, and Ascott Limited partners with Vimut Hospital in Thailand to offer combined lodging and healthcare benefits.

Savills reported hotel business activities in most countries worldwide are gradually returning to pre-pandemic levels, but not the Asia-Pacific region. Savills said Singapore is leading the recovery process in Southeast Asia, led by growth in ADR. Thailand is also experiencing a good level of recovery. Savills said business activities in the Vietnamese market still lag behind pre-pandemic levels in both room occupancy and average room rates. Given how Vietnam has had problems living up to expectations over the past decade, is this really a surprise? Savills said the factors affecting the Vietnamese resort market can be divided into three groups: short-term, medium-term, and long-term. The absence of Chinese tourists is hurting them in the short term, and the rising costs of long-haul flights are impacting the European tourist market. In the first eight months of 2023, the Asian tourist market was also lower than pre-pandemic levels by 32%. South Korea is the largest international tourist market to Vietnam, but the total number of tourists is still lower than in 2019. Chinese visitation to Vietnam is at 28% of the same period in 2019. Over the years, we have discussed Vietnam’s government’s odd push to get more hotels and integrated resorts even as the visitation and results did not seem to justify it. Savills said since 2016, an average of about 15,000 rooms in the mid-to-high-end segment have entered the accommodation market each year. The room supply has doubled in just six years. In the first eight months of this year, Vietnam’s average room occupancy was only 40%. Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia have all surpassed the 50% market, and Singapore approached a 75% occupancy rate. In individual markets in Vietnam, Phu Quoc has an average occupancy of only 30%, while the markets of Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi have average occupancy rates exceeding 60%.

Macau’s August average occupancy rate was 88.7%, down from 89% in July. Five-star hotels had an occupancy rate of 91%, down from 92.1% in July. Two-star properties saw their occupancies fall month to month, from 93.1% to 89.5% in August. The total number of guests staying at hotels increased from 1.27 million in the month of July to 1.31 million in August. Macau visitation was up 17% from July to 3,221,691, with same-day visitors accounting for more than 51% of the total.

Macau’s Golden Week arrivals totaled 246,815 in the first two days, with Saturday setting a post-pandemic high for daily visitation at 158,726. While the two-day total was up 394% over the same period in 2022, that is not very difficult to do. The real sign of the strength is a comparison to Golden Week in 2019 and 2023’s first two days only were down -4.2% from 2019. Of the total, 166,839 were from mainland China.

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts announced the unveiling of La Quinta by Wyndham Ellerslie Auckland, the brand’s first hotel in Auckland, New Zealand. It joins La Quinta by Wyndham Remarkables Park Queenstownas the second La Quinta by Wyndham hotel in the South East Asia and the Pacific Rim region. This is the 12th hotel that New Zealand’s Safari Group has developed and launched with Wyndham and the fifth Wyndham property that Safari Hotels will manage. Expanding on the partnership with Safari Group, the third La Quinta by Wyndham property in the Southeast Asia Pacific Region is in the works and will be based in Parnell, Auckland, slated for opening in mid-2024. La Quinta by Wyndham Ellerslie Auckland is a 246-room hotel that includes conference facilities, a gym and more, nestled in the quiet suburb of Greenlane.

Chinese-based developers are offloading a planned 46-story build-to-rent project at Melbourne’s SouthbankRun All International lodged amendments to an existing permit for a large-scale residential development, which is approved would allow 455 apartments atop a 346-key, high-end hotel. The developer intends to retain the hotel component while forward selling the built-to-rent part of the project. Melbourne-based brokers Franklin St. are handling the transaction. They believe the deal would allow investors to lock in a premium apartment pipeline without needing funding until the first quarter of 2027, when the development is expected to be completed. Franklin St. said the owners were looking to hold ownership of the hotel but are in the final negotiations for who would manage the Australian hotel.

The Gulfland Motel & Caravan Park in North-West Queensland, Australia, is to be offered for sale via an Expressions of Interest campaign. CBRE has been appointed to manage the sale of the Freehold Going Concern interest in the property on behalf of the Receivers and Managers appointed, BRI Ferrier. The property is located in Normanton, which serves as the business center and access points for Queensland’s Gulf Country. Included in the sale of the circa 1.56ha freehold landing are 28 self-contained accommodation rooms, a caravan park with 55 sites, a four-bedroom manager’s residence, and guest facilities, which include the licensed Gulflander Bar & Grill Restaurant, the Big Barra tourist attraction and a swimming pool. The campaign closes on November 7th.

Espire Hospitality Group launched its new resort, ZANA Forest Resort, Ranthambore, located close to the Ranthambore National Park and Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan, India. This is the group’s second resort under their new ZANA – Luxury Escapes brand that launched in September last year. Located a three hours’ drive from Delhi NCR, the new ZANA has 20 cottages and rooms. The resort is spread across six acres, and offers tennis and badminton courts, football, billiards and karaoke experiences and an all-day multi-cuisine diner and an outdoor swimming pool. Espire said there will be two more openings of ZANA resorts coming up in Kasauli and Rishikesh this year besides Jim Corbett in 1Q of 2024. Besides ZANA, Espire is the owning company of luxury resort Six Senses Fort Barwara and owns and operates the mid-market resort chain Country Inn Hotels and Resorts. The group is planning to open 20 hotels and resorts in the next two to three years. They currently have 10 hotels in the portfolio and will reach 13 by the end of the year with a total of 980 keys.

Juniper Hotels, co-owned by Saraf Hotels and Two Seas Holdings (a Hyatt Hotels Corporation affiliate), has filed for an INR 1,800 crore IPO. The plan is to raise the capital to expand Hyatt-branded properties. Juniper holds a 20% stake in 1,836 Hyatt-affiliated hotel rooms in India. The company manages seven hotels and serviced apartments in cities including Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Raipur and Hampi. In early September, Hyatt Hotels India said they intend to increase its total number of hotels to 50 from 43 before the end of the year.

Ascott Limited announced a new strategic partnership with Vimut Hospital in Thailand. The tertiary healthcare institution will give Ascott guests access to Vimut Hospital’s healthcare services, including an array of hospital offerings, comprehensive check-up packages, personalized medical consultations, convenient telemedicine, and home services. Vimut Hospital patients will enjoy the benefits of Ascott’s commitment to guest satisfaction. Their stays will be enriched with exclusive discounts on accommodations, specially curated packages, and a plethora of additional amenities designed to enhance their overall experience during their time at Ascott properties.

Alan Woinski
October 2nd, 2023 at 8:34 AM EDT

Companies: Espire Hospitality Group, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, La Quinta, The Ascott Limited, Zana

Locations: Auckland, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, Melbourne, Queensland, Rajasthan, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam

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