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Asia-Pacific

New Singapore Hotel Transforms Decommissioned Buses into Luxury Suites

Alan Woinski
November 7th, 2023 at 6:42 AM EST

Skift Take

  • The Philippines is close to reaching its annual goal of 4.8 million tourist arrivals, with nearly 4.1 million arrivals in the first 10 months of 2023. South Korea remains the top source of inbound tourists.
  • Hotel prices in Malaysia may increase by 30% due to a rise in the Sales and Services Tax, excluding food and beverages or telecommunications. Consumers are expected to pay higher room rates.
  • Sri Lanka anticipates its best tourism year in 2024, with exceeding arrival and revenue targets for this year. Plans to accommodate higher arrivals include expanding accommodation in Colombo and other areas.

The Philippines Department of Tourism said foreign arrivals to the Philippines reached nearly 4.1 million in the first 10 months of 2023, approaching the government’s full year goal of 4.8 million arrivals. Adding overseas Filipino arrivals, the country has recorded more almost 4.45 million arrivals so far. South Korea continues to be the top inbound tourist source, with nearly 1.2 million visitor arrivals recorded in the 10 months. This figure represents 26.3% of the country’s total arrivals. The U.S. was second, responsible for 16.7% of arrivals.

Christina Toh, President of the Malaysian Association of Hotels, indicated hoteliers in the country may raise the prices of rooms by 30%, owing to an increase in the Sales and Services Tax next year. The SST is expected to increase from 6% to 8% next year but it will not include food and beverages or telecommunications. Toh believes that regardless of how hotels respond, consumers will be paying higher room rates.

Sri Lanka’s Minister of Tourism, Harin Fernando, said they will have their best year recorded for tourism in 2024. The arrival and revenue targets have been exceeded and they expect to end this year with 1.6 million arrivals and over US$2.6 billion in revenue. Next year they are expecting 2.5 million arrivals and close to US$4 billion in tourism revenue. Fernando said to accommodate the higher number of arrivals over the upcoming years, they need to have more accommodation not only in Colombo but in the outstations as well.

October casino gaming revenue in Macau hit a pre-pandemic high, well above expectations, but the same cannot be said for hotel results. The integrated resorts on Cotai did a lot better than the non-gaming hotel properties with Cotai properties getting a big push from wholesale and online travel agents. The comments from the government has been that Macau needs more hotel rooms but judging by October, they have plenty now and may want to slow that push to get more development. Golden Week resulted in nearly 1 million visitors but the AG Brief story said hotel demand was only strong during the first days of the holiday. Three or four days had high occupancy but the second half dropped off as only about 40% of the visitors overall decided to stay overnight. The details will be released on November 20th.

IHG Hotels & Resorts is planning to develop two hotels in Chandigarh in India. Crowne Plaza Chandigarh Zirakpur and Holiday Inn & Suites Chandigarh Zirakpur are both expected to open in January 2027. The hotels are being developed by NK Sharma Hospitality with IHG signing management agreements for both hotels. The hotels will offer a combined 350 rooms for guests with the dual hotel set to have a profound impact on the MICE sector in the region by introducing 100,000 square feet of meeting space.

Ambuja Neotia, a corporate house based out of Kolkata, India that is engaged in real estate, healthcare, hospitality, and education, announced the acquisition of Gurugram-based Tree of Life Resorts & Hotels. Tree of Life is said to be one of India’s leading collections of boutique hotel experiences, now operating at 14 destinations across five states in India. It will add 200 keys to Ambuja Neotia’s existing 750 across its portfolio.

Park Hotels Ltd, an Apeejay Surrendra Group-owned company, is preparing for an IPO after a delay caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The company is aiming to raise US$140 million from the IPO with the proceeds used to retire their US$73 million in debt and partly to offset annual renovation costs. The hotel operator has an existing portfolio of 27 hotels with plans to add another 22. The company intends to take advantage of a demand-supply gap in India’s hotel industry and double its room capacity by 2028.

A new resort hotel with rooms made from old public buses has opened for bookings in Singapore, with stays to begin December 1. The Bus Collective features rooms made from 20 decommissioned Scania public buses previously operated by SBS Transit. The buses were upcycled and repurposed as luxury suites, now sitting on the 8,600 square meter property next to the Changi Village Hawker Centre. The rooms have different configurations including one with bunk beds. All of the rooms are 45 square meters. The project is the first foray into the hotel business by travel agency WTS Travel who partnered with the Ministry of Trade and Industry and Singapore Land Authority.

Diaoyutai MGM Hospitality Ltd., a joint venture between MGM Resorts International and China’s Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, has clarified 2024 as the opening year for two new hotels respectively located in the cities of Shenzhen and Zhuhai in mainland China’s Guangdong province. MGM Shenzhen will be a beachside property with 321 rooms. Diaoyutai Hotel Zhuhai in the latter city’s Phoenix Hill district, will offer 146 luxury guestrooms and villas.

Cebu, Philippines – based property developer AppleOne Properties Inc said they will bring JW Marriott Residences to Panglao Island, Bohol. Five months ago they announced the JW Marriott hotel brand for Panglao, Bohol. AppleOne said they signed an agreement with Marriott International to introduce the JW Marriott Residences brand to the island. This will be co-located with the JW Marriott Panglao Island Resort & Spa, slated to be the first luxury hotel on the island, built on a seven-hectare beachfront property. This is AppleOne’s third partnership deal with Marriott International.

Indochina Capital Group and Wealthcons Construction Investment Joint Stock Company held a groundbreaking ceremony for the Mandarin Oriental Bai Nom project, located in Xuan Canh commune, Song Cau town, Phu Yen province. The resort is being built on 29 hectares, about 50% of the entire project development land area of Indochina Kajima, adjacent to the traditional fishing village of Hoa An. The resort will provide 72 villas and hotel rooms, including 25 private and exclusive resort villas branded Residences at Mandarin Oriental, Bai Nom. The villas and hotel rooms will have private pools and landscaped gardens, located right on the beach or scattered across the hillsides. The resort development, which has been delayed, is now expected to be completed in the first half of 2026.

Alan Woinski
November 7th, 2023 at 6:42 AM EST

Companies: AppleOne Properties, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, IHG Hotels & Resorts, JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts, Mandarin Oriental, Marriott International, MGM Resorts, NK Sharma Hospitality, The Park Hotels, Tree of Life Resorts and Hotels

Locations: Cebu, Chandigarh, Colombo, Kolkata, Macau, Malaysia, Philippines, Shenzhen, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Vietnam

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