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Outbound Chinese Travel Preferences Shift to Singapore, Europe and South Korea

Alan Woinski

November 20th, 2023

Skift Take

  • Chinese tourists are showing decreased interest in Japan and Thailand, partly due to Japan’s Fukushima wastewater release and negative perceptions from movies about Thailand. Consequently, Singapore, Europe, South Korea, Malaysia, and Australia have become more popular destinations.
  • M Social opens its first hotel in Suzhou, China, and Indian Hotels Company plans to expand its Ginger brand across India. Other developments include the opening of the Ramada Encore by Wyndham in Amritsar, India, and new properties in Goa and Hong Kong under different brands.
  • Sun Siyam Pasikudah in Sri Lanka reopens after renovations, and Berjaya Land Bhd secures a loan for developing the Four Seasons Resort in Okinawa, Japan.

China Trading Desk’s most recent Travel Sentiment Survey said Japan and Thailand have lost significant appeal to Chinese considering their next vacations. China Trading Desk polls 10,000 Chinese quarterly about their overseas travel plans. It found that Japan fell from the most popular destination in the second quarter this year to the 8th most popular. Thailand began this year as Chinese tourists’ most popular destination but it fell to 6th place in the third quarter. China Trading Desk said Japan’s recent release of Fukushima’s treated radioactive wastewater into the ocean has affected how Chinese think of traveling there. They blamed the Chinese losing their enthusiasm for Thailand on two movies – No More Bets and Lost in the Stars. After the survey was completed at the end of September, the mall shooting in Bangkok that killed a Chinese tourist occurred. They believe that is accentuating Chinese fears of travel to Thailand. Singapore, Europe and South Korea have benefited from the change in Chinese tourist sentiment becoming the first, second and third most popular destinations in the third quarter with Malaysia and Australia rounding out the top five. The U.S. and Middle East are the two least popular.

The Japan National Tourism Organization said Japan saw a significant surge in visitors, surpassing pre-pandemic levels, a complete rebound in arrivals since the easing of border restrictions. Foreign visitors for both business and leisure reached 2.52 million in October, up from 2.18 million in September. In October, international flights recovered to 80% of pre-pandemic levels with high demand from Southeast Asia, North America, Europe and Australia. Travelers from Canada, Mexico and Germany hit record highs for any given month during this period. JNTO said in the first 10 months of 2023, approximately 20 million visitors arrived in Japan. The record high is 32 million in 2019.

M Social unveiled its first Chinese location in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province with a Brand Experience Day on November 7. Located near Jinji Lake, M Social Hotel Suzhou is close to several major business and shopping areas as well as the Suzhou International Expo Center and Suzhou Culture and Arts Centre. The hotel has three restaurants and bars and with this opening, the brand from Millennium Hotels and Resorts has five physical locations with the others in Singapore, Auckland, New York and Paris.

Indian Hotels Company announced plans to open 24 more hotels under its budget Ginger brand in the next two to two and a half years. That would bring the total Ginger hotels to 86 and help the Tata Group unit expand the brand to another 20 cities. The Financial Express said this would give them total keys of 8,500 for the Ginger brand in India. The Ginger brand operates primarily on a lease model. They lease the properties for 10 to 30 years. IHCL has yet to announce plans to expand the Ginger brand outside the country. IHCL opened its latest Ginger hotel this past Thursday in Mumbai. This fiscal year they have already opened five properties. IHCL intends to increase Ginger’s footprint from its current 40 cities to 60 by opening at least 10 hotels annually in both new and existing cities. The new hotel openings will be located in a variety of markets including Agra, Ahmedabad, Durgapur, Dehradun, Goa and Gangtok.

Jagson Resorts Private Limited announced the opening of the Ramada Encore by Wyndham in Amritsar, in India, in partnership with Wyndham Hotels & Resorts. Located near the Airport, the Ramada Encore by Wyndham Amritsar Airport Road has 80 rooms, a lobby lounge, all-day restaurant, bar, fitness center, rooftop swimming pool, meeting room and a banquet facility. The hotel is 5 km from Amritsar Airport and 6 km from Golden Temple. This is Jagson’s first Ramada Encore in Amritsar and second hotel in the economic capital of Punjab.

The Astor Goa has opened in the Candolim area of North Goa. We believe this is the property we earlier discussed with hotelier Vikram Puri acquiring an all-suite hotel in Goa from Sun Estates for about Rs 60 crore. Archer Hospitality said this is their second Astor property following the Astor Kolkata. The hotel’s suites start at 485 square feet and include Luxury Suites, Astor Suites and Studio Suites, each adorned with a tastefully designed living room, fully equipped kitchenette and signature Astor amenities.

Townplace West Kowloon, the flagship project of Townplace, a premium residential leasing brand under the Un Hung Kai Properties, announced the launch of its short-stay hotel service. This is an addition to the longer-term apartment lease, which provides those visiting Hong Kong with a turn-key service, flexible leasing options and an on-demand premium hotel service. The 843-unit project in Townplace West Kowloon has been launched in phases since this past October. There was an Early Bird deal of 105 units in July that was quickly snapped up. An additional offering of 180 units in September has also been fully leased. The project was launched under the innovative ‘Aparthotel’ concept that offers short and long term leasing model. This project is the largest premium rental development across Hong Kong tailored exclusively to premium young talents, offering leasing options of daily, weekly, monthly or yearly. The property has completed the upgrading of its hotel services model and will continue to provide premium young talents with a diverse range of rental services that offer peace of mind and a dynamic living experience.

Sun Siyam Pasikudah in Sri Lanka reopened on November 17. The property is a member of the boutique collection under Sun Siyam Resorts and underwent an extensive transformation and renovation before reopening its doors to the public. Originally launched in 2014 as Sun Aqua Pasikudah, the property underwent a rebranding in 2020, becoming part of the Sun Siyam Resorts collection adopting the name Sun Siyam Pasikudah. The five start boutique resort is located on the eastern coastline of Sri Lanka, a six-hour scenic boat ride from Colombo’s Bandaranaike Airport. The property has 34 spacious and contemporary, one to two bedroom, garden or beach pavilions, with or without pools.

Berjaya Land Bhd’s unit, Berjaya Construction Bhd, has secured a US$50 million construction loan from Export-Import Bank of Malaysia Bhd to develop the Four Seasons Resort & Private Residences Okinawa in Japan. The Four Seasons Okinawa will span over 12.90 hectares and will feature 127 resort rooms, 124 high end condominiums and 28 private villas. The main construction is expected to be completed in 40 months. A three month hotel pre-opening phase will follow completion. The grand opening is targeted for second quarter of 2027.

Personnel Move

Pride Hotels Group announced the appointment of Ms. Ishita Nigam as the new Corporate Marketing Manager. Nigam joins Pride Hotels after a significant stint at Holiday Inn Mumbai where she contributed in marketing and brand management.

Alan Woinski

November 20th, 2023

Companies: Archer Hospitality Group, Four Seasons, Ginger, M Social, Millennium Hotels and Resorts, Pride Group of Hotels, Ramada, Sun Siyam Resorts, The Indian Hotels Company Ltd, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts

Locations: Agra, Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bangkok, Goa, Japan, Kowloon, Mumbai, Okinawa, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Suzhou, Thailand

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