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Asia-Pacific

Trip.com Reports Surge in China Inbound Travel Searches

Alan Woinski
November 21st, 2023 at 7:40 AM EST

Skift Take

  • Today’s report highlights significant growth in global search results for inbound travel to China, with Trip.com noting a nearly 40% increase in 3Q23.
  • New properties and expansions are underway, including The Grand Mercure Lampung Hotel in Indonesia and the first Four Points by Sheraton in Kuala Lumpur.
  • The Imperial in New Delhi is undergoing a significant reinvention, including refurbishing historical furniture and revamping its food and beverage operations.

Note: Due to the Thanksgiving Holiday in the US, there will be no Daily Lodging Report – Asia Pacific on Thursday, November 23, 2023.

Trip.com said global search results for China inbound travel improved by nearly 40% in 3Q23 compared to the previous quarter. They expect the demand for travel to China to rise in the near future, credited to the efforts made by the government and industry to facilitate travel to the country. Since November 1, the government removed the requirement for inbound arrivals to fill out the Entry Health Declaration Card. Earlier this year the Chinese State Council announced several measures to boost tourism, including optimizing visa and custom clearance policies, increasing international flight capacity and routes to key destinations and improving inbound tourism products and information services for foreign visitors. Trip.com said the top 10 most popular cities for inbound travelers, excluding Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, were Shenzhen and Shanghai, followed by Guangzhou, Beijing, Zhuhai, Hangzhou, Foshan, Xiamen, Zhongshan and Chengdu. They also noted seven out of ten hotel bookings made by inbound tourists were for Shenzhen.

Macau’s Statistics and Census Service said October brought 2,757,308 visitors to Macau, up 19.8% from September. The number of same day visitors reached 1,451,703 while overnight visitors totaled 1,305,605. The first 10 months of 2023 resulted in 22,6845,476 visitors to Macau with overnight visitors reaching 11,542,405.

Singapore-based hospitality chain The Ascott Limited is targeting to have 31 properties in the Philippines by the year 2028, with an eye towards expanding its portfolio to include hotels and resorts. The Ascott Limited has predominantly been associated with residences but they are transforming into a lodging component. Ascott is a unit of CapitaLand Investment. The company is currently looking at Boracay, Puerto Princesa, Mactan and Siargao for its resort business as well as urban resorts or inland resorts. They signed on their first resort property, to launch by 2028. They currently have four projects with Cebu Landmasters and are hoping for more in the future. Ascott is currently evaluating what brands it will bring to the country but they see Harris Hotels as an important brand that will cater specifically to the country’s MICE market. Ascott may also bring its five star hotel brand Vertu and its luxury brand, the Crest Collection where they can either do a takeover of an existing building or heritage building and convert it into a luxury accommodation. Other brands that could be introduced include Fox and Preference. Ascott currently operates 14 properties in the country, mainly in Metro Manila under the Ascott, Citadines, Oakwood, Somerset, The Suites and Lyf brands as well as in Cebu and Iloilo under the Citadines brand.

Accor announced the opening of The Grand Mercure Lampung Hotel, residing in the tallest building in Sumatra, Indonesia, above the soon to be opened Grand Mall. The 198 meter tall property has been designed to reflect the essence of Lampung city and is their second property in Lampung. Grand Mercure Lampung features 344 contemporary rooms, ranging from Superior to Suite, as well as a Penthouse. The highlight is the Pool Suites, a rarity in Lampung. The exclusive sanctuary showcases a private outdoor swimming pool, luxurious bathtub, living room and more. The Penthouse has a primary bedroom featuring refined interiors and two more bedrooms with the suite providing access to a private indoor swimming pool, fitness facility and 360 degree view of the city. The hotel’s dining venues and lounges start on the fifth floor with the Flamboyant Restaurant and The Lobby Lounge. Sora Lounge is on the top floor. There are also event spaces and wellness amenities including fitness center and spa on the eighth floor.

The first Four Points by Sheraton in the heart of Kuala Lumpur has opened. The Four Points by Sheraton Kuala Lumpur, City Centre is the fourth for the brand in Malaysia and opens on the heels of the reopening of Renaissance Kuala Lumpur Hotel & Convention Centre this past October, forming Marriott Bonvoy’s first dual-branded property in Malaysia. The Four Points is owned by Ventura International Sdn. Bhd and includes 513 guest rooms, all designed with localized flair and uncompromised comfort. Levels three and four are for guests of all ages to unwind and recharge. One of the largest outdoor pools in Kuala Lumpur comes complete with water slides and a splash play area. There also is the Paradise Trails adventure zone, an indoor kids club, fitness center as well as the Mandara Spa. The hotel has two distinctive specialty restaurants in the Sichuan Kitchen and The Mesh, as well as an extended outlet of Grab N Go. The connection with the Renaissance includes a renovated convention center with 27 venues spanning 52,000 square feet of event space.

Taiwan’s Sinyi Group and IHG Hotels & Resorts are constructing a RM1 billion five star luxury resort in Melingsung, Papar in Malaysia. The 450 room InterContinental resort is expected to help with the increase in visitation and development in the area in Sabah which has targeted 2.2 million visitor arrivals in 2023 with 86% already achieved.

Apeejay Surendra Park Hotels has unveiled ambitious plans to double its number of rooms to 3,996 within the next five years. The expansion will be driven by an asset-light strategy that focuses on increasing the proportion of managed rooms to over half by fiscal year 2028. The move is part of a broader trend among hotel operators to grow their footprint through operation and management agreements rather than direct investment. Park Hotels is said to be India’s eighth largest hotel chain by asset ownership. They are preparing to launch an Initial Public Offering worth Rs 650 crore with the objective being to reduce debt.

The Imperial, located at the heart of New Delhi in India, is reinventing itself. The historical hotel has furniture that is 90 years old that will be refurbished. The hotel was launched in 1936 as the first hotel in New Delhi. Besides the furniture, the F&B operations have been completely revamped including each bar now having its own menu instead of all sharing the same. The Imperial boutique with bespoke gifting options will be launched for guests in 3-4 weeks.

Personnel Move

Hilton announced the appointment of Zubin Saxena as Senior Vice President and Country Head for India. Zubin joins Hilton from Radisson Hotel Group where he was for eight years, most recently as the Managing Director and Area Senior Vice President, South Asia. He will be beginning at Hilton In January, working out of the corporate office in Gurugram. Zubin will oversee Hilton’s 25 trading hotels in India and lead the company’s expansion in South Asia with 20 properties in the development pipeline. He is taking over the position from Navjit Ahluwalia, who is leaving Hilton after six years.

Alan Woinski
November 21st, 2023 at 7:40 AM EST

Companies: Accor, Citadines, Four Points by Sheraton, Grand Mercure Hotels and Resorts, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, IHG Hotels & Resorts, InterContinental, lyf, Marriott International, Oakwood, Renaissance Hotels, Sinyi Group, Somerset, The Ascott Limited, The Crest Collection, The Park Hotels

Locations: Beijing, Boracay Island, Cebu, Chengdu, Delhi, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, India, Kuala Lumpur, Macau, Philippines, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Xiamen

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