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Asia-Pacific

China to Drop Visa Requirement for Select Countries

Alan Woinski
November 27th, 2023 at 8:17 AM EST

Skift Take

  • China launches a pilot project allowing visa-free travel for visitors from several countries, with Malaysia reciprocating for Chinese and Indian visitors.
  • IHG, Accor, SM Hotels, Hilton, and Artyzen Hospitality Group announce new properties and partnerships across Asia.
  • The former Palazzo Versace in Australia is up for sale with a $100 million price tag.

The People’s Republic of China launched a one-year pilot project allowing visitors from GermanyItaly, the NetherlandsSpain, and Malaysia to no longer need a tourist visa. This goes along with the introduction of new flights and increased outreach to Western media to praise cultural relations. Currently, 54 countries can now transit to China visa-free.

Malaysia’s Prime Minister announced that visitors from China and India will be granted 30-day visa-free entry from December 1st. The new visa policy follows the one from the Chinese Embassy granting Malaysian visitors to China 15-day visa-free entry for the next 12 months from December 1. Local media in Malaysia are reporting more countries will be added to the temporary visa-free list, with Thailand meetings currently taking place.

The first NH-branded hotel in ChinaNH Zhengzhou Jinshui, has opened. Minor Hotels and China’s Funyard Hotels & Resorts announced the opening of the property. It includes 140 rooms and suites and is located in the city’s Jinshui District. The opening marks the first entry into the Chinese market for NH Hotels. Amenities include an all-day dining restaurant, a lobby bar, meeting area, 24-hour fitness center, a self-service laundry room, and ample parking spaces. The hotel is located near the Zhengzhou International Convention and Exhibition CentreZhongyuan International Expo Centre, and the CBD. This hotel follows the opening of NH Hotels’ first property in Asia, the NH Boat Lagoon in Phuket, Thailand.

IHG Hotels & Resorts announced the addition of the Dinso Resort & Villas Koh Chang Vignette Collection to its portfolio. This is the third collaboration between IHG and Dinso Resort Co., Ltd. and follows the successful integration of Dinso Resort & Villas Phuket’s Vignette Collection into the IHG system just a year ago. The 166-room Dinso Resort & Villas Koh Chang is expected to open in 2024, joining the ranks of the Vignette Collection properties, alongside Dinso Resort & Villas Phuket and Sindhom Midtown Bangkok. The property was previously known as Emerald Resort Koh Chang, closing in February 2023 for extensive renovations. The beachfront property is on the Klong Prao Beach and includes five restaurants and bars, 750 square meters of meeting spaces, a swimming pool, spa, and a fitness center.

Accor has partnered with Century Properties Group to unveil a new hotel in the Philippines. The Novotel Suites Manila at Acqua is nestled in Metro Manila’s major business district, in an area bordering Makati on Coronado Street in Mandaluyong City. The hotel features 152 rooms and suites. The Standard Rooms measure 32 square meters, while the Suites range from the 45 square meter Deluxe Suites and 75 square meter Superior Suite to the 91 square meter Premium Suite.

SM Hotels and Conventions Corp will finally open the doors of Lanson Place Mall of Asia in the Philippines in the first quarter of 2024. The hotel and serviced residences are said to just be finishing up the final touches and details to ensure the property lives up to the Lanson Place brand. The property was originally slated to open in 2022 but the pandemic slowed the construction. It will be the first serviced apartments of SM Hotels and Conventions Corp. The property will have 389 units designed in a sleek, contemporary style and will be the flagship property of Lanson Place in the Philippines, located in the heart of the Mall of Asia complex. It will be surrounded by the flagship SMX Convention Center Manila, the eCom office buildings and retail and entertainment establishments. Facilities will include an all-day dining restaurant, fitness center, and a rooftop swimming pool offering a full view of the Manila Bay as well as an al fresco facility on the podium for intimate events. SM Hotels also disclosed they are investing P800 million in a Park Inn by Radisson Hotel in Laoag City. The 150-room hotel is not expected to open before the fourth quarter of 2028, located within a massive development of SM Prime Holdings Inc., which will host an SM City. The Park Inn is just one of 14 hotels to be built by the SM Group at a cost of P15 billion under SMHCC’s partnership with Radisson Hotel Group.

Hilton said they signed a management agreement with Urban Bluewings for the upcoming DoubleTree by Hilton Yeonsu hotel in Yeosu, South Korea. The hotel is set to open in 2026 and will offer dining options, event spaces, a rooftop pool, and a Korean bathhouse. Yeosu is the second largest city in South Jeolla. The 179-room DoubleTree by Hilton Yeosu will be Hilton’s second DoubleTree in South Korea. Rooms will include standard, suite, and a presidential suite. Diverse dining options will include an all-day restaurant, specialty restaurant, and a café and bar lounge. There will be more than 370 square meters of versatile event space and wellness-focused amenities including an executive lounge, fitness center, spa, rooftop outdoor pool, and a Korean bathhouse.

Two parties are said to be vying to buy the former Palazzo Versace, now called the Imperial Hotel Gold Coast. The GM told the Gold Coast Bulletin that two interested parties have been in talks with the owner of the Australian property with more than $100 million said to be the price tag. Potential buyers from DubaiGermany, and Gianarelli Group, owners of the neighboring Mariners Cove, are said to have been sighted there. Dion Gianarelli said they were just there for coffee meetings or lunch and did not know the hotel was for sale. The resort is currently owned by China’s Dong Run Group. They paid $68.5 million to buy the 200 room luxury hotel in 2012. It was stripped of the Versace name in July after the Italian fashion house declined to renew its branding contract. Estimates are that it could cost $58 million to renovate the hotel.

Artyzen Hospitality Group has expanded its portfolio outside of Greater China with the launch of Artyzen Singapore, its flagship hotel in the Southeast Asia region. The 142 room luxury hotel welcomed its first guests on November 24th. Artyzen is a subsidiary of Shun Tak Holdings and is celebrating its 10th anniversary. The hospitality group opened two flagship hotels within weeks of each other as last month they launched the 202 room Artyzen New Bund 31 ShanghaiArtyzen Singapore is a 25,471 square foot freehold site purchased by Shun Tak in 2016 for $145 million. The crown jewel of the new hotel is the 4,820 square foot Penthouse Suite, said to be the largest Presidential Suite in Singapore. Each of the 202 rooms comes with a private balcony and the common feature of the rooms and suites is the 4.1 meter high ceiling.

Marriott International’s Tribute Portfolio announced the grand opening of The Artiste Kochi: A Tribute Portfolio Hotel. The Kochi, India hotel includes 32 keys, situated adjacent to Forum Mall, 32 kilometers from the city center. The Prestige Group owns the hotel. Each of the 32 rooms offers a private balcony.

Indian Hotels Company announced the signing of a new Vivanta hotel in the heart of Kochi, Aluva. This is the launch of the Vivanta brand in Kochi but is IHCL’s seventh hotel in the city. The 95-room hotel is located at Aluva, a comfortable driving distance from the airport as well as leisure spots. The hotel will feature an all-day diner and bar, 4,500 square feet of banquet space, swimming pool, gym, and a spa. Hotel Pearl Dunes Pvt Ltd owns the hotel. With this hotel, IHCL will have 18 hotels across Kerala, including 5 under development.

Alan Woinski
November 27th, 2023 at 8:17 AM EST

Companies: Accor, Artyzen Hospitality Group, DoubleTree by Hilton, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, IHG Hotels & Resorts, Marriott International, Minor Hotels, NH Hotels, Novotel, Park Inn by Radisson, Radisson Hotel Group, SM Hotels and Conventions Corp, The Indian Hotels Company Ltd, Tribute Portfolio, Vignette Collection, Vivanta

Locations: China, Gold Coast, Kochi, Malaysia, Manila, Philippines, Phuket, Singapore, Thailand, Yeosu

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