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Asia-Pacific

Chinese Outbound Travel Expected to Surge to Visa-Free Destinations

Alan Woinski
January 22nd, 2024 at 7:29 AM EST

Skift Take

China’s outbound travel bookings for the upcoming Chinese New Year holidays have surged more than 10 times compared to the previous year.

STR reported China hotel data for the week ended January 13th. Hotel RevPAR in China was up 17.7%, a solid result given it was up against a 31.5% gain in the year ago week.

Trip.com Group said that as of mid-January, China’s outbound travel bookings for the upcoming Chinese New Year holidays have surged more than 10 times compared to the previous year. They found Thailand, Japan and South Korea are emerging as the top travel destinations for Chinese travelers. Trip.com said destinations with visa-free arrangements or plans for relaxed visa policies, such as Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia are among the top choices for Chinese tourists during the upcoming Chinese New Year.

The Kingdom of Cambodia welcomed 547,798 Chinese visitors in 2023. While they trumpeted the massive year over year increase, the comparison to 2019 is more important to us and that was still terrible at about a quarter of the nearly 2.4 million who visited pre-pandemic. The total number of visitors to Cambodia last year totaled 5.45 million. Thailand and Vietnam were ahead of China as source markets, contributing 1.82 million and 1.02 million visitors respectively. Back in 2019, Chinese visitation accounted for 35.7% of all arrivals. Cambodia’s tourism minister said he is looking forward to 2024 and Chinese visitation as he expects acceleration thanks to the recent joint launch of the 2024 People-to-People Exchange Year initiative last week.

Savills Vietnam issued a study showing in 2023, Vietnam received 12.6 million foreign travelers, which was a full 8 million more than they targeted. That was equal to 70% of the number of foreign travelers in 2019. South Koreans made up the most of those travelers last year at 3.6 million followed by the Chinese with 1.7 million and Taiwan with 851,000. Hanoi received 24 million travelers made up of 4 million foreign travelers and 20 million domestic ones. Savills said revenue from accommodation services in Hanoi reached VND10 trillion in 2023, close to the VND11 trillion generated in 2019. The 4Q occupancy rate was 64%, up 15 percentage points year on year. The average room rate was up 16% to VND2.9 million per room. There are 11,226 hotel rooms in Hanoi with 13 more hotels, with 2,746 rooms, expected to join the market in the next two years.

Crowne Plaza Changi Airport announced the completion of a S$22 million asset enhancement. Completed in January 2024, the asset enhancement initiative at the Singapore hotel includes the addition of 12 new guest rooms, comprising 10 Premier Rooms and two Suites. That brings the total to 575. Three of the new rooms are located on the same floor as the hotel’s tropical resort outdoor pool giving the guests in those rooms, direct pool access. Other results of the asset enhancement include Allora, an all-day dining destination, an additional function room with state of the art meeting facilities, a chic Club Lounge and a revitalized Fitness Center.

On January 30th, the new InterContinental Auckland Hotel will open. The 139 room hotel is perched above the Commercial Bay dining and retail precinct. IHG Hotels & Resorts said the InterContinental Auckland will feature the Advieh restaurant under the guidance of renowned check Gareth Stewart, a rooftop bar set to open later in the year and a 24 hour fitness center.

IHG announced they plan to launch their Garner brand in Japan this year, the first deal outside of North America for its new midscale conversion brand. IHG said they signed a letter of intent with Axe Management Partners which will see Garner make its Japan debut in the second half of 2024 with three conversion hotels in Osaka, adding more than 500 rooms to IHG’s Japan estate. Prior to the rebranding, the three properties in Osaka will undergo refurbishment, including improvements to the guest arrival experience, common spaces, the lounge and café as well as a refresh of the guest rooms. All the hotels are close to bustling areas such as the Dotonbori district with easy access to Kansai Airport and Osaka International Airport. The three hotels are slated to open between June and December this year. IHG operates 47 hotels in Japan with a total of about 14,000 rooms. IHG plans to double the number of hotels in runs in the country in the next few years.

Nikko Style Niseko HANAZONO, the second hotel in Japan under the Nikko Style lifestyle-hotel brand of Okura Nikko Hotels, announced it has begun accepting reservations for next winter in advance of the hotel’s scheduled opening in December 2024. Nikko Style Niseko HANAZONO will be located at Niseko HANAZONO Resort, part of the larger Niseko United ski area at the foot of Mt. Annupuri. The hotel will have 234 guest rooms, including 12 studio suites, featuring large windows offering views including the Niseko Volcanic Group and Mt. Yotei. There will be nine types of rooms, including spacious rooms over 40 square meters for families and groups to enjoy together, rooms with kitchens and washer-dryers for longer stays and more. In addition, each room on the upper two floors will comes with a bathing area where guests can enjoy their own private hot-spring tub. All guests will have access to the hotel’s large indoor and outdoor hot-springs baths and saunas, and a fitness center. Guests in Studio Suites and upper-floor Superior Club and Deluxe rooms will also have access to the Nikko Club Lounge. There will be 136 square meters of conference room space, all day restaurant and café/bar and more.

Hokkaido, Japan’s hot new hotel is Nozo, described as cleverly combining contemporary Japanese design alongside traditional artisan elements. Nozo Hotel is located between the Yubari and Tokachidake mountain ranges in Furano. The hotel offers 78 rooms in a low-rise design. The hotel’s heart and soul was conceived as a social ‘living room’ featuring a copper still fireplace, copper bar that serves local beers as well as sake, wines and whiskies from local and international brewers and winemakers. The Sugi Spa offers hot water tubs for indoor and outdoor bathing.

Personnel Moves

Marriott International announced a series of internally elevated roles and new appointments that completes its Consumer Operations team in Asia Pacific, excluding China. John Toomey leads as Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, APEC. Jason Nuell was recently appointed as VP, Customer Experience and Food & Beverage Design Services, APEC, relocating from Marriott’s HQ where he was Global Senior VP of Premium Brands. Ramesh Daryanani has taken on the new role of VP, Global Sales, Loyalty Operations and Partnerships, APEC. Tessa Rahardjo was promoted to VP, Revenue Strategy, APEC and Mei Xue Ying was promoted to VP, Marketing, APEC. Khushnooma Kapadia was promoted to VP, Marketing, South Asia while Ashley Hansen moves from Sydney to Singapore, promoted to VP, Sales & Distribution, APEC. Monisha Dewan was promoted to VP, Sales & Distribution, South Asia; Wong Ching Yee was named VP, Communications, APEC; while Jason Zhang continues as VP, Asia Pacific Digital and Mark Shrives leads Marriott Digital Services as Senior Director, Client Services, APEC.

Alan Woinski
January 22nd, 2024 at 7:29 AM EST

Companies: Crowne Plaza, Garner, IHG Hotels & Resorts, InterContinental, Marriott International

Locations: Auckland, Cambodia, China, Hanoi, Hokkaido, Osaka, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam

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