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China Announces New Visa-Free Entry Rules

Alan Woinski

March 7th, 2024

Skift Take

China introduces 15-day visa-free entry for citizens of six European countries, extending from March 14 to November 30, alongside existing visa agreements with other nations.

China announced new 15-day visa-free entry for citizens of six European countries. They include SwitzerlandIrelandHungaryAustriaBelgium, and Luxembourg. The time period for entry without a visa will be March 14th to November 30th. This follows announcements from China for visa-free entry from FranceGermanyItalyNetherlandsSpainSingaporeMalaysiaBrunei, and a mutual visa entry agreement with Thailand. That agreement allows for 30 days per entry with a cumulative stay of 90 days per half year, beginning March 1.

Macau officials said the number of MICE events rose by 138.8% compared to the previous year, reaching 1,139 events. Once again, we point out the comparisons of 2023 to 2022 is somewhat meaningless since 2022 was a dead year and it took months from ending Zero Covid at the start of 2023 for anything to really kick in. There were 1,058 meetings and conferences in 2023 with the number of attendees at 170,000. Exhibitions were 64 with 1,422,000 attendees. Comps starting in 2Q 2024 will become more of a true comparison of how things are really going.

The governor of Osaka Prefecture said the Japanese city is considering implementing a fixed fee for foreign visitors, potentially aligning it with a commencement of the World Expo in western Japan in April 2025. The proposed fee aims to finance measures addressing overtourism. Some say this is in anticipation of the throngs of people expected when the first integrated casino resort opens on Yumeshima. Right now that has been pushed back to 2030 but we wouldn’t book your flights. Approval from the internal affairs minister will be needed to implement such a system. Osaka is expecting 20 million visitors a year when the casino opens, which would be one-third of Japan’s 60 million annual foreign tourists goal by 2030.

Marriott International announced it signed an agreement with Victoria Park Hotels Ltd. to launch The Park Lane Hong Kong, Autograph Collection in early 2025. The hotel is expected to join Autograph Collection Hotels’ portfolio of over 300 independent properties. The Park Lane Hong Kong, Autograph Collection will be located on Gloucester Road in Causeway Bay, home to Victoria ParkHong Kong Island’s largest public park. The hotel will be a 10-minute walk to Lee Gardenand World Trade Center while the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centerwill be a five-minute drive from the hotel. The Park Lane will be part of a 28-story mixed-use development with retail outlets on the ground and first floors. It is expected to have 820 guest rooms, an executive lounge, three distinctive dining venues, and over 1,700 square meters of event spaces as well as recreational facilities. Marriott currently operates 13 hotels in Hong Kong under 10 brands.

HamiltonNew Zealand’s City Council has signed a conditional agreement to sell properties at 242-254 Victoria Street to Templeton Group, one of New Zealand’s largest and most prominent developers. Templeton will proceed with planning and design for the minimum 10-story, mixed-use building with plans for a world-class food and entertainment precinct on the ground level opening to the riverfront area, with a chic new hotel, office space, and residential apartments above, at a cost of $120 million. This will be Templeton’s first project in the Waikato region.

Thai-owned Amora Group, after acquiring the former Novotel Brisbane with an investment of A$30 million, completed its transformation and unveiled the Amora Brisbane. The five-star leisure and business hotel are the result of the remodeling with the CBD hotel joining Amora’s expanding portfolio of six owned and operated hotels and resorts under the Amora brand in Australia and ThailandAmora purchased the property from CDL Hospitality Trusts in 2020. The renovations follow the THB500 million refurbishment of Amora Beach Resort Phuket, completed in December 2023. Amora Group believes the changes to Amora Brisbane position the property to gain momentum from the MICE and events sector as Brisbane is known as an up and coming sports destination in Australia. The 296 key Amora Brisbane features 11 refurbished conference and events spaces spanning 1,148 square meters; an elevated outdoor pool and deck, fitness studio, and a sauna. F&B options include Dapl RestaurantThe Lobby Bar, and Two Donkey Café. Room choices include the Amora King and Amora Double rooms to Premier Rooms and Executive Suites. In Thailand, the Amora Beach Resort Phuket is a 264 key five-star resort that includes the Nora Beach ClubAmora Wellness Center, and new meeting venues such as the 360 sqm Amora Grand Ballroom, four meeting rooms comprising 700 sqm and the 1,100 sqm beachfront events lawn.

Araw Hospitality Group announced the opening of Nawa Wellness and UNWND Boutique Hotel Camiguin, both in the PhilippinesNawa Wellness is located in CalataganBatangas. The two properties mark the newest addition to Araw Hospitality Group’s portfolio of hotels and restaurants. Next up for Araw will be the opening of UNWND Boutique Hotel in Siargao Island.

Sarovar Hotels announced a partnership with Shriya Holdings to open a new hotel under the Sarovar Portico brand in HubliKarnataka. The 60-room property will be located on Gokul Road and is scheduled to open in 2026. The hotel will offer modern amenities and cater to both leisure and business travelers. This will be the ninth Sarovar-managed property in the state of Karnataka.

Indian Hotels Company Limited announced an investment of Rs 35 crore in Zarrenstar Hospitality Private Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary. Zarrenstar is currently developing a state-of-the-art hotel at Cochin International Airport, aiming to tap into the demand for premium accommodations in key travel hubs.

Sri Lanka’s Hilton Colombo is ready for private sector investment with the State Minister for Urban Development and Housing saying four businessmen already expressed interest. Meanwhile, progress on the Hyatt Hotel has reached the halfway mark with efforts underway to seek an investor for its completion as well. The Minister said there is also a proposal to attract investors for the development of both sides of D R Wijewardene Mawatha. The Minister highlighted growing interest from IndiaChina, and several Western nations in investing in the country.

Alan Woinski

March 7th, 2024

Companies: Amora Group, Autograph Collection, Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott International, Novotel, Sarovar Hotels and Resorts, Templeton Group, The Indian Hotels Company Ltd

Locations: China, Colombo, Hong Kong, Karnataka, Macau, New Zealand, Osaka, Philippines, Phuket

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