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Thailand Is Considering Casinos

Alan Woinski

March 28th, 2024

Skift Take

Thailand’s legislature is considering legalizing casino resorts, anticipating a potential increase of US$12 billion in tourism revenue.

STR reported China hotel data for the week ended March 23rd. China hotel RevPAR for the week was down -5.9% year over year. It was up against a very tough +159% comp in 2023. Occupancy was down -4% year over year for the week.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics said arrivals from India for the year ended January 2024 reached 402,200, which is above 2019 levels. This is the first time Tourism Australia has seen over 400,000 arrivals from India and solidified India’s position as the fifth-largest inbound market for Australian tourism in 2024. In 2019 India was the seventh largest inbound market. In January 2024, Australia welcomed 26,200 Indian visitors, up 6% over January 2019.

Thailand’s legislature was told that the country’s tourism revenue could rise by about US$12 billion if they legalized casino resorts. The study that was submitted to lawmakers suggested average tourist spending could surge by 52% to 65,050 baht per trip once the entertainment hubs are built, netting additional tourism earnings of as much as 448.8 billion baht. That would boost the country’s GDP by 1.16 percentage points. The panel of lawmakers headed by Deputy Finance Minister Julapun Amornvivat has recommended a number of safeguards to prevent Thais from getting addicted to betting. Odds are that the House of Representatives will push ahead with the bill to legalize casinos and other forms of gambling. The entertainment complexes will not just have casinos but also five-star hotels, restaurants and other tourist attractions, with the big ones expected to be true Integrated Resorts like in SingaporeMacau and Manila. The actual casino revenue tax is being proposed at 17%, very low compared to other Asian locations. The Philippines is about 25% and Macau is about 40%.

Radisson Hotel Group announced its “Guan Xin” (Welcome China) program which includes the expansion of its co-branded hotels as well as a new bespoke amenity program that Radisson said will create a home away from home for Chinese travelers. Following the initial launch in 2019, Radisson Hotel Group will be launching eight co-branded properties in 2024 in EMEA across select Radisson Blu and Radisson Collection hotels, aligned with the full return of Chinese outbound travel. The hotels will be in FranceBelgiumNorwaySweden and the Netherlands. At each of the co-branded hotels, Chinese guests will find a range of features and amenities specifically designed and curated from them with the amenities covering the entire guest experience, from Chinese menus and welcome cards to guests having the ability to pay with Chinese UnionPay cards. In addition to the hotel co-branding program, Radisson Hotel Group will be rolling out the “Guan Xin” amenity program to other Radisson Hotel Group properties in EMEA that wish to opt-in based on the hotel’s guest needs and expectations. Nearly 20 hotels across EMEA currently offer the standard “Guan Xin” program to Chinese guests.

Accor announced the signing of a new MGallery Hotel Collection address in ChengduChengdu Financial City – MGallery Collection will open in 2026 in the vibrant central business district of the city, with views overlooking the banks of the Jinjiang River. This will be the third hotel in the Chengdu area for the MGallery brand, joining Ocean Spring Resort Chengdu – MGallery and the soon-to-open Chengdu Expo Waterfall Hotel – MGallery later this year. Accor said they are set to open five MGallery hotels in Greater China in the coming months, doubling the brand’s portfolio in the country from currently five hotels in operation to 10 by the end of the year. The first two to open will be the new 100+ room Dunhua Mansion Taipei – MGallery in April and then the 172-room Chengdu Expo Waterfall Hotel – MGallery Collection in July.

IHG Hotels & Resorts announced that it had signed its first management contract with Samty K.K. to open voco Hiroshima in mid-2027. The 301-room, new-build hotel is part of the urban development next to Hiroshima Station. This will be IHG’s second voco hotel in Japan, following the property in Osaka that opened in 2022 and is the brand’s first foray into the Chugoku and Shikoku regions. The hotel is located on the former Saigoku Kaido, one of the most famous roads in the Edo period. The hotel will be designed to evoke a sense of local history and to create a space that is reminiscent of the Saigoku Kaido. IHG currently operates 47 hotels in Japan under seven brands. IHG launched the voco brand in 2018 and now has 62 hotels worldwide with another 74 scheduled to come online in the coming years.

Atami Izusan KARAKU, an ORIX Hotels & Resorts luxury ryokan resort operated by ORIX Hotel Management Corporation, has opened in Atami CityShizuoka Prefecture, Japan. The Japanese-style inn includes 57 guest rooms, all enveloped in sublime relaxation, providing ample luxury with an open-air hot spring bath within each room. There are two KARAKU Suites on the top floor, along with 10 KARAKU rooms, 44 Deluxe rooms and 1 Universal room. Two lounges, AWAI and TOKI, allow guests to spend time at their destination with a wide selection of beverages and snacks. The two restaurants in the ryokan include MUTSUKI and sushi restaurant AIJU. ORIX Hotels & Resorts is the management company of Atami Izusan.

In India, the Gujarat high court ordered the state government to take possession of Surat’s Agriculture Produce Market Committee’s five-star hotel constructed on the market yard’s land. It also ordered a public auction of the property and directed authorities to deposit the amount to state’s market bunds. The bench of the court further ordered action against erring officials and APMC members responsible for the construction of the luxury hotel which violated the aims and objectives of the market yard. This went back to 2014 when the petitioner accused Surat APMC of constructing a mall and five-star hotel on 20,000 square meters of land and shifting the market yard to another place.

Cygnett Hotels & Resorts is now looking to expand into the upscale and lifestyle space along with properties with higher room counts. Cygnett is a home-grown Indian hotel brand that has been primarily in the economy and budget space over the past 10 years. The company signed a lifestyle wellness brand with 80 keys in Chail in Himachal Pradesh, and a high-end resort property with over 100 keys near Lucknow in UP. Both properties are in the development phase. In Chail, Cygnett signed its integrated lifestyle and wellness brand, Ayurvyaas with the resort expected to be ready by the end of the next financial year. The UP property is an all-villa project spread across 100 acres on the banks of river Gomti. They are not abandoning their core business as Cygnett has a number of new openings in the pipeline for this year and next in the economy and budget segments with plans to open a new hotel every alternate month this year. They include an airport terminal hotel in Jaipur Rajasthan, expected to be operational in the next couple of months. Cygnett currently has 24 operational hotels with the expectation of 35 to 37 properties to be operational by the end of the next financial year.

Alan Woinski

March 28th, 2024

Companies: Radisson Hotel Group, Cygnett Hotels & Resorts, IHG Hotels & Resorts, MGallery Hotel Collection, Radisson Blu, Radisson Collection, Voco

Locations: Australia, Chengdu, China, Himachal Pradesh, Hiroshima, India, Singapore, Thailand

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