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China Tries to Reverse Weak Hong Kong and Macau Tourism

Alan Woinski

April 29th, 2024

Skift Take

China introduces new measures to enhance travel flexibility and document processing for mainland citizens visiting Macau and Hong Kong, effective May 6.

The South China Morning Post said that hopes of the Labour Day Golden Week boosting Hong Kong is being dampened by shrinking spending power of visitor from the mainland and recent rainy weather. The article suggested restaurants could see a 30% drop in business despite the prediction of 800,000 mainland visitors. Experts are saying the high cost of going to Hong Kong plus the weak renminbi and the mainland’s weak economy is not the best setup for this holiday.

Macau officials, on the other hand, anticipate all Macau checkpoints could see an average of 680,000 border crossings daily during the May 1 to May 5 holiday. The Public Security Police are expecting the peak of the border crossings between May 2nd and 3rd, with over 700,000 people crossing the borders per day. The Macau Government Tourism Office is predicting 130,000 visitors per day on average. The Macau Tourism Industry Association expects Macau hotel occupancy rates to surpass 90% during the week with currently 80-90 percent of the hotels located on the Cotai Strip already booked.

Right after the Labour Day Golden Week, a new set of measures to boost visitation and extend the length of stay of mainland citizens to Macau and Hong Kong will go into effect. China’s National Immigration Administration said mainlanders who join HengqinMacau tour groups will be allowed, as of May 6, to make multiple trips between Hengqin and Macau within a seven day period. They also announced full online processing by which residents of 20 mainland China cities, including BeijingShanghaiShenzhen and Guangzhou, can renew travel documents such as passports and Hong Kong/Macau passes online, without having to physically visit a Public Security office. The NIA said they will review and issue new travel documents within seven working days. Also set to be introduced on May 6 is “intelligent expedited processing” for business visas. Business travelers who apply for business visas to Macau and Hong Kong can submit their applications at any public security bureau across the country. The NIA will also expand its visa policy for talent traveling to work in Macau from cities in the Greater Bay Area to include Beijing and Shanghai. Mainland residents can also apply for a visa for multiple visits to Macau within a 12 month period to attend exhibitions, seek medical treatment or engage in performing arts.

Hilton is accounting for one out of every five rooms in the global hospitality sector that are being developed. They are exceptionally bullish on the Indian market, and expects the same success. They had a record year in 2023 in signings and actually added more rooms to their portfolio on a global basis in the final quarter of 2023 than in any year in the history of the company. Hilton is aiming to have 75 trading and in pipeline hotels in India by 2027. They currently operate 26 hotels in India and there are 20 more in the pipeline. Their intent is to triple supply over the next few years.

Hilton announced the signing of an agreement with SC Asset Corporation PCL to introduce KROMO, Curio Collection by Hilton, marking the lifestyle brand’s debut in Thailand. The new build hotel is expected to open at the end of 2024, adding to the company’s current 13 properties across five brands that are operating. Hilton has nine more in the pipeline. KROMO, Curio Collection by Hilton, will be situated along Sukhumvit’s shopping belt, located close to retain destinations including Emporium, EmQuartier and EmSphere. The hotel will feature 306 curated rooms and suites, each fitted with a three fixture bathroom. Rooms start from 32 square meters. The hotel will feature three dining concepts including an all-day dining restaurant, creative social dining space and a bar. The hotel will also offer a fitness center as well as indoor and outdoor pools.

A new 355 room Hotel Indigo will be opening at Singapore Changi Airport’s Terminal 2 by 2028, including an infinity pool with runway views. This will be the third hotel to be located in the landslide (public) area at the southern end of the recently revamped Terminal 2 where the coach stand is currently located. Changi Airport Group announced they awarded the tender for the project which will be the first new hotel built at the airport since 2019. The new property will be the Hotel Indigo Changi Airport, a boutique upscale brand by the IHG Hotels GroupOUE Limited was awarded the tender by CAG for the lease and development of the hotel. The real estate group also owns the existing Crowne Plaza at Changi Terminal 3. The full opening of the Hotel Indigo is planned by 2028, a year later than the original expectations. It will be the second Hotel Indigo in Singapore. The airport hotel will have 255 rooms, connected to the airport via a linkway. The property will span a total of 163 meters in length and be seven stories high with rooftop dining. Other features include a rooftop day club, bar and an infinity pool, a concept similar to the TWA Hotel at New York’s JFK Terminal 5.

The Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria and Holiday Inn Manila Galleria, both in Ortiga, unveiled their room renovations, delivering a reimagined standard of comfort, style and convenience. Their suites and exclusive lounges in both hotels were fully renovated, described as being perfect for bleisure or business-leisure travelers at Crowne Plaza and ideal for leisure and family staycations at Holiday Inn. The Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria has 262 rooms including 63 suits. The entry-level rooms boast an expansive 40 square meters of living space, the largest accommodations in Ortigas. The Holiday Inn Manila Galleria’s transformative restoration touched every nook of the 285 rooms which include 36 exquisite suites. Noteworthy is the inclusion of higher room types such as the one-bedroom and two-bedroom suites and the only two-level penthouse in Ortigas. Guests at the suites at the Holiday Inn gain access to the newly opened Summit Lounge. Guests staying in suites at the Crowne Plaza can immerse themselves in the Club Lounge.

The SM Group continues to expand their presence in the PhilippinesSM Prime Holdings is opening four new malls, one in Metro Manila and three in the provincial areas in 2024. SM Development Corporation is planning to roll out 8,000 to 10,000 residential units this year in the northern part of the Philippines and across Visayas and MindanaoSM Hotels officially launched its first Lanson Place property at the Mall of Asia ComplexPasay City.

Andrew Taylor launched Cre8tive Hotels & Lifestyle at a launch event in SydneyAustralia. This marks a shift away from the former name Cre8tive Property. Taylor believes the market is underserved in terms of having a depth of distinctive and world-class standard lifestyle hotels. Taylor has a history of bringing new brands and concepts to the Australian hotel space. In 2018 he brought the W brand back to Australia, first via a hotel in Brisbane and then the W Melbourne. He has worked closely with brands like Standard, The HoxtonDreamRYSE and EAST Hotels to establish a presence down under.

Millennium and Copthorne Hotels New Zealand announced it entered a conditional agreement to buy two properties next to Laurie Hall Park from the Whangarei District Council. The purchase of the 3,160 square meter site for $2.24 million was still subject to due diligence. They believe a hotel of 90 to 110 rooms is the right size to take advantage of Northland’s increasing economic activity.

Alan Woinski

April 29th, 2024

Companies: Copthorne, Crowne Plaza, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn, Hotel Indigo, IHG Hotels & Resorts, Sm Group, W Hotels

Locations: Beijing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, India, Macau, Manila, Mindanao, New Zealand, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Singapore, Sukhumvit, Sydney

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