HVS Asia Pacific Hospitality Newsletter – Week Ending 15 February 2019

UK-based hotel company InterContinental Hotels Group (“IHG”) has acquired the Thailand-based hotel company Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas (“Six Senses”) from US-based private equity fund Pegasus Capital Advisors (“Pegasus Capital Advisors”). The US$300 million cash acquisition includes all Six Senses’ brands and operating companies, without any real estate assets. This also includes the management of 16 hotels and resorts comprising a total of 1,347 rooms, 37 spas and two sister companies including Evason and Raison d’Etre. Currently, Six Senses has 18 management contracts signed into its development pipeline and a further 50 deals under active discussion. The Six Senses management will remain in place while IHG expects to accelerate the brand growth to more than 60 hotels globally over the next 10 years. Following the acquisition, Six Sense will become IHG’s top luxury brand and increase IHG’s global portfolio of open and pipeline luxury hotels to 400 hotels with a total of 108,000 rooms. Over the next 12 months, Six Senses plans to open new properties in Cambodia, Bhutan and Rajasthan with additional projects under development in Austria, Brazil, Mainland China, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan and Thailand.

Oyo Hotels to Expand in Southeast Asia

India-based hotel company Oyo Hotels and Homes (“Oyo”), that currently operates more than 13,000 franchised or leased hotels and over 3,000 homes worldwide, is planning to grow intensively within Southeast Asia following an US$800 million investment by Japan-based SoftBank Group (“Softbank”), Canada-based Lightspeed (“Lightspeed”), US-based Sequoia Capital (“Sequoia”) and US-based Greenoaks Capital (“Greenoaks Capital”) in September 2018. In China, its second largest market after India, Oyo counts 260,000 franchised and leased rooms and over 5,000 hotels under franchise in 280 cities. In Indonesia, the hotel company invested US$100 million to strengthen its presence and grew the number of franchised hotels to 150 with a total of 4,100 rooms in six cities. By the end of 2019, Oyo is planning to enter the Bali market. Oyo also aims to invest more than US$50 million in the Philippines, where it currently counts 21 franchised and leased hotels with more than 500 rooms, in order to reach 20,000 rooms across the country’s major markets. Since 2013, Oyo has expanded across 500 cities in China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, United Arab Emirates and United Kingdom.

Vietjet to Launch Phu Quoc-Hong Kong Route

Vietnam-based VietJet Air (“Vietjet”) will launch direct flights that connect Phu Quoc and Hong Kong from 19 April 2019. Following the opening of the Hanoi/Ho Chi Minh City/Da Nang – Hong Kong routes, it will be the fourth direct route between Vietnam and Hong Kong that operates four times per week with an estimated length of 2 hours and 45 minutes per leg. Phu Quoc, often known as the Pearl Island, has been attracting strong investments in hotels and resorts over the past few years. According to the General Statistics Office of Vietnam, the country welcomed 12.5 million air passengers in 2018, with year-on-year growth of 14.4%. The new route is expected to further strengthen trade, investment, tourism, and cultural exchange between the two regions. Founded in 2011, Vietjet operates a network of 40 domestic routes and 66 international routes, covering major destinations in North and Southeast Asia.

AirAsia X to Launch Bangkok-Brisbane Flights

Malaysia-based low-cost airline AirAsia (“AirAsia”) will launch a new route between Bangkok and Brisbane, commencing from 25 June 2019. Operated by AirAsia’s long-haul affiliate, Thai AirAsia X, the nine-hour non-stop service will fly four times per week, bringing an addition of approximately 25,000 arrivals per year. The connection between Bangkok and Brisbane is expected to strengthen trade, investment, tourism, and cultural ties between the two regions. As an aspiration destination for Australians, Thailand is perceived as one of Brisbane Airport’s largest underserved markets. Queensland, on the other hand, is targeting the wider Indian and Chinese markets via the budget airline’s Bangkok hub. According to AirAsia X CEO Nadda Buranasiri, the new service will not only increase traffic between Thailand and Queensland but also provide guests with a lost-cost option to explore Bangkok and over 130 destinations in AirAsia’s network. Prior to the new addition, AirAsia debuted in Australia in October 2007 and currently serves Gold Coast, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.

China’s Domestic Tourism Revenue Gains RMB513.9 Billion During Spring Festival Holiday

According to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, China received a total of 415 million travellers during the week-long Spring Festival holiday (from 4 to 10 February 2019), which recorded an increase of 7.6% compared with the preceding year. The growth was favoured by a rich variety of traditional cultural and tourism activities organized and held in different parts of the country, which attracted a large number of domestic and international travellers. During this period, China’s domestic tourism revenue went up by 8.2% year on year to reach 513.9 billion. In comparison, 386 million trips were made in China during the last Spring Festival holiday, contributing RMB475 billion to the domestic tourism revenue.

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