Travel Weekly's Asia-Pacific E-letter: April 5, 2007

STARWOOD HOTELS & RESORTS will open what it says will be the first luxury hotel in the capital of Tibet in January 2010. The 169-room St. Regis Resort, Lhasa, will be located in the scenic Barkhor area, a Tibetan neighborhood east of Lhasa with a view of the Potala Palace, a 10-minute drive away. The hotel will include a presidential suite, 50 villa-style suites as well as 9,000 square feet of meetings space, three restaurants and a health club and spa. The hotel will be developed by state-owned Lhasa Yungao International Hotel Co. and managed by Starwood. The St. Regis Resort, Lhasa, will be the first international-branded hotel to open in Tibet since Holiday Inn pulled out in 1997. 

IN CHOOSING TIBET, Starwood said it aims to capitalize on the potential for growth in travel to the region following the opening last summer of a high-altitude railway linking the Chinese capital of Beijing to Lhasa. Starwood said the Qinghai-Tibet Railway has led to a surge in international travel to Tibet, with tourist arrivals to Lhasa growing at a rate of more than 15% since the railway was completed. This year, Tibet expects to host more than 3 million domestic and international tourists, a 28% increase over last year.

IN OTHER STARWOOD NEWS, the company said it will open its third W Hotel property in China, the W Guangzhou, in 2010. The 320-room hotel will be part of a luxury mixed-use development that will include shops, entertainment venues, restaurants and 167 upscale residences. In typical W fashion, the hotel will feature three restaurants, a health club and Bliss Spa, a W Store, signature W beds, and 16,000 square feet of meetings space. The W Guangzhou will be the third W property in China following the W Hong Kong and the W Shanghai.

WYNDHAM HOTELS AND RESORTS, meanwhile, also has its sights set on China. The company will launch the Wyndham brand name in China in the fourth quarter of this year when it opens a 550-room hotel now under construction in Xiamen, Fujian Province. The Wyndham Xiamen will be the first property in China fully managed by Wyndham, whose parent, Wyndham Worldwide, has 84 franchised properties in China under its Ramada, Days Inn, Howard Johnson and Super 8 brands.

TRAVEL IMPRESSIONS said it is offering 15% commission on all Tahiti bookings made by June 30. Travel Impressions released the 2007 Tahiti & Her Islands brochure featuring packages at 19 hotels in Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora, Taha'a and Huahine. Travel Impressions launched its programs to Tahiti last year and said it has received "impressive feedback" from agents and consumers. In connection with the packages, the operator has partnered with Air Tahiti Nui for nonstop flights from Los Angeles and New York. Call (800) 284-0044 or visit www.travelimpressions.com.

Asia-Pacific Editor: Jorge Sidron

Phone: (973) 898-0011

[email protected]

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