Travel Weekly's Asia-Pacific E-letter: May 3, 2007

HOTEL CONSTRUCTION in the Asia-Pacific region is moving at a "torrid pace," with 962 hotels representing almost 260,000 rooms in the pipeline at the end of the first quarter of 2007, according to a report by Lodging Econometrics, a Portsmouth, NH-based hotel consulting company. By the end of this year, 209 more hotels an additional 53,000 rooms will open in the region, followed by another 329 hotels with 84,500 rooms in 2008. About 53% of all rooms currently in the Asia-Pacific pipeline will open in 2008, the report said. According to the firm, development has been stimulated by a "deluge of capital" available for investment in all real estate sectors, easy access to debt at historically attractive lending terms, high occupancies with surging room rates and guest room shortages in many markets. Among the brands, InterContinental has the largest number of hotels in the pipeline, with 73, followed by Starwood with 60 and Marriott with 40. As for Asian brands, Hong Kong-based Shangri-La, with 32 properties, and Mumbai-based Taj Hotels, with 36 properties, lead their local counterparts in hotel development.

HOTEL DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA is driving the region's building boom, with 496 hotel projects in the pipeline, representing 66% of all rooms (170,417) under development in the area, according to Lodging Econometrics. Three cities lead the way in China: Shanghai, the country's main international gateway; Beijing, host city of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games; and Macau, which has 33 casino projects with 25,000 rooms in the pipeline. Much of the construction is attributed to China preparing for an influx of tourists for the Olympic Games in Beijing and other major regional sporting events that the country will host. India ranks second in hotel construction in the region, with 181 hotels with 31,319 rooms in the pipeline, with most of the development taking place in mid-market and economy properties located in suburban and office park developments. According to Lodging Econometrics, another 283 hotels are under development in the rest of Asia, with much of the construction taking place in Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

SINGAPORE-BASED BANYAN TREE HOLDINGS plans to launch a new luxury brand, Banyan Tree Residences, targeting luxury travelers and property investors. Under the concept, investors will be able to buy their own villas, townhouses or apartments that are part of existing Banyan Tree properties. Banyan Tree will manage the rentals for owners, who will have use of their property for 60 days out of the year. Banyan Tree Residences are planned for Banyan Tree properties in Phuket and Bangkok, Thailand; the Seychelles; Jijiang, China; and Bintan, Indonesia. For information about the new brand, visit www.banyantreeresidences.com.

TRAVEL IMPRESSIONS has extended its 15% commission offer on all Tahiti and Her Islands bookings through the end of 2007. Travel Impressions, which added the destination to its product line last year, serves Tahiti with nonstop service on Air Tahiti Nui from Los Angeles and New York (Kennedy). To book or for more information, call (800) 284-0044 or visit www.travelimpressions.com.

AIR NEW ZEALAND signed a code-share agreement with Air Pacific, enabling customers of both carriers to fly nonstop between Los Angeles and Fiji seven days a week. Air New Zealand will operate three weekly flights between the two destinations, while Air Pacific will operate as many as five flights a week.

Asia-Pacific Editor: Jorge Sidron

Phone: (973) 898-0011

[email protected]

For promotional opportunities in the E-letters, contact [email protected].

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