Featured in this Asia Pacific Hospitality Newsletter - Week Ending 18 August 2006
Hilton Plans A Boost For Seychelles Tourism
Boutique Hotelier Expands Overseas
Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos To Join Hands In Tourism
Hong Kong's Li Family Checks Out Of Its Australian Carlton Hotel Portfolio
Tibet Moves To Cope With Tourism Boom
US-Based Vantage Creates Two Membership Hotel Ventures In China
Absolute Share Price Performance, as at 18 August 2006

Hilton Plans A Boost For Seychelles Tourism Return to Headlines

The Seychelles' hopes of luring more tourists has been given a boost by Hilton Hotels' plans to manage a refurbished US$53 million resort. The company is now searching for a second location on the Indian Ocean islands. The international chain will manage the five-star Northolme Hotel on behalf of Maldivian investors Crown and Champa, who bought and renovated the property late in 2005. The Seychelles wants to boost tourism revenues which accounted for 43 per cent of the country's foreign exchange last year by attracting visitors seeking top-end, luxury hotels.

Boutique Hotelier Expands Overseas Return to Headlines

Hotel operator Eight Hotels has acquired the management rights to the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Melbourne's St Kilda and flagged an overseas expansion. Eight Hotels owner Paul Fischmann said the recently refurbished 86-room hotel, which is owned by the Meydan family, would continue to operate under its existing name. Mr Fischmann said the group was negotiating the purchase of the management rights to a proposed hotel in London's Camden Town, which would be the group's first offshore play. Eight Hotels will open new hotels in Sydney and Canberra next year, with those hotels expected to be completed by June. The Canberra hotel will include 75 rooms and managed under the group's Diamant brand.

Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos To Join Hands In Tourism Return to Headlines

The Tourism Department of Ho Chi Minh City (HCM City), the Tourism Ministry of Cambodia and the Lao National Administration of Tourism have agreed to jointly organize International Travel Expo-Ho Chi Minh City 2007 (ITE-HCMC 2007), themed "Three countries, one destination", in HCM City, said the Deputy Director of the Ministry at the closing ceremony of ITE-HCMC 2006. Expo 2007 will focus on three main issues: making a common kiosk of the three countries; organizing a seminar to introduce Indochina adventure tourism programs by land, sea and air; and publicizing the cultural values of the three countries. The three sides will report plans to their governments to hold the Expo in October 2007. For three days, ITE-HCMC 2006 attracted about 10,000 visitors, with over 1,000 meetings and business promotions among 71 international tourism agencies and 140 companies.

Hong Kong's Li Family Checks Out Of Its Australian Carlton Hotel Portfolio Return to Headlines
It is understood the group will offer its hotels in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Parramatta for sale one line. The jewel in the crown of the portfolio is believed to be Brisbane's largest hotel, the 431-room Carlton Crest, which could potentially fetch up to US$76.6 million. The offering will follow the US$62 million sale of the group's five-star Carlton Hotel in Auckland to Abacus Property Group in June. Abacus and Thakral Holdings are believed to be among the groups approached by the vendor's representative, but neither would comment. The Li family has undertaken "multi-million-dollar" refurbishments of its Carlton Crest Hotels in Sydney and Melbourne in recent years. The four-star Carlton Crest Hotel Sydney has 251 rooms and is located at Ultimo, just south of Sydney's Central Business District.

Tibet Moves To Cope With Tourism Boom Return to Headlines
Tibet's third civilian airport, the Nyingchi Airport, located 2,949 metres above sea level in Nyingchi Prefecture, 400 kilometres from Lhasa opened in July 2006. The airport, said to cost US$97.5 million, was built to cope with the influx of tourists to Tibet. With its altitude, the airport is an ideal stop for incoming visitors to acclimatise before moving on to Lhasa - 3,650 metres above sea level. Running full passenger flights as of August 2006, Nyingchi Airport is expected to bring an extra 120,000 visitors a year to Tibet. Also to cater to growing tourist numbers, a representative from the Lhasa Railway Station announced it would launch a new luxury train between Xining, Qinghai Province, and Lhasa by 1 July 2007. The express train will operate along the newly opened Qinghai-Tibet Railway line, stopping at only six of the 45 stations en route. In July 2006, Tibet received 16,700 overseas tourists, 47% more than the same period in 2005.

US-Based Vantage Creates Two Membership Hotel Ventures In China Return to Headlines
Vantage Hospitality has set up two joint venture membership hotel chains in China -- Chinas Best Value Inn and The Lexington Collection. The membership model aims to be an affordable alternative to franchising. Hotel owners pay a flat, monthly fee based on their number of rooms and have short-term contracts and no royalties, Vantage said in a statement. Owners also choose how they present their properties rather than having to adhere to a model. "The timing couldn't be better to introduce these hotels in China given our unique membership model that allows owners to tailor their individual hotels to the needs of their guests," said Vantage CEO Roger Bloss. Vantage Hospitality, headquartered in Coral Springs, Florida, is the 12th largest hotel company in the world.

Absolute Share Price Performance, as at 18 August 2006
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