|According to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation
(UNWTO), China is expected to become the world's third most popular tourist
destination by 2008 from its current fourth place, behind France, Spain
and the United States. By 2020, China is expected to be both the world's
leading tourist destination and the world's biggest source of tourists with
an estimated 100 million Chinese travellers. Tourism traffic in Asia is
expected to increase over the next decade as Asian countries such as China
and India are becoming the main tourist destinations and source markets
of tourists. Long-term forecast by UNWTO shows that the annual growth rates
in Asian generating markets through 2020 will be 6.5% in comparison with
the world's average growth rate of 4.1% and Europe and Americas' growth
rates of 3.54% and 3.1% respectively.
|Dubai's Istithmar PJSC, the investment arm of government-owned
Dubai World, Singapore's City Developments' unit, City e-Solutions Limited
(CES) and Malaysia's budget hotel chain, Tune Hotels.com has entered into
a US$50 million to develop 30 budget hotels in Southeast Asia by 2010. This
move comes in the light of high tourism growth and budget travel demand
in the region. According to Asia Pacific Tourism, tourist arrivals are expected
to contribute US$110 billion in economic activity from 2007 to 2009 in Southeast
Asia. The joint venture is likely to last for four to six years, with the
possibility of the properties to be placed into City Developments' Hospitality
Real Estate Investment Trust thereafter.
|According to Vietnam's Ministry of Planning and
Investment, foreign direct investment (FDI) into Vietnam has risen by eight
percent year-on-year to more than US$5.2 billion in the first half of 2007.
With key provinces like Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Thua Thien-Hue and Binh Duong attracting
most of the investments, total FDI is expected to reach US$20 billion at
the end of 2007. Foreign investors have shown particular interest in the
nation's real estate industry, including hotel developments. Among these,
Malaysia's Gamuda Group is currently seeking approval to develop to a US$1
billion trade-apartment complex comprising hotels, conference centres, offices
and apartments. Japan's Rivier Group has also received approval for an investment
exceeding US$500 million to develop five-star hotels.
|Sarovar Hotels and Resorts, has drawn up a US$123
million expansion plan in India and is aiming at building approximately
24 hotels targeted at the lucrative market in the Gulf. The hotel management
group has tied up with investors to upgrade several existing hotels and
develop as many as 23 hotels, including two hotels in Chennai and one in
Chandigarh to be fully funded by the Group for an aggregate US$25 million.
The other US$98 million would be invested in the other proposed hotels spread
all over India and are expected to commence operations by 2010.
|Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc and
aloft Hotels have announced further plans of expansion into the Asia Pacific
region with a proposed aloft hotel in Bangkok, after the proposed aloft
Beijing and aloft Sydney. Expected to open in 2010, the 308-room aloft Bangkok
will be part of a 31-story mixed-use development and will offer more than
180 square metres of meeting space, a spa, a full service restaurant and
bar, a signature fitness centre and indoor swimming pool. The proposed hotel's
location on Sukhumvit Road will provide travellers easy access to the commercial
and entertainment districts of Bangkok.
|Kusido Hospitality and Property Group Pty Ltd,
which operate hotels under the Leisure Inn Hotels and Suites and Park Regis
brands, has announced the purchase of Management Letting Rights (MLRs) of
four hotel properties in Queensland for US$10.8 million from Oaks Hotels
and Resorts Ltd. The purchase of the MLRs and associated freehold areas
in the 107-room North Quay in Brisbane, aggregate 88-room City Quays and
Piermonde in Cairns and the 44-room Anchorage in Townsville, is in line
with Kusido Group's expansion objective in Australia, through the acquisition
of freehold interests of existing hotels, entering into management agreements
and leases of existing hotels and the development of new hotels. With this
acquisition, there are 12 Leisure Inn Hotels and negotiations are on going
to include more properties in Australia, China, India, Malaysia, Singapore
and Thailand to the Leisure Inn and Park Regis portfolio.