Thailand-based Minor Hotels, the hospitality arm of Minor International Public Company Limited (“Minor International”), has acquired the 108-key Gold Tower, which adjoins the 370-key Crowne Plaza Surfers Paradise Hotel, at an undisclosed price from a Singapore-based private investment group. The hotel owner and operator has acquired the management letting and caretaking rights and freehold of the management lot of the 22-storey property for more than AUD5 million. Located on the Gold Coast Highway, the hotel has since been rebranded under Minor International’s Oaks Hotels, Resorts & Suites brand, as the Oaks Gold Coast Hotel. The acquisition marks the group’s third property in its Gold Coast management portfolio which includes the 161-key Avani Broadbeach Gold Coast Residences and 135-key Oaks Calypso Plaza in Coolangatta. The Oaks Gold Coast Hotel was recently refurbished and features meeting rooms, a swimming pool and views of the new Jewel development, as well as the Gold Coast’s beaches and hinterland.
India and Maldives have signed five Memorandum of Understanding (“MoUs”) for establishing the Addu Tourism zone in five islands of Addu atoll at a cost of USD2.49 million. The five eco-tourism projects would be run in Hithadhoo, Feydhoo, Hulhudhoo, Meedhoo, and Hulhumeedhoo. Located at the southernmost point of South Asia, Addu comprises more than two dozen of Maldives’ 1,192 islands. It also accommodates about ten per cent of actual Maldives residents with unique culture and dialect. In a bid to fulfil the project, India is expanding its tourism and infrastructure development limits through offshore development works. It is expected that the Addu Tourism Zone will attract national and international tourists and diplomats that will boost India’s and Maldives’ tourism sector. Apart from five MoUs signed, a sixth MoU was inked to establish a water bottling plant in Hoarafushi at a cost of USD51,900.
The Queensland Government has announced the development of the largest ecotourism project to be built on the west of Gold Coast, in Queensland, Australia. The government had contributed AUD2.5 million to support the AUD10 million project to open the Scenic Rim Trail for a world class, long range six-day, five-night walking experience. As part of the project, the government has established partnership with Australia-based accommodation provider, Spicers Retreats, to build two new eco-camps at the Main Range National Park. Stretching more than 50 kilometres, the trail will run from Thornton Trailhead to Spicers Peak Nature Refuge, within and adjacent to the Main Range National Park and the Gondwana Rainforests of the Australia World Heritage Area. Other key infrastructure, to be supported through the government’s Growing Tourism Infrastructure Fund, includes the Amphitheatre Eco-camp and the Timber Getters Eco-camp within the Main Range National Park. The project is currently under construction and is scheduled to be completed in mid-2020.
Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (‘TCEB’) has announced the new campaign called “Fly, Meet, Shop”toincrease MICE visitors from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Vietnam (‘CLMV’). Due to the success of the previous campaigns launched in 2018 and 2019 with Thailand-based Bangkok Airways (“BA”), TCEB has extended the strategic partnership and include Thailand-based Central Department Store (‘CDS’) to this new campaign with added shopping privileges for MICE visitors from CLMV. The benefits include financial support, fast track immigration service at Suvarnabhumi airport, cultural performances, ten per cent discount on Bangkok Airways’ in-flight shopping, one free ticket of every 30 tickets purchased, pre-assign group seating, priority boarding, priority baggage tagging and ten kilograms extra baggage allowance. The requirement to enjoy these benefits is that each group must comprise at least 30 delegates, fly to Thailand on BA, stay for at least two nights, or hold an event at a venue recognized by the Thailand MICE Venue Standard or a registered hotel. CLMV recorded 44 groups in 2019 as compared to 19 groups in 2018. It is expected that CLMV will continue to grow at approximately six to seven per cent as Thailand has now developed 115 new MICE products, activities and attraction in five major MICE cities.
According to the data from ForwardKeys, a Spain-based leading provider for global travel intelligence, the outbreak of novel coronavirus pneumonia (NCP) in China has caused a significant decrease in flight bookings for the Chinese New Year (CNY) period from 10 January to 6 February 2020. As of 19 January 2020, outbound travel bookings from mainland China recorded a year-on-year (y-o-y) increase of 7.3% while a week later, up to 26 January, those for the CNY period were down by 6.8% y-o-y due to revevant control policies introduced by the Chinese and local governments. On the other hand, the coronavirus crisis has also severely affected China as a tourist destination. As of 19 January 2020, inbound travel bookings for the CNY period grew by 4.5% compared to the same period last year. A week later, a decrease of 7.2% y-o-y was observed. In view of the situation, it is expected that the outbreak will continue to have a profound impact on the tourism and travel industry both globally and domestically in the following several months.