By Mandeep S Lambaand Dipti Mohan
Countries across the globe are now planning to reopen inbound tourism. This article highlights some of the measures that governments are taking to attract foreign tourists to their respective countries.
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Singapore and Hong Kong have agreed to relaunch their travel bubble on 26 May 2021 on the back of stricter conditions. Travellers must remain in Singapore or Hong Kong in the last 14 days prior to departure, excluding any time spent in quarantine or stay-home notice. Hong Kong also requires its residents to be fully vaccinated before departure, with certain exceptions for children and those unsuitable for vaccination. According to the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, the travel bubble will be suspended if the seven-day moving average of unlinked community cases in either city rose to above five, and will only resume when the situation stabilises. There are no restrictions on the purpose of travel and no requirements for a controlled itinerary or sponsorship. Visitors must take pre-departure and on-arrival COVID-19 swab tests and travel on designated flights operated by Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific. Singapore's Ministry of Transport has mentioned that the travel bubble will begin with one flight per day, per direction, with a cap of 200 passengers. Flights will be increased to twice a day from 10 June. Both airlines have witnessed an overwhelming response after the announcement, with some of the flights already sold out.
Australia-based Iris Capital has recently signed various agreements with Ford Dynasty, subsidiary to Malaysia-based integrated resort operator, Lasseters International Holdings (“Lasseters”), to acquire its Australian assets and business for approximately AUD105 million. The deal comprises of the freehold land and buildings and improvements of Ford Dynasty, its casino hotel and convention centre business, Lasseters Health Club's business and business assets, and non-real property business assets. Ford Dynasty has also entered into a separate brand licence deal to grant an exclusive, royalty-free licence for the use of Lasseters brand in Australia and will retain ownership of the brand. Opened in 1981, the Group’s flagship property, Lasseters Hotel Casino is part of an entertainment complex situated in Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia. In December 2016, the property reopened as 205-key Crowne Plaza Alice Springs Lasseters under a franchise agreement with UK-based IHG Hotels & Resorts after AUD5-6 million refurbishment. The property now features a fully equipped commercial health club, a convention centre, an international standard casino with 320 electronic gaming machines and multiple restaurants and bars.
Thailand-based Collective Hospitality (“CH”), the owner and operator of Slumber Party Hostels (“SHG”), Path and Socialtel brands, has become the largest hostel company in South East Asia and the fourth largest globally, after its recent acquisition of Thailand-based Bodega Hostels. Established in 2012, SHG’s business model targets 18 to 35-year-old adventure travellers and strives to provide a ‘one-stop-travel’ experience that features design-lead hostel facilities, local tour operation and management, as well as catering for events held in their dining outlets. After the acquisition, the company portfolio expanded to 25 properties and more than 2,500 beds across Thailand, Cambodia, and Indonesia. Established in 2013, Bodega Hostels’ portfolio consists of nine properties in key tourist markets including two in Bangkok, two in Chiang Mai, and one each in Ao Nang, Koh Phangan, Mae Hong Son, Phuket, and Siem Reap. Edmund Lowman, founder of SHG and CEO of CH, mentioned that the acquisition was a strategic move to grow their market share, diversify their revenue stream and develop their brand presence. SHG itself has also acquired five new propertiesacross Thailand and Indonesia. Recently, they announced the opening of their flagship property, the 130-room hostel Sociatel, in Koh Samui.
Hong Kong-based Rosewood Hotels & Resorts (“Rosewood”) announced a management agreement with Japan-based real estate developer, Mitsubishi Estate Co., Ltd. (“Mitsubishi Estate”) to open the first Rosewood-branded hotel in Japan. Slated to be opened in 2024, the Rosewood Miyakojima would be located on the Mikayo Island in the Okinawan archipelago. Known for its exquisite beaches, the island is situated 20-minute drive away from Miyako Airport and 30-minute drive away from Shimokishima Airport. The property would feature four restaurants and bars, and 55 villas that include private pools, landscaped gardens, and unobstructed sea views. On-site recreation includes the Rosewood Explorer’s Club, which offers guests unique experiences attuned to the island, as well as Rosewood’s Asaya, an integrated wellness concept featuring treatment rooms, hydrotherapy facilities, and a myriad of programmes inspired by local healing traditions. Chief Executive Officer of Rosewood Hotel Group, Sonia Cheng, stated that the exquisite location is congruent with Rosewood’s signature “A Sense of Place” concept, and the property would accentuate the island’s spectacular setting and rich culture. Rosewood currently has a portfolio of ten properties in Asia, including Bangkok, Beijing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Phnom Penh, and Sanya; with several others in development in Chengdu, Hoi An, Ningbo, Philippines, Shanghai, and Shen Zhen.