Industry Update
Press Release17 December 2018

HVS Asia Pacific Hospitality Newsletter - Week Ending 14 December 2018

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YTL to Acquire Spanish Hotel Property for USD250 Million


Malaysia-based YTL Corp. ("YTL") has reached an agreement with Spain-based KKH Property Inventors ("KKH") to acquire SOL HTL Project ("SOL") for USD250 million. The price includes payment for loans that SOL owes KKH. Given an expanded partnership between Marriott and YTL Hotels, the property will be converted into a 200-room Marriott International Edition, set to open by 31 December 2020. The property is strategically located at Plaza de Celenque No. 2, part of which also houses the Fundación Obra Social y Monte de Piedad de Madrid. According to the stock exchange filing, the proposed acquisition is in line with the company's geographical diversification and business expansion, which will allow the company to better position itself in Madrid's growing luxury hotel segment. Subject to local regulatory approvals, the acquisition is expected to be completed by 30 June 2021.

Grab Invests USD100 million in OYO Hotels

Singapore-based ride-hailing company GrabTaxi Holdings Pte. Ltd. ("Grab") has announced a USD100 million investment in India's budget hotel chain company, OYO Hotels & Homes ("OYO"). With a common major investor Japan-based Softbank Group Corp. ("Softbank"), both companies are expected to benefit from the investment, as it enables OYO to scale faster in Southeast Asia with Grab's existing presence while benefitting Grab as guests of Oyo and Oyo's booking platform will utilize GrabPay. Currently, OYO is present in seven countries including India, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, UK, and the UAE. In Indonesia, OYO plans to expand its operations of over 30 exclusive hotels and 1,000 rooms in Jakarta, Surabaya and Palembang, to the top 35 cities, including Yogyakarta, Bandung and Bali over the next 15 months. Founded in 2013, the OYO aims to become the world's largest hotel chain by 2023, with further expansion in the Middle East, South East Asia and Europe.

Air New Zealand to Operate Seasonal Christchurch-Singapore Flights

Air New Zealand will offer a seasonal service between Singapore and Christchurch
that runs five times weekly from 1 December 2019 to 22 February 2020, following approval for a five-year extension of its joint venture alliance with Singapore Airlines until March 2024. The joint alliance will also offer three daily services between Auckland and Singapore as well as four times weekly service between Wellington and Singapore via Australia. According to the Air New Zealand chief strategy networks and alliances officer Nick Judd, new seasonal services are aimed to meet the fast-growing demand for travel to New Zealand in the South and Southeast Asia market. Prior to the new addition, Singapore Airlines operates the seasonal service three times per week as well as daily service between the two cities.

Vietnam to Receive a USD45 Million Loan to Develop Tourism in Secondary Towns

Asian Development Bank ("ADB")

has approved a USD45 million loan to help Vietnam develop its secondary towns into more economically inclusive, competitive tourism destinations. Under the Second Greater Mekong Subregion Tourism Infrastructure for Inclusive Growth Project, climate-resilient transport and urban infrastructure will be constructed in the Hoa Binh, Nghe An, Quang Binh, Quang Tri, and Thua Thien Hue provinces to boost tourist arrivals and tourism services investment. The project will upgrade about 31 kilometres of urban-rural roads and 13 passenger piers to provide visitors and residents with more convenient access to cultural and historic sites in all participating provinces. Other plans include developing urban green spaces and public beaches. The project is expected to benefit about 168,000 residents and more than eight million visitors annually. Using training, certification programmes, and policy incentives, the project will also help ensure that tourism management in project areas meets standards set by ASEAN.

TAT Opens New Office in Fukuoka, Japan

The Tourism Authority of Thailand ("TAT") has opened a new office on 30 November 2018, in Fukuoka Prefecture, the largest population on Kyushu Island, Japan. Located on the 11th floor of Hakataza Nishigin Building at Hakata-Riverain-East-Site, Shimokawabatabashi, the TAT Fukuoka office will tap into potential market from major cities in Southern Japan. These cities include Hiroshima, Yamaguchi, Ehime, Kochi, Fukuoka, Saga, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, Oita, Miyazaki, Kagoshima and Okinawa. As per the Letter of Intent signed on 8 February 2018 between TAT and the Kyushu Tourism Promotion Organisation (KTPO), the TAT Fukuoka office will help to promote tourism cooperation and increase the number of visitors between Thailand and Kyushu. The two-year agreement covers all seven provinces of Kyushu and includes initiatives such as travel exchange, public relations activities, information dissemination to promote Thailand's image, and cooperation with the Japan High School Golf Association to organise familiarisation trips for local tour operators. TAT is targeting 1.7 million Japanese visitors, generating an estimated 77.5 billion baht (265 billion yen) for 2019.

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