Industry Update
Press Release13 July 2020

HVS Asia Pacific Hospitality Newsletter - Week Ending 10 July 2020

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Thai Family Acquires Vibe Hotel Melbourne in Melbourne, Australia


Thailand-based food importing business, Sino Pacific Trading Company Limited, owned by the Savetsomphob family, has acquired Vibe Hotel Melbourne from Australia-based developer, Caydon Property Group, for an undisclosed sum. However, the deal is speculated to be transacted at AUD108 million. Opened in May 2020, the 23-storey property features 206 guest rooms with views across the Yarra River, a restaurant and bar, conference facilities, a fitness centre and indoor swimming pool. Situated on a 737-square-metre freehold site on the corner of Flinders and Queen Streets, the property is operated by Australia-based Toga Far East Hotels ("TFE Hotels"). TFE Hotels' portfolio includes five hotel brands - Adina Hotels, Vibe Hotels, Travelodge Hotels, Rendezvous Hotels and TFE Hotels Collection. The hotel group has 73 hotels across Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Denmark and Hungary, with another 30 in its development pipeline. Earlier this year, the Savetsomphob family made its first Australian hotel investment, the 145-key Vibe Darling Harbour Sydney for AUD108 million.

Garuda Set to Launch Direct Flight to Bali from US, France and India

The Governor of Bali has announced the opening of the borders to international tourists as of 11 September 2020 on 6 July. Following the announcement, the Indonesian flag carrier, Garuda Indonesia ("Garuda"), plans to launch direct flights to Denpasar from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Paris, New Delhi and Mumbai. This is an attempt to boost international tourist arrivals to the country by introducing direct flights to the tourism hotspot, Bali. According to Statistics Indonesia, Bali's airport accounted for more than half of international tourist arrivals via air gates and 38% of overall international tourist arrivals in 2019. Garuda is currently in talks with the State-Owned Enterprises Ministry and the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry.

Seychelles to Resume Passenger Flights in August

On 23 June 2020, President Danny Faure announced that commercial passenger flights to Seychelles will resume on 1 August 2020. This will be subjected to two successful evaluations of the country's Covid-19 status, to be conducted on 14 and 21 July. The reopening of the borders will be based on three main pillars under a newly established National Framework: Public Health Protection, Community Resilience, and Safe Economic Response and Recovery. Seychelles will only allow entry of visitors from low and medium risks countries. Visitors will need to undertake a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test, not more than 72 hours before arrival to ensure that they are free of COVID-19, and make all bookings via travel agents, who will then issue official vouchers for government-approved accommodation. Visitors will not be required to be quarantined upon admission to the Seychelles, however, hotels will need to keep records of their guests' daily excursions to enable contact tracing. Wearing of face masks will not be required within hotel grounds but will be mandatory when using taxis or any form of public transport. Meanwhile, cruise ships will remain banned from entering Seychellois waters until the end of 2021.

TAT Announced a New Tourism Campaign as Thailand Reopens

The Tourism Authority of Thailand ("TAT") has launched a new tourism campaign, "Buy Now, Stay Later: Thailand", in response to the COVID-19 impact on the country. The campaign follows TAT's announcement on the multiphase reopening to international tourists which is expected to begin on 1 August 2020. As Thailand's restrictions for international tourists entering without exemptions have been extended until further notice, the promotion will be able to offer travellers a way to plan and save money on future trips through the purchase of hotel bonds that increase in value over time. Travellers will be able to access a list of partner properties and directly purchase bonds for USD100 increments. Hotel bonds purchased for USD100 today can be redeemed USD150 on following 60-plus day period. Example of hotel partners include Anantara Mai Khao Phuket Villas, The Slate Phuket, Santhiya Koh Phangan Resort & Spa, and Rocky's Boutique Resort Koh Samui, and others. The campaign is part of the "Buy Now, Stay Later" program developed by US-based Lion & Lamb Communications with more than 500 partner properties around the world.

India Unlock 2.0 Sees Some States Reopening for Tourists

The Indian government has removed interstate and intrastate movement restrictions from 1 July 2020 as part of the second phase of its calibrated exit from the lockdown. As a result, most States that rely heavily on the tourism sector have reopened or are planning to reopen their tourism sectors. For instance, Goa has reopened its borders to all domestic tourists from 2 July, with 250 hotels allowed to reopen, albeit with strict hygiene protocols in place. Maharashtra state government has also allowed hotels to open with 33% staff from 8 July. Some other states plan to reopen the tourism sector gradually. In the first phase of unlocking, the government had allowed hotels, restaurants, malls and other public areas to reopen in some parts of the country since 8 June.

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