Industry Update
Press Release23 November 2020

HVS Asia Pacific Hospitality Newsletter - Week Ending 20 November 2020

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Singapore Tourism Board and Trip.com Group Forge Three Year Global Partnership to Co-market Singapore; Trip.com Group Sets Up International Headquarters in Singapore

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On 17 November 2020, the Singapore Tourism Board ("STB") and Trip.com Group ("Trip.com") signed a three-year Memorandum of Understanding to enhance marketing, data analytics, product and industry development. With this partnership, STB will be able to leverage on Trip.com's large global user database to draw insights on traveller behavior while Trip.com will be able to tap on STB's relations with key industry stakeholders to access insights on key traveller segments and regional travel trends. STB and Trip.com will also be embarking on joint marketing campaigns targeting markets such as Mainland China, Hong Kong, South Korea and Thailand, to promote Singapore as the destination of choice for travellers. In addition, the partnership seeks to customise and promote a range of travel products, itineraries and experiences tailored to different types of travellers. Mr James Liang, the Co-founder and Chairman of Trip.com, is confident about the partnership as searches on Trip.com's application for flights and hotels relating to Singapore jumped 379% within hours after the official announcement on the easing of travel restrictions on Mainland China. With its International Headquarters ("IHQ") recently set up in Singapore, Trip.com's IHQ will be supported by the Singapore Economic Development Board to focus on marketing, sales, and Research and Development.

Odyssey Capital Group Launches Second Japan Hospitality Fund

On 17 November 2020, Hong Kong-based global alternative asset management firm, Odyssey Capital Group ("Odyssey"), announced a second Japan hospitality fund. Coined the Odyssey Japan Hospitality Fund II, this fund seeks to acquire undervalued Japanese hospitality assets from the mid-tier space, which are assets within the range of USD5 million to USD50 million. This allows for better valuations and yields on acquisitions, due to the reduced competition from various global private equity or real estate funds and large Japanese REITs. The fund aims to target primary asset types including existing boutique hotels in key cities, heritage and historical assets that could be developed into luxury boutique hotels, Ryokans and Machiyas that are situated within prime tourism locations in Japan. Odyssey's Head of Real Estate, Dan Vovil, mentioned that the fund was established after a series of investment made in the last 18 months, and is expected to generate "targeted investment returns of 8% yield and 15% net internal rate of return for existing investors". This fund was established in part of Odyssey's Japan Boutique Hospitality Investment Strategy, which aims to convert unique properties into high-yielding, income-producing luxury boutique hotels that entice affluent international and domestic travellers.

South Korea to Boost Investment and Tourism in Central Vietnam

On 8 November 2020, South Korean and Vietnamese officials inaugurated the Consulate General of Korea in Da Nang. This is the second Consular General that South Korea has opened in Vietnam, with the first being in Ho Chi Minh city. The new office seeks to boost tourism and investments between the two countries in the coming years. Mr Park Noh Wan, the South Korean Ambassador to Vietnam, mentioned that while the coronavirus pandemic has impeded Korean tourism towards Vietnam, he is confident that Da Nang would be a popular destination in the future. South Korea has consistently been one of the largest investors in Vietnam. In the first five months of 2020, direct and indirect foreign investments from Korea totalled up to USD13.89 billion. Numerous Korean companies have expanded their operations in Vietnam, such as LG's Research and Development centre in Da Nang Information Technology Park Tower, and Shilla Hotels and Resorts's USD50 million investment to construct the 309-key Shilla Monogram Da Nang.

New Axis Road to Boost Development in Southwestern Region of Vietnam

On 9 November 2020, Vietnam's Ministry of Transport announced plans for the construction of a new axis road, which connects Long An and Tien Giang Provinces to Ho Chi Minh City. The planned 55 kilometre-long route is estimated to cost VND2.2 trillion (USD95 million). Construction is expected to span between 2021 and 2025. Through the improved accessibility provided by the axis road, industrial and tourism developments could be constructed along the Vam Co Dong and Vam Co Tay rivers, while also increasing tourism traffic within the various Long An province. This project is part of the Ministry's Transport Strategy 2020, which seeks to construct, upgrade, and maintain Vietnam's road, rail, air, and sea transportation infrastructure. These strategies were developed with the primary aim of boosting economic developments and attracting investments towards Vietnam.

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