Outrigger Hospitality Group Acquires Three Thailand Resorts

Hawaii-based Outrigger Hospitality Group (“OHG”) has purchased the Manathai Hotels and Resorts brand, which comprises three resorts, Manathai Koh Samui, Manathai Khao Lak and Manathai Surin Phuket, in southern Thailand. The resorts will be refurbished and rebranded as Outrigger Koh Samui Beach Resort, Outrigger Khao Lak Beach Resort and Phuket Manathai by Outrigger, respectively. Slated to open by the end of the year, the three properties have a total of 372 keys. Located 70 minutes away by plane from Bangkok and 55 minutes from Phuket, the 148-key Outrigger Koh Samui Beach Resort includes 34 suites, a spa, three restaurants, a kids’ club, and event spaces. The second resort, the 158-key Outrigger Khao Lak Beach Resort is a 75-minute drive from Phuket International Airport. It consists of twelve suites and villas, two restaurants, and a kids’ club. The third resort, Phuket Manathai by Outrigger, sits on Phuket Island, 30-minutes south of the international airport. It consists of 66 rooms, with 37 suites and a spa. The investment is part of OHG’s strategic business plan to expand its presence in Asia Pacific and beyond.

Melco International and Agile Group to Build the Largest Mixed-use Development in Zhongshan, China

Hong Kong-based Melco International Development Ltd (“MID”) and China-based Agile Group Holding Ltd (“AGH”) jointly won a mega-site in Zhongshan, a city in Guangdong province which is part of the Guangzhou-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (“GBA”), and planned to build one of the largest mixed-use complex in the city. This RMB4 billion project covers an area of approximately 504,000 square metres, which will include residential complexes, office areas, hotels, serviced apartments, wellness centres, shopping malls, and a theme park. MID will be responsible for the construction and management of the theme park, while AGH will be responsible for the remaining non-theme park development. Majority of the complex will be completed by 2025. MIH is one of the six gaming license holders in Macau with gaming complexes across Macau, Manila and Cyprus. MIH believes the Zhongshan project will help them stay active in GBA with their extensive experience in the hospitality and entertainment sectors.

Taiwan Extends Special Visa Program for Six Countries

On 21 July 2021, the Taiwanese government has announced that the Special Visa Program for High-end Tour Groups would be extended until the end of 2022. First introduced in 2015, this visa program allows for simplified visa procedures for tour groups originating from Cambodia, India, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam. Tourist groups consisting of five or more travellers could apply for this electronic visa, without having to pay additional related fees. The visa program is part of Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy, which aims to establish closer ties with these nations and to further drive tourism demand within the country. This announcement follows Taiwan’s decision to extend visa-free treatment for tourists originating from Thailand, Brunei, the Philippines and Russia for another year. The government has stated that this decision was made in anticipation of the eventual resumption of international travel in the post-pandemic era. However, the country is expected to enforce its ongoing ban on entry of foreign visitors and reopen its borders based on the recommendations from the Central Epidemic Command Center.

The Pavilions Launches New Hotel Brand Explorar in Thailand

Hong Kong-based The Pavilions Hotels & Resorts (“The Pavilions”) has announced its new hotel brand, Explorar Hotel & Resorts (“Explorar”), with its first property slated to open on 1 October 2021, in Thailand. Explorar Pawapi Koh Mook will be a 24-key resort located on a stretch of private sandy beach on the peninsula of Koh Mook Island, in Southern Thailand’s secluded province of Trang. It will feature bungalows and villas located right on the beach, an open-air Thai restaurant, and a spa. The resort will provide panoramic views of the Andaman Sea and convenient access to the famous Emerald Cave for water activities. ‘Explorar’ is a Spanish word meaning ‘Explore’ and is inspired by the heritage of the 15th-century explorer, Christopher Colombus. Explorar will be targeting millennial travellers who seek a space to socialise and connect with local and authentic experiences. Hence, each Explorar hotel or resort will feature ‘The Exchange’, a social space where guests can socialise over food and drinks. Meanwhile, Explorar is looking to develop both urban and resort locations within Asia and Europe, offering four themes – beach, eco, cultural, and urban – to suit each property’s location and unique experiences.

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