CapitaLand Ascott Trust to divest two Sydney hotels for A$109 million

Capitaland Ascott Trust (CLAS) is to divest two hotels in Sydney, Australia for A$109 million (S$95.6 million) to an unrelated third party according to the managers. Located outside Sydney’s city centre, Courtyard by Marriott Sydney-North Ryde and Novotel Sydney will be sold at 5 per cent above book value with an exit yield of 4.4 per cent on an expected net gain of A$14.2 million. Clas is expected to obtain around A$98 million in net proceeds from this transaction. A portion of the proceeds will be used to partially finance the stapled group’s acquisition at a higher yield of 6.2 percent of three prime lodging assets in London, Dublin and Jakarta. The focus on assets with better yield and uplifting of the portfolio value, requires upgrade of the existing properties. The divestment will allow the managers to fund asset enhancement initiatives and pay down debt.

Changi Airport's Terminal 2 fully reopens with lush greenery and digital waterfall display

Singapore's Changi Airport Terminal 2 has fully reopened to passengers after three and a half years of renovation, ahead of the initially scheduled completion date. This reopening aligns with the airport's passenger traffic rebounding to 90% of pre-COVID levels by September 2023, with expectations of a full recovery next year. The upgraded terminal, which added more than 21,000 square meters to the building, enhances Changi Airport's capacity to accommodate higher passenger volumes. Sixteen airlines will operate from Terminal 2, connecting 40 cities. This expansion contributes an additional five million passengers annually to Changi Airport's capacity, bringing the airport's total handling capacity across all four terminals to 90 million passengers annually. 

Firefly commences inaugural flight from Penang to Bangkok

Firefly, a subsidiary of the Malaysia Aviation Group (MAG), has commenced its maiden flight from its jet operations’ hub, Penang International Airport (PEN), to Don Mueang International Airport (DMK) in Bangkok. Located on the south of Penang Island, Penang International Airport is highly accessible to downtown George Town. Similarly, Don Mueang International Airport is strategically located near Bangkok’s City Centre. The strategic expansion highlights Firefly’s focus on strengthening its footprint across Southeast Asia. The direct route or point to point route between Don Mueang and Penang improves regional accessibility for travellers instead of changing planes. Overall this creates opportunities for international visitors, foreign direct investment and business travel in northern Malaysia. Utilising Boeing 737-800 aircraft, the route will operate 5 times a week. The better connectivity is expected to contribute significantly to tourism in Penang and Bangkok. 

Malaysian Government to study feasibility of building pan-Borneo railway, says Transport Minister

The Malaysian government will conduct a feasibility study in 2024 for a pan-Borneo railway system, says Anthony Loke. The feasibility study would ensure seamless development in East Malaysia, with there being strong calls for rail systems in Sarawak and Sabah. The study will investigate the economic factors and profitability and usage. The contributions to travel and cargo will be examined, while accounting for geographical constraints. With the Indonesian move of its capital to Borneo, the system must account and be designed for seamless integrated travel and connectivity across Sabah, Sarawak, Kalimantan and Brunei. Through utilising the new Indonesian capital to its advantage, the pan-Borneo railway system sees opportunities in travel and cargo through better connectivity.

Japan exceeds tourist spend target

Consumption by international tourists to Japan has exceeded 200,000 yen (US$1,336) per capita, a goal the country set for the year 2025 under its New Tourism Nation Promotion Basic Plan. According to a study by the Japan Tourism Agency, inbound visitors to Japan between July 1 and September 30 spent a total of 1.39 trillion yen (US$9.24 billion), 17.7 percent more than the same period in 2019. This equates to 211,000 yen per person, an increase from 159,000 yen per person in 2019. For consumption, the largest was generated by Chinese Visitors who accounted for 2.83 trillion yen or 20.3% more than 2019. This is after accounting for travel not having fully rebounded with tourist numbers being 36.4% of 2019 levels. The second largest was that of Taiwan at 2.05 trillion yen or 14.7% higher than 2019, the third being South Korea at 1.96 trillion or 14.1% higher than 2019. Overall, visitors spent more on accommodation at 34.2% from 29.9% of total expense, entertainment at 5.3% from 4.1%.

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