By Mandeep S Lamba, Dipti Mohan and Akash Datta
Ease of doing business in India has improved significantly in past few years due to reforms by the Government. However, approval & licensing requirements in hospitality sector is still very complex compared to global peers. Reforms in this direction are necessary to induce fresh capital in sector.
The Surbung Airport in Falam Township is set to open in Chin State, Myanmar, in late May 2020. The construction commenced in 2015 and was originally planned to be completed in 2022. The MMK37 billion project will be the region’s first airport and will link Chin to seven other states in Myanmar. Upon completion, it is expected to boost tourism in the state which is home to the heart-shaped Rih Lake and Nat Ma Taung National Park. Located at the northern Chin of Falam, the airport will sit on the Surbung mountain range, featuring an 1,830-metre long and 30-metre wide runway to handle ATR-72 aircraft. Moving forward, the Chin State government also has plans to build smaller airports in Tiddim, Tonzang, Falam and Hakha townships. Currently, Myanmar has three international airports and 58 domestic ones, of which only 31 are currently in operation.
Vietnam-based low-cost airline, VietJet Air (“Vietjet”) will be launching seven new routes as it expands its international flight network. The new routes will include flights from Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang to Nagoya’s Chubu Centrair International Airport, and Hanoi to Fukuoka and Kagoshima. The new flights will increase Vietjet’s routes between Vietnam and Japan to ten. Vietjet’s press release states that the operation will commence in 2020. In addition, Vietjet will also commence its first two international services connecting Can Tho, the hub city of the Mekong Delta region, to Taipei in Taiwan and Seoul in South Korea. The Can Tho – Taipei route operates four return flights per week starting from 12 January 2020, and the Can Tho – Seoul route operates three return flights per week effective 16 January 2020. Vietjet currently operates seven domestic routes and two international routes from Can Tho International Airport. Overall, Vietjet presently serves 17 domestic destinations and 23 international destinations.
Thailand-based integrated lifestyle real-estate group, Asset World Corporate (“AWC”), has reached an agreement to a strategic partnership with UK-based InterContinental Hotels Group (“IHG”) to manage over 1,200 hotel rooms across Thailand. The first hotel under this agreement will be the conversion of the 371-key Imperial Mae Ping Hotel in Chiang Mai into a 306-key InterContinental Chiang Mai Mae Ping with an investment of THB3 billion. The hotel is slated to open in 2021 with full operations by 2022. AWC currently own 16 hotels with 4,869 rooms and has partnered with six international hotel chains to open 27 hotels with 8,506 rooms by 2024 under a five-year strategic plan. With IHG, AWC will further study other potential areas in Bangkok such as Charoen Krung, Chinatown, Bang Na, and the Chao Phraya River area.
Japan-based hotel operator, Hotel Management Japan Company Limited (“HMJ”), has announced the establishment of P.T. HMJ International Indonesia (“HMJII”) through a joint venture between its sister company, HMJ International Company Limited (“HMJI”), and Indonesia-based Topotels Hotels & Resorts (“Topotels”) on 6 January 2020. The new partnership seeks to provide opportunities for HMJ group to expand outside of Japan and pursue the group's goal of becoming an international hotel chain. The joint venture has a growing pipeline ofeight hotels with approximately 750 rooms in Indonesia. HMJI and HMJ currently operates 20 hotels throughout Japan with nearly 6,000 hotel rooms, and expects to open four new hotels in 2021. HMJ is also planning to open their latest brand hotel -Amoda, a 4-star hotel in Jakarta, in 2022. Topotels’ portfolio includes 19 hotels with approximately 3,600 rooms in Indonesia and Malaysia under hotel brands including Odua, Ayola, and Renotel.