By Mandeep Lambaand Dipti Mohan
The Indian hospitality sector should adopt a collaborative approach as it embarks on the long road to recovery. Hoteliers should collaborate & integrate their efforts to find innovative solutions to the challenges in the sector and share best practices & learnings with the entire fraternity to not only help rebuild traveler trust but also to help the sector thrive in the future.
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Australia-based private hospitality group, Iris Capital (“Iris”), has successfully acquired 17 freehold ibis hotels from AccorInvest in an AUD180 million deal. Out of these properties, four are branded as ibis hotels and the other 13 are ibis Budget hotels. With the acquisition, Iris became the largest hotel owners in Australia as their total hotel count increased to 45. The portfolio comprises of approximately 1,800 rooms, with twelve hotels in New South Wales, including the 200-key ibis Sydney Airport and the 156-key ibis Budget Sydney Olympic. Three of the hotels are in Victoria, including the largest property in the portfolio, the 230-key ibis Melbourne Hotel & Apartments near Queen Victoria market in the Melbourne Central Business District and two other hotels in Canberra and Brisbane. Iris’s Chief Executive Officer, Sam Arnaout, was pleased with the deal as it fits well with the current hospitality portfolio and is aligned with the diversification strategy. He also mentioned that the acquired hotels were well placed for repositioning and gave the group an immediate scale in Australia’s tightly held hotel market.
New Zealand’s largest private hotel investor, Pandey Hotel Corporation, part of the property development and investment corporation, CP Group (“CP”), acquired the 65-key, or 384-bed, Discovery Lodge for an undisclosed sum. This hostel is one of the only few freehold accommodation assets located in the heart of Queenstown. Situated on a 1,000 square metres of land, the 3,200-square-metre building is currently leased to a major budget accommodation provider and will be repositioned into a luxury five-star boutique hotel after the lease expires. It is expected to join the Fable Hotels and Resorts portfolio, a newly created luxury boutique hotel brand by CPG Hotels which is part of CP. This acquisition marks the first major accommodation sale in New Zealand for the year of 2020. The National Director of Hotels for Colliers International, Dean Humphries, added that there was still robust demand from investors seeking prime accommodation assets in New Zealand’s key tourism regions as investment yields in New Zealand remains attractive for medium- and long-term investors.
As part of the AUD465 million Victorian Tourism Recovery Package, the Victorian Government will hand out 120,000 vouchers worth AUD200 each from December 2020 to entice more people to visit regional Victoria. To be eligible for the voucher, Victorians must book and spend at least AUD400 on accommodation or tickets to attractions and tours. Keys features of the Tourism Package includes more than AUD149 million of the Tourism Recovery budget to build new tourist accommodation, improve major tourist trails, promote produce and enhance existing tourist infrastructure; AUD18.5 million upgrade of camping infrastructure in East Gippsland; AUD47.5 million for infrastructure along the Great Ocean Road; AUD150 million regional tourism investment fund and AUD106.5 million in industry support which comprises of AUD58 million marketing boost for Visit Victoria. These commitments are expected to bring more visitors to regional Victoria, which will improve the economy and generate more employment opportunities in Victoria.
The Asian Development Bank (“ADB”) has authorised a USD484 million loan for the construction of a new expressway, which connects Bago, the capital of the Bago region, and Kyaikto, a town located in Mon State. With the East-West Economic Corridor situated along Mon State, this new expressway would also improve accessibility between Myanmar and other countries of the Greater Mekong Subregion (“GMS”). The GMS consists of six countries, namely Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. Upon completion, the new expressway is expected to further promote trade, tourism and investment. The East-West Economic Corridor is one of the three economic corridors developed through the GMS program, along with the North-South Economic Corridor and the Southern Economic Corridor. The GMS program aims to narrow the developmental gap within the GMS area, improve regional competitiveness, and enhance connectivity for transnational trade.