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International Review

July 2012

Malaysians are now going abroad and are planning to open a theme park in Europe's largest economy. Malaysian group Tanjong want to bring tropical islands to Germans.
MONDAY, 30 JULY 2012

In 2004, a former warehouse built to construct and maintain Zeppelins was converted into "Tropical Islands", a thematic holiday village with an artificial tropical white sand beach, a laguna, a rain forest and sauna facilities. Located in Berlin's South, some 100 km from the capital, the investment from Malaysian company Tanjong represented some Euro 200 million. Last financial year, Tropical Islands welcomed approximately 912,000 visitors from Germany but also from Poland, the Czech Republic and Scandinavia, generating a turnover of Euro 37 million and a cash-flow of Euro 2.5 million. More will soon be developed. Tanjong has ambitious plans to turn Tropical Islands into a mega-resort by adding four more villages. Total investment would then amount to Euro 500 million. According to an interview from Tropical Islands CEO Ole Bested to German Sunday newspaper "Welt am Sonntag", the resort is due to become the largest of its kind in Germany after enlargement. Plans foresee a western-style village, a medieval village, a tropical village and a 1950s-style village. The area would then be have a capacity of 12,000 beds able to receive up to three million overnights per year. A golf course is also planned while the former airfield for Zeppelins would also be reactivated. Green light for the further development of Tropical Islands could be given by the mid of next year.


MONDAY, 30 JULY 2012

The island resort of Phuket could emerge as one of the Asia/Pacific’s hotel investment hot spots in 2012, following record sales in the first half of the year, according to Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels. Investment in the hotel property sector in Phuket is expected to exceed 10 billion Thai baht ($315 million) for the full year for first time ever in 2012. 
“Phuket has seen record investment in the first half of 2012, and the market looks on track to enter a renewed period of growth as savvy international investors strategically secure landmark properties in Asia's premier resort destination,” said Mike Batchelor, managing director of investment sales at Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels.
Since the start of the year, Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels has advised on and managed the sale of three prominent properties in Phuket, including the acquisition of the:
• 368-room Movenpick Resort and Spa by Malaysian-based TA Global in April;
• 260-room Evason Phuket and Bon Island at Rawai by Singaporean-based Lum Chang in May; and
• 254-room Laguna Beach Resort by Hawaiian-based Outrigger Hotels and Resorts in July.


Kosmopolito Hotels International is entering the Singapore market with its first hotel, the Dorsett Regency Singapore, a mid-scale business hotel located at the corner of the prominent road junction of New Bridge Road and Cantonment Road.

 Just 20-25 minutes away from Changi Airport, Dorsett Regency Singapore sits on top of Outram Park MRT interchange station offering easy access to the city’s best commercial and tourist spots. All the 285 guestrooms and loft rooms are equipped with free wired and wireless high speed internet access, 42” LED TV, cable TV, cordless phone and IP phone with IDD access, iPhone/iPad docking app-enhanced dual alarm stereo clock radio, complimentary tea and coffee making facilities.

Hilton starts $27m revamp of RAK hotel resort
SUNDAY, 29 JULY 2012

Hilton Worldwide has announced it has started a AED100m ($27.2m) renovation of its Al Hamra Golf & Beach Resort. The US-headquartered operator said work has begun on the main building, starting with the guest rooms, restaurants and bars as well as the spa and fitness centre. After the renovation which is set to be completed in the first quarter of 2013, the hotel will offer 266 new-look rooms and villas.
Mohab Ghali, country manager Ras Al Khaimah, said: "We are excited to include Hilton Al Hamra Golf & Beach Resort to the growing portfolio of Hilton properties in RAK and as such, the hotel will maintain its unique identity but incorporate the style, standards and world-class service that guests around the world expect from Hilton Hotels & Resorts." He said the hotel will keep its Arabic fort-style villas but the extensive renovation will enhance and update facilities.
It will feature eight food and beverage outlets including an all-day dining restaurant and three specialty restaurants, in addition to a lobby lounge and three bars. Recreational facilities will include an executive lounge, private beach, water sports facilities, swimming pools, kids club, mini-golf facilities, tennis courts and a health club and spa.
Phase 2 of the renovation which will include the villa buildings will commence in the second quarter of 2013. Last year, Hilton signed a deal to take over operation of the government-owned Al Hamra Fort Hotel in Ras Al Khaimah. The northern emirate, whose GDP comprises 1.5 percent of the UAE’s economy, hopes to see tourism revenues account for 20 percent of its income by 2021, by positioning itself as a lower-cost destination to its glitzy neighbour, Dubai.


Starwood Hotels eyes Europe, China growth
SUNDAY, 27 JULY 2012

Asia accounts for 65% of the company’s pipeline, with China representing three-quarters of the pipeline.                        
Supply-demand imbalances in China will not affect the pace of new hotel openings in China.                                          Company-operated RevPAR in Europe was up 3.4% during the second quarter.
WHITE PLAINS, New York—Despite headlines detailing economic slowdowns in China and Europe, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide will continue to tackle growth and boost performance in the two regions, CEO Frits van Paasschen said Thursday during the company’s second-quarter earnings call. “Our smart, bold approach means we have discipline about growing in the right places, with the right partners for the long haul,” he said.
Asia accounts for 65% of the company’s pipeline, with China representing three-quarters of that. “Some would argue that … makes us vulnerable to the downturn in China,” he said.
However, Starwood executives believe China has ample room for growth and the country’s economy will catch up with the substantial amount of hotel supply being added. “China’s economy is over one-third the size of the U.S., but there are less than one-fourth of the high-end hotels to serve that market,” van Paasschen said.
“There’s much more risk in missing out on the growth than living through the fits and starts inevitable in an economy this large and growing this fast,” he added.
Starwood has 100 hotel projects in the pipeline in China, none of which have been put on hold amid reports of the economic slowdown. “(That) says a lot about local investor confidence in China and in our brands,” the CEO said. Although performance in Starwood’s hotels in eastern and central China are growing in the mid-single digits, hotel performance in the south is being hurt by the slowdown in exports, said Vasant M. Prabhu, vice chairman and CFO. “Selected cities like Tianjin, Guangzhou, Hainan, which have seen a lot of new capacity, have short-term supply-demand imbalances.”
The supply-demand imbalances will not be affecting the pace of new hotel openings, Prabhu said. “By the end of July, we expect to have opened 15 hotels, and the rest of our openings this year remain on track. Year-todate, we have signed 30 hotels versus 27 at the same time last year.” The company plans to support the supply growth with local sales teams in China that will build relationships with local customers. Van Paasschen said 60% of Starwood’s guests in China are Chinese nationals, which means it is crucial for the company to make its brands relevant to the local markets. “A local focus means providing slippers or tea instead of coffee, but it also means tweaking hotel design, creating Chinese language booking engines or extending (Starwood Preferred Guest) benefits for dining.”
Eurozone crisis
Meantime, the crisis in Europe is causing acute anxiety around the globe, Prabhu said. But Starwood’s business in the region is improving steadily, albeit slowly. Executives during the earnings call said company-operated revenue per available room was up 3.4% during the second quarter. “In fact, if you exclude Greece, which was down 20%, Europe was up 4.5% during the second quarter,” Prabhu said. That growth can be attributed to the fact that Starwood hotels are located primarily in global cities, for the most part serving global corporations and high-end leisure travelers, he said.
Approximately half of Starwood’s business in Europe comes from outside Europe. However, systemwide, same-store RevPAR was down 8% in Europe during the second quarter.
Looking ahead to the third quarter, company executives expect a boost in performance from the Olympics in London, normalizing group behavior and the strong U.S. dollar, which will help drive leisure travel to Europe.

CEBUNEXT- The 2011 Furniture Exhibition3
CEBUNEXT - The 2011 Furniture Exhibition