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International Review

June 2012

Hoteliers Expand in Saudi Arabia as Mecca Goes Upscale

The pilgrimage starts with a private jet to an exclusive airport in Saudi Arabia, w here passengers are treated to a buffet while travel-company employees process their immigration documents. The visitors are then taken in air- conditioned cars and buses to the InterContinental Hotel overlooking the Grand Mosque in Mecca.
“We try to make it a little more comfortable for our clients, that’s all,” said Abdulrahman Mohammad Al-Shaya, a sales executive for Kuwait-based Al Marwa. The company offers wealthy pilgrims a seven-day package for the Hajj, the Islamic pilgrimage every able-bodied Muslim is obliged to make, for about 5,500 Kuwaiti dinars ($19,800).
Rising wealth in Islamic countries from the Persian Gulf to Indonesia is boosting demand for a higher standard of accommodation as about 3 million pilgrims prepare to descend on Mecca for the annual Hajj in October. That’s contributing to a surge of hotel investment in Saudi Arabia by companies including
InterContinental Hotels Group Plc (IHG), Hyatt Hotels Corp. (H) and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. (HOT)
Hilton Worldwide Inc., owned by Blackstone Group LP(BX), plans to more than double the number of hotels it operates in the country to 14, including six in Mecca. It currently runs six in Saudi Arabia. U.K.-based InterContinental will increase its room numbers by about 50 percent to 7,300 in the next three to five years. Hyatt, w hose only Saudi hotel opened in 2009, expects to have eight more in five years.
Starwood Expands Starwood, the Stamford, Connecticut-based owner of the luxury St. Regis and W brands, has plans to manage five more hotels, adding about 1,300 rooms. It currently has 10 hotels with about 3,000 rooms.
The boom in Saudi Arabia will increase the number of branded hotel beds available by 58 percent in the next few years, research company STR Global estimates. While international companies can operate hotels in Saudi Arabia, they are not allowed to own property in the country.
There's more… Continue reading the complete article "Hoteliers Expand in Saudi Arabia as Mecca Goes Upscale" on the Bloomberg website.


China’s Total Travel Market Will Double Between 2008 and 2013

Travel bookings in China will surpass US$105 billion in 2013, of which more than $15 billion will be made online. The online travel market will grow by some 500% between 2008 and 2013.
Clouds of uncertainty may hang over the global economy, but China has been a shining light for travel. China's travel market has undergone explosive growth and will nearly double between 2008 and 2013. A new Asia Pacific and Global Edition report from PhoCusWright reveals that surging demand for travel
products, along with significant commitments to the online space by some of the country's largest e-commerce and Internet players are driving phenomenal growth in China's travel industry, while other markets around the world have yet to fully shake off the effects of the recession.
According to PhoCusWright's China Online Travel Overview Fifth Edition: The Giant Has Awoken, travel bookings in China will surpass US$105 billion in 2013,
of w hich more than $15 billion w ill be made online. The online travel market w ill grow by some 500% betw een 2008 and 2013, fueled by rapid adoption of the Internet for commerce and a range of high-profile investments and partnerships among the country's leading Internet and online travel firms. In 2011, Baidu (the country's dominant search engine) became the majority shareholder in Qunar, the leading travel metasearch and trip-planning site, while leading Internet services provider Tencent and e-commerce giant Alibaba among others have invested aggressively in online travel.
"Online travel is hardly new in China, yet with such strong growth for the total travel market and rapidly changing consumer behavior, online travel is experiencing the raw, meteoric growth we have typically seen only in nascent online markets," says Douglas Quinby, senior director, research at PhoCusWright. "Online travel is also unfolding with the distinct characteristics of China's unique Internet landscape. It is shaped not only by online travel agencies and supplier websites, but also by the major media portals, social networks, online shopping malls, online payment challenges and the need for offline support and fulfillment. Our report examines this enormous, but incredibly distinct opportunity for the global travel industry."
PhoCusWright's China Online Travel Overview Fifth Edition: The Giant Has Awoken is a comprehensive analysis of China's dynamic travel marketplace. Market sizing and projections are based on revenues from suppliers such as airlines, hotels, car rental and rail companies, while interview s with key industry
stakeholders provide insight into the key trends and challenges that characterize the market.
Report highlights include: Total market and online leisure/unmanaged business travel bookings for 2009-2013
Bookings by major travel product segment - air, hotel, rail and car rental - along with analysis of key segment drivers and dynamics Analysis of the explosive online travel market, including share by segment, online penetration and unique characteristics Comparison of supplier-branded websites and online travel agencies (OTAs), including key players, bookings and projected growth rates through 2013
Role of traditional travel agencies and the continued importance of offline fulfillment Examination of the OTA landscape - local versus global players, recent activity and comparison of business models and offerings Impact of government policy and market regulation, social media, mobile, flash sales and traveler review websites.
China's travel distribution landscape has evolved rapidly over the past five years, and continues to undergo considerable change. PhoCusWright's China Online Travel Overview Fifth Edition: The Giant Has Awoken (US$895) provides the information and insight needed to understand this dynamic and frequently misunderstood market.



Global Hotel Industry Outlook Survey 2012-2013: Industry Dynamics, Market Trends and Opportunities, Buyer Spend and Procurement Strategies in the Hotel Industry

Research and Markets (http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/5l87gm/global_hotel_indus) has announced the addition of the "Global Hotel Industry Outlook Survey 2012-2013: Industry Dynamics, Market Trends and Opportunities, Buyer Spend and Procurement Strategies in the Hotel Industry" report to their offering.
Global Hotel Industry Outlook Survey 2012-2013: Industry Dynamics, Market Trends and Opportunities, Buyer Spend and Procurement Strategies in the Hotel Industry is a new report by Timetric that analyzes how procurement expenditure, business strategies and practices are set to change in the hotel industry
during 2012-2013. This report gives you access to the category-level spending outlooks, budgets, supplier selection criteria, business challenges and investment opportunities of leading purchase decision makers. The report also identifies future growth of buyers and suppliers, M&A and e-procurement. This report not only grants access to the opinions and strategies of business decision makers and competitors, but also examines their actions surrounding business priorities. The report also provides access to information categorized by region, company type and size.
The report features the opinions of hotel industry respondents related to the following:
- Revenue grow th and future developments in business structure
- Merger and acquisition activity
- Capital expenditure and change in staff recruitment activity
- Key regions of grow th
- Key industry threats and opportunities
- Key supplier actions and e-procurement
- Annual procurement budgets and change in procurement expenditure
- Change in supplier selection and procurement objectives
Key Highlights
- China, India and Russia are estimated to be the fastest growing regions among developing countries for the hotel industry. Robust projected growth in demand, higher occupancy levels, increasing average room rates (ARRs), the increasing affordability of leisure travel and increasing tourism expenditure are
key drivers for the grow thin these regions.
- A total of 41% of respondents each expect their companies to increase procurement expenditure over the next 12 months, w ith only 20% looking to decrease it.
- Of all buyer respondents, 38% agree that improved customer services' is an effective w ay for suppliers to secure business from buyers.

Companies Mentioned
Intercontinental Hotels Group
Premier Inn
Starw ood Hotels & Resorts
Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group
Hilton Worldw ide
Travelodge Hotels Ltd
Holiday Inn Express Hotels
For more information visit


Reforms Open Myanmar Tourist Floodgates

The hotels are full or eye-wateringly expensive, creased dollar bills are worthless and credit cards are widely refused — welcome to Myanmar, Asia’s next big tourist destination.
The Southeast Asian nation, once shielded from international eyes by a brutal military junta and a travel boycott supported by democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, has become a must-see for many travellers.
“Because the country has been so isolated, the deeply Buddhist ‘Land of the Golden Pagoda’ resonates with a strong sense of place, undiluted by mass tourism and warmed by genuine hospitality,” the New York Times said in January, ranking the country third on its list of the top 45 destinations of 2012.
But the influx of tourists is posing a challenge to the burgeoning travel industry in a country where a string of political reforms has not been matched by infrastructure development.
The few hotels in Yangon offering international standards of business accommodation have begun to charge up to several hundred dollars a night for rooms that were half the price, if not less, a year ago.
Even hoteliers admit that the situation is unsustainable.
“To be really honest at this point I don’t think that Myanmar is ready yet to cope with the high demand of mass tourism,” said Thomas Moons, front office manager at the colonial-style Governor’s Residence hotel in Yangon.
“At the moment in terms of availability and accommodation that we’re able to offer, it’s just not enough to cope with demand,” he told AFP.
“People might think that if they come to Myanmar they will have a cheap holiday when it’s completely the opposite.”
While few doubt Myanmar’s attraction to tourists, some people returning to the country say they enjoyed it more before the hordes arrived.
Klaus, a 61-year-old German travelling with his wife in the remote western town of Sittwe, said they were “disappointed” by their third trip to Myanmar.
There's more… continue reading the full story "Reforms Open Myanmar Tourist Floodgates" on the Vancouver Sun website. 




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