Hotel industry and travel news from around the Asia Pacific region: Indian Hotels Company appoints new MD and CEO, Waldorf Astoria set to return to Maldives, Perth's million dollar tourism campaign and more...
Indian Hotels Company Limited Appoints Puneet Chhatwal as MD and CEO
Indian Hotels Company Limited, which runs Taj Hotels Resorts Palaces Safaris, has appointed Puneet Chhatwal as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer. Puneet, the current CEO and board member of Frankfurt-headquartered Deutsche Hospitality, which owns the Steigenberger chain of hotels in Europe, will be replacing Rakesh Sarna when he steps down from his role on 30 September 2017. In his current role, Puneet has been overseeing the global expansion of the Steigenberger brand that expanded to countries like China and Egypt under his leadership.
Waldorf Astoria Set to Return to Maldives in 2019
Hilton’s luxury brand, Waldorf Astoria Hotels and Resorts, will be returning to the Maldives in 2019 with the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi Resort. Located on South Male Atoll, the resort will occupy three islands and will be reachable via a 20-minute speedboat ride from the capital’s Velana International Airport. The luxury resort will offer 138 beach and overwater villas, ranging from one- to three-bedroom villas, and a four-bedroom presidential suite. Each villa will have a private outdoor pool, a jacuzzi and a lounge deck area. The resort will feature a wide variety of F&B outlets and a 2,000-square-meter spa that will include a gym, an outdoor fitness center, aqua spinning classes and an overwater yoga platform. Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi Resort will represent Waldorf Astoria’s second foray into the Maldives, after their earlier resort underwent ownership changes and being currently run by Dubai-based JA Hotels and Resorts as JA Manafaru.
China’s Domestic Travel Market Sees Jump
Chinese are increasingly willing to spend on travel, especially trips around the country. According to a report by Ctrip, China’s biggest online travel agency, the number of China’s domestic trips surpassed 2.4 billion in the first six months of 2017, up 10 per cent YoY. Sichuan, Guizhou, Shandong, Hubei, Yunnan, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Hebei and Guangdong provinces were the most popular. Sichuan, Guizhou, Shandong and Hebei each embraced more than 300 million visitor arrivals in the first half of this year, while Guizhou, Yunnan, the Tibet Autonomous Region and Shanxi achieved the quickest growth in the number of visitors, at more than 25 per cent each. The Circum-Bohai Sea, the Pearl River Delta, the Yangtze Delta, Chongqing and Sichuan were the major source markets, due to their developed local economy and large population. It is expected that rising incomes and paid vacations will continue to fuel domestic travellers’ enthusiasm.
Cambodia to Welcome Another New Airline this Month
Lanmei Airlines, a Chinese low-cost airline venture in Cambodia, is expected to start operations on 15th September. Based in Phnom Penh, the airline was founded in 2016 and had applied for an operating license earlier this year. Lanmei Airlines’ inaugural service will be from Phnom Penh to Hanoi, flying four times a week. A Phnom Penh – Siem Reap – Ho Chi Minh City route is expected to launch on the same day flying thrice weekly. The airlines’ third route, Phnom Penh – Siem Reap – Macau service, will commence the day after, on 16th September, with three flights weekly. Before the launch of Cambodia Angkor Air in 2009, the country went for several years without an airline. Since then, many new players have entered the market, with JC International Airlines, another Chinese-backed airline, becoming Cambodia’s fifth air carrier earlier this year.
Perth Undertakes AU$2 Million Tourism Campaign to Increase Arrivals
In an effort to boost the city’s low occupancy rate, Perth has launched a new ‘tactical’ tourism campaign to convince potential travelers that it is no longer an expensive holiday destination with low quality accommodation. Previously, West Australia (WA) had a reputation that it was costly and difficult to reach, but the new tourism campaign aims to provide incentives to travel to the region. According to Perth Hotel Development Report 2017, occupancy rates in Perth decreased from 79.4 per cent in June 2016 to 75.6 per cent in June 2017. Additionally, a massive pipeline of 1,400 hotel rooms will add further downward pressure on Perth’s hotel sector. The new AU$2 million tourism campaign will target regions with the most potential for last minute travel, such as Singapore, Malaysia, China and Australia’s east coast. Funding will be utilized in the provision of travel packages incentivizing trips to Perth, through partnership with major online travel agencies, such as Expedia and Ctrip, as well as low-cost carriers in Southeast Asia.