Asia Pacific Hospitality Enews - Week Ending May 26 - 2006

Weekly Hotel Industry News Roundup from Asia Pacific

HVS Las Vegas Sands Wins Bid For Marina Integrated Resort
The Singapore government announced on Friday that Las Vegas Sands Corp. will build and run its first Integrated Resort in Marina Bay, which is expected to cost more than US$3 billion. The US gaming operator's proposal for the integrated resort (IR) will significantly strengthen Singapore's convention business, more commonly known as meetings, incentive travel, conventions and exhibitions (MICE). The government earmarked a 20.6 hectare downtown waterfront site for the new landmark development, consisting of a casino, conference halls, performance venues and a luxury hotel. The group will have a 30-year concession to operate the casino in a multi-billion dollar complex, making it one of the most expensive in the world. The IR, the first of two planned in Singapore, could open as soon as 2009, and is an important part of the government's strategy to boost the tourism and services sector. Proposals for a second casino, planned on the resort island of Sentosa, must be submitted by October.

Accor Announces Third Ibis Hotel For Seoul
The Ibis Suwon Seoul will be developed in the commercial and industrial area of Suwon, close to the existing Samsung Research and Development Centre and many other major businesses. The 234-room property will be part of a mixed-use development including retail, banquet facilities and a food court. It will feature a contemporary design, LCD television screens, large working desks and 24-hour reception. The hotel is being developed out of an existing office building by MyungSun Inc, a private Korean company, which specialises in commercial and retail property development.

InterContinental To Grow Thai Portfolio
InterContinental Hotels Group Asia Pacific plans to manage four new hotels in Thailand by 2008, as well as introduce its brand 'Express by Holiday Inn'. Construction of the new properties has already started with the InterContinental Samui opening in 2007 and both the InterContinental Phi Phi and InterContinental Pattaya opening in 2008. The Crowne Plaza Sukhumvit, scheduled to open next year, will focus on business travellers and will contain 342 rooms of contemporary Thai design. The group's strategy is to add more hotels in Bangkok under the Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn brands and to develop InterContinental and Holiday Inn hotels in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Pattaya. InterContinental is reportedly getting ready to launch the Express by Holiday Inn, a limited-service brand already operating in Hong Kong, China and Japan. InterContinental currently manages a portfolio of five hotels in Bangkok and Phuket for a total of more than 1,900 rooms.

Beijing To Build Over 100 Star-rated Hotels For 2008 Olympic Games
Beijing city will build 110 star-rated hotels and keep lodging facilities in neighbouring Hebei province on a stand-by mode to cope with the demand for quality accommodation during the 2008 Olympic Games. "The planned 110 hotels will range from one star to five stars, with a majority of them targeting high-end guests," director of Beijing Tourism Bureau, Du Jiang said at a seminar on economy hotels. Although there is a great demand for economy hotels in Beijing, the trend is to develop high-end hotels, Du said. According to the official, there are 56 hotels, including eight four- and five-star properties, within a 100 kilometre radius of Beijing. By 2007, the number of star-rated hotels in Beijing is expected to reach 800, providing approximately 130,000 rooms, Beijing's Vice Mayor Zhang Mao said at the seminar. According to an estimate, about 250,000 foreign tourists, domestic tourists and Games viewers will make Beijing hotels accommodate 550,000 people per day during the 2008 Olympic Games.

Lippo Plans Hospital, Hotel REIT
Adding to the range of asset classes and overseas properties going into Singapore real estate investment trusts (REITS), Indonesia's Lippo Group is working on a trust that comprises Indonesian healthcare and hospitality assets, say industry sources. They say Lippo is working on a Reit to be listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange containing three hospitals and one hotel, estimated to be worth more than US$300 million. It is understood to have appointed Merrill Lynch as the lead manager for the initial public offering (IPO) and sources say the size of the IPO will be around US$100 million. Lippo is controlled by the Riady family and it is expected that the assets to be injected into the Singapore Reit will come from the Riady family's listed Indonesian real estate arm, Lippo Karawaci. Lippo Karawaci is active in the construction, marketing and the sale of residential homes within integrated lifestyle communities in Indonesia. Its healthcare business operates the Siloam Hospitals brand, which comprises four international standard hospitals across wider Jakarta and Surabaya.

Starwood Plans A Big Expansion
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide is set to sign another 50 management contracts in mainland China, bringing the total number in its network to 100 by 2008. Starwood Asia-Pacific president, Mr. Miguel Ko, told Shanghai Daily that the US-based company is hoping that revenue from China will contribute 50 per cent of the total from the Asia-Pacific region in the next three to five years - a significant increase from the current 20 per cent. Mr Ko said Starwood was planning to launch the Aloft brand in Asia-Pacific in Shenzhen, Shanghai, and Beijing. Starwood was the first global hotel management group to enter mainland China in 1985 and is currently operating 25 hotels in the country under four brands - Sheraton, Westin, Four Points, St. Regis and Le Meridien.

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