Saturday, October 20, 2012

Asia's tourism holding up amidst global economic downturn


SINGAPORE: Asia's tourism is holding up amidst the global economic downturn, with hotel occupancy rising in key markets like Tokyo, Jakarta and Beijing.

Experts said intra-regional travel will continue to support the hotel sector in the next two to five years, but growth will be at a slower pace of 3 to 7 per cent, down from around 10 per cent in 2011.

Demand for hotel rooms in Asia will continue on an uptrend as rising incomes allow more Asians to travel for leisure or business.

Analysts see Tokyo, Jakarta, Beijing and Bangkok at the receiving end, with occupancy and hotel rates expected to climb.

While growth will be slower in Hong Kong and Singapore, experts said the lack of supply will provide support.

Robert McIntosh, executive director, CBRE Hotels, Asia Pacific, said: "The reality is that next year, the increase in supply of rooms in Singapore is about seven per cent while in Hong Kong, it's about five per cent. So they are still struggling in terms of having enough rooms for the total demand that's coming through."

Singapore's luxury hotel segment, in particular, is having a record year, with occupancy hitting 82.75 per cent and revenue per available room at S$349 in the 12 months until August.

Mr McIntosh said: "There are more restrictions in additional supply and that's therefore going to force prices up for those types of properties."

The newly-opened W Singapore hotel is likely to benefit from this, given its prime location at Sentosa Cove and distinct niche.

Chuck Abbott, regional vice president, South East Asia, Starwood Hotels and Resorts, said: "Growth in all of our major destinations, both in the occupancy and average rates... we feel very good about the luxury market in South East Asia."

The hotel has 240 guest rooms and is adjacent to the W-branded residences.

With starting rates of S$388 plus per package, W Singapore Sentosa Cove is banking on corporate, MICE and leisure travellers to build its position as an urban resort.

Its developer expects prices for the residences to also go up in the next few years.


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