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Thailand’s tourism recovery hinged on tapping into 227 million strong domestic marketplace

Over 1,000 travel industry participants at Thailand Tourism Forum 2020 – Special Bangkok Edition – virtual online conference

 

TTF 2020 Bangkok-based speakers

TTF 2020 Bangkok-based speakers (from left): QUO CEO, David Keen; Rosewood Bangkok Director of Sales and Marketing, Leanne Reddie; Centara Hotels & Resorts CEO Thirayuth Chirathivat; IC Partners CEO, Charles Blocker; Hotel Intel Editor-in-Chief Wimintra Raj; Delivering Asia Communications CEO, David Johnson; and Horwath HTL Director-Thailand, Nikhom Jensiriratanakorn.

 

BANGKOK Thailand’s domestic-led tourism recovery was at the forefront of a virtual online event “TTF2020 – Special Bangkok Edition” today that tapped more than a 1,000 leading domestic and international travel and hotel industry participants.

Research from hospitality consulting group C9 Hotelworks and Delivering Asia Communications focused on domestic inter-Thailand visitor market whose size at more than 227 million in 2019 stole the limelight versus 39.8 million international visitors. This set the event stage for a compelling look into the pent-up demand of local travelers who are now being targeted by Thai hotels and tourism establishments.

In a series of random polls as part of C9 and Delivering Asia’s market insight held over the weekend in Bangkok, an assortment of Greater Bangkok residents that represent more than 15 million people in the expanded metropolitan area voiced a clear preference for less dense, more natural provincial destinations. Those most mentioned were the islands of Koh Chang and Koh Kood and mountain areas of Phetchabun, Nan, Pai and Mae Sot.

To view the special event video edition of Greater Bangkok residents talking about Thai domestic travel click.

 

TTF 2020 Bangkok Edition:

TTF 2020 Bangkok Edition: keynote speaker Centara Hotels & Resorts CEO Thirayuth Chirathivat (right) interviewed by Delivering Asia Communications CEO, David Johnson.

Top 10 Thailand Destinations
Thailand Domestic Travel

Thailand domestic travel data by C9 Hotelworks and Delivering Asia Communications

 

In a key segment of the event by global hotel intelligence group STR, which zeroed in on the country’s gateway capital, Area Director – Asia Pacific Jesper Palmqvist said “as Thailand’s economic engine, Bangkok will need to lead by example coming out of the crisis and promote and enable the domestic business that exists. In hotel metrics, this will change the definition of what are ‘acceptable performance levels’ are.”

As to what lays ahead for hotels Palmqvist added “forget about hitting 2019 levels again anytime soon and instead focus on recalibrating what acceptable hotel trading levels are. There is a case to be made for either economy and midscale or luxury properties to emerge more efficiently. Though the question remains, with tighter traveler belts on the horizon, which class of hotel will represent the fastest route to longer term recovery?”

Summing up the takeaway points of TTF2020 – Special Bangkok Edition, C9’s Managing Director Bill Barnett said “while international tourism remains a work in progress that is highly leveraged on bilateral cross-border agreements and restoration of airlift, the near-term goal of hotels is to attract cash flow. Expect Thailand to take to the road in considerably greater numbers for the remainder of 2020 and the industry will have to fish where the fish as part of the recovery journey ahead.”

An impressive line-up of speakers for the event, organized by C9 Hotelworks and the American Chamber of Commerce Thailand, included Centara Hotels and Resorts CEO Thirayuth Chirathivat and key senior executives from JLL, Horwath HTL, QUO, TSI, STR, Agoda, IHG, HotelIntel and Rosewood Bangkok. 

To download the full-length event video and presentations, visit this link.

Young, Independent, Digitally-Driven Travelers to Lead Vietnam’s Travel Reopening: China Vietnam Travel Sentiment Survey

Vietnam’s global tourism ambition needs to focus on China and short-haul travel, concludes latest research.

 

BANGKOK: Vietnam’s remarkable reopening of its domestic travel sector is expected to be replicated by focusing on short-haul Asian markets in a quest to restore their international tourism profile. The country has effectively demonstrated a Covid-19 leadership model in Southeast Asia with a focus on the all-important driver of airlift demand.

A newly released survey of qualified travelers from first tier cities in China by leading hospitality consulting group C9 Hotelworks and Delivering Asia Communications, created to understand relevant overseas travel sentiment for the remainder of 2020, analyses demand for Chinese inbound tourism to Vietnam.

Key points highlighted in the study are that nearly half of the respondents want to travel abroad this year, with 45% interested in traveling specifically to Vietnam. Moreover, post Covid-19 Chinese travelers are looking at more mainstream, well-known destinations with top Vietnam picks being Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Nha Trang/Cam Ranh Bay and Halong Bay.

Speaking about the reopening of Vietnam tourism, C9 Hotelworks Managing Director Bill Barnett said “a post crisis short-term ‘fear factor’ is expected for extended air travel which will be manifested in a preference for short-haul, door-to-door flights, which is a key opportunity for China outbound to Vietnam.

“Of equal importance is to understand that at the moment, and in the coming months, domestic travel and tourism will define the gradual recovery process. What is significant about the China Vietnam Survey is who are the immediate post crisis travelers and how can hotels and tourism stakeholders proactively meet their needs. We see a parallel trend in early travelers both domestically and from the China data, which pair up in a new tourism visitor profile,” said Barnett.

Putting the market insights to use is an important sentiment voiced by David Johnson, CEO of Delivering Asia Communications, who added “a 360 view of the results from over 1,000 qualified respondents concludes that tourism for the remainder of the year will be heavily leveraged by younger travelers in the age range of 20-29 years old, who increasingly place an emphasis on booking hotels on digital platforms.

“Two other significant trends from our China research showed that aside from sightseeing and eating being key activities, nature moved up in preference, which could be a reaction to a post-crisis change in tourism values. Diving into accommodation preferences, the two ends of the price spectrum of budget/economy and five-star hotels drew most positive responses from the Chinese surveyed,” he said.  

One final takeaway from the survey is how younger travelers are reflected in rising sentiment with 81% saying they would choose independent travel vs. group tours. This fact, coupled by younger Chinese booking travel digitally via WeChat and Fliggy is a new twist in Vietnam’s marketing to China inbound tourists.

In addition to the survey, a special free web event is being held on Thursday 7th May at 2:00pm Vietnam time led by C9 Hotelworks and Delivering Asia Communications including leading experts Ken Atkinson, Founder and Senior Advisor of Grant Thornton Vietnam and Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Tourism Advisory Board, Michael Piro, Chief Operating Officer of Indochina Capital and David Keen, Chief Executive Officer, QUO.  Register here.

Read and download the China Vietnam Travel Sentiment Survey 2020 here.

Visitor singularity punctuates Phnom Penh’s journey to bright lights, big city

C9 Hotelworks reports that airlift exceeded record 2 million passenger arrivals last year

As fast-paced urban development and sprawling mega-infrastructure projects mount on Phnom Penh’s Mekong horizon, the obvious question is, where does it go from here? Cambodia’s shift from its singular tourism magnet Siem Reap, which is the access point of the iconic Ankor Wat, is now rapidly moving southward to the nation’s capital city.

Last year, the lead indicator of passenger arrivals by air saw Phnom Penh exceed 2 million passenger arrivals, surging past Siem Reap for the first time in a decade. Research by hospitality consulting group C9 Hotelworks has also captured data showing a steady  sustained growth trajectory, as passenger arrivals recorded double-digit rate growth rates from 2012 through 2018, with a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 18%.

Clearly the key catalyst of change for the city has been its proximity to the country’s leading private and public sector headquarters and strategic location for China’s ambitious BRI (Belt and Road Initiative. The BRI now spans across Cambodia and runs all the way south to the Gulf of Thailand and beyond into the South China Sea.

Citing the critical business and tourism potential of the city is C9’s newly released Phnom Penh Hotel Market Update 2020 which reports that Asia is the dominate visitor source region, representing a 79% market share. More telling is a deeper data dive that 66% of the regional traffic is from Mainland China. Ranking the top 5 geographic source markets has China at the top with 52%, followed in order by Malaysia, USA, Japan and Thailand.  

Moving on to how overseas travelers are funneling into the accommodation sector, C9’s report underscores that according to latest available data there are 313 hotels with 19,337 keys and 523 guests houses in Phnom Penh.  A clear sign how fast-paced growth is impacting the hospitality sector is demonstrated in the fact that there are presently fifteen new hotels in the pipeline with 7,849 keys. It should be highlighted that thirteen of the upcoming properties are internationally branded by global hotel management groups including Marriott, Hyatt, Shangri-La and ACCOR.

As for the city’s hotel sector, there are challenges ahead with a spike of newer and bigger hotels and it yet to be seen how they will penetrate the existing hotel market. C9’s Managing Director Bill Barnett reflects “the next two years will see a massive transformation in the accommodation supply as ten new branded properties are forecasted to enter supply between now and 2022.  While business travelers are the core guests, the task is how to attract other segments including tourists and the MICE sector.

Phnom Penh finds itself in a similar situation as other Asian CBD gateway capital hubs like Jakarta and Yangon where hotels are defined by weekday business travelers. Manila on the other hand has been able to capitalize in the gaming sector to grow the leisure segment and provides a more balanced model in the future.”

As for what are the prospects ahead Barnett adds “Cambodia’s new economic model remains unique in the region given the confluence of the BRI, though it’s sheer location is strategic by nature. With a young emerging working class, and influence of globalization, its economic history remains further in the future, so there remains a lot of work on the table in the foreseeable future.”

To read and download the full Phnom Penh Hotel Market Update 2020, click here

Region represents third of global stock

A sustained upward growth trajectory in Asia’s hotel branded residences is seeing the sector mature into a Grade A real estate asset class. According to consulting group C9 Hotelworks latest research, the Asian region now accounts of over a third of global stock.

 

One in three hotel branded residences globally are in Asia

Key metrics for investment grade branded residences properties in the region are reflected in a robust pipeline of 79 developments with 16,130 new units coming into supply by 2025. The most prolific real estate locations for upscale through luxury tier hotel branded properties are led by Thailand which represents 29% of incoming supply followed by Philippines and Vietnam.

Summarizing the research findings in the Asia Hotel Branded Residences Update C9’s Managing Director Bill Barnett reflected on the China-factor for branded residences saying “Mainland China has a substantial presence in luxury branded projects with over 57% of sold-out developments being located in first-tier cities.

Chinese developers expand to Southeast Asian countries

A second-generation trend has seen Chinese developers shift their attention outside of China while still tapping into Mainland investment or yield oriented buyers. These buyers are motivated by negative sentiment in a flat domestic market and look for greater opportunities overseas, with a selling proposition that is bolstered by the presence of international hospitality brands. Some of the notable publicly listed Chinese real estate firms who are aggressively pursuing international expansion include Vanke, Greenland Group and Country Garden.”

Another dynamic shift is Asian conglomerates developing hospitality-led residential projects abroad back of cross border investment strategies. A leading example of this is Malaysia’s Berjaya Corporation who developed the Four Seasons Hotel and Hotel Residences in Kyoto, Japan.

After project completion and highly-successful residential sales, the asset was sold at a premium valuation to a Japanese Group. Bolstered by the experience, Berjaya has moved onto a second project in Okinawa, with Four Seasons as an operator and a hotel branded residences component. For Berjaya, the addition of real estate has effectively mitigated development risk, improved hotel focused returns in a high-cost, low yielding hospitality market and ultimately added value on investment exit.

 

Real estate conglomerates attracted to exit strategies in sector

Some of the key learnings from C9’s research is centered on how branded residence demand is becoming more balanced between resort or leisure destinations and urban locations. While the former commands 58% of the marketplace, urban properties now account for 42% and are on the rise. Looking inside the numbers Asia’s urbanization trend and changes in lifestyle are mirrored in how affluent property buyers are moving from traditional single-family homes or compounds into luxury condominiums in CBD areas. Given how Asian’s value premium brands, developers are seizing the opportunity, boosted by brand-generated premiums and higher level of sales absorption.

C9’s report has taken a critical look at the leading hotel groups in Asia’s branded residences arena. Ranking hotel operators in the upscale to luxury tiers who are prominent in the sector, Marriott tops the list followed by ACCOR, Dusit, Hyatt, Shangri-La, InterContinental Hotels Group and Wyndham. Other active operators included Rosewood and Minor.

 

58% of Asia’s total pipeline projects are in luxury tier

As to how the investment grade real estate sector could be impacted by the current COVID-19 crisis C9’s Bill Barnett is quick to acknowledge the disruptive nature onto the property market. Adding “we expect China’s early economic recovery to be similar to the experience at the tail end of the global financial crisis (GFC). An Asian sponsored uptick will align to the hotel branded residence product placement and be in tune with the times going forward.”

Read and download c9 Hotelworks Asia Hotel Branded Residences Update 2020.

For further information, please contact:
Bill Barnett, Managing Director, C9 Hotelworks
Email: [email protected]

Move Over New York and London: Bangkok Poised to Become the World’s Next Global Mega City

The East becomes the new West as mass transit infrastructure set to propel Bangkok to have the third largest Metro system in the world, experts reveal at TTF 2018.

BANGKOK, THAILAND – Industry experts revealed at Thailand Tourism Forum (TTF) 2018 that Bangkok is on the cusp of emerging as the world’s next Mega City. Within five years, the rapid expansion of Bangkok’s Metro systems will succeed in opening up unprecedented spaces in the city and with it huge opportunities for the travel and tourism industry.

This has not been lost on one of Thailand’s most prominent real estate developers, Sansiri PLC, who will bring one of the most dynamic New York hospitality brands to Bangkok – The Standard – in a major foray into hospitality as they seek to bring new cutting edge brands to the city.

Sansiri CEO Apichart Chutrakul gave the key note interview to open TTF 2018 on ‘MEGACITY BANGKOK – A Tourism and Hotel Futurescape’ to a packed ballroom of almost 700 travel industry delegates from Thailand and across the region at the InterContinental Bangkok.

In the opening remarks, TTF 2018 Co-Organiser and Managing Director of C9 Hotelworks said: “In five short years the electric metro across Greater Bangkok will reach a length of 464 kilometers. This will surpass London who stand at 402 km with their underground and New York City’s subway which measures 380 km. The great promise of the East has now become the new West. Important will be the access to three international interconnected airports – Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang and U-Tapao.”

Global research firm STR’s area director Asia Pacific Jesper Palmqvist added that Bangkok was on a strong growth trajectory in terms of hotel performance and infrastructure development would only support this further. “With almost three years of stable growth in terms of hotel performance, Bangkok has firmly put the 2014 decline far behind. By November 2017, RevPAR had grown 3.4% year-over-year, and this against a backdrop of some reasonable strong supply increase at 4.1%.

“The impressive numbers are held up by an ever stable demand growth of around 5% for 18 months after the comeback in 2015, but hotels have also been able to increase rates by more than 2% even with new competing product coming to market. But it’s not just short-term – no less than seven of the months in 2017 saw 10-year records in absolute RevPAR performance – that’s a sign of very strong growth during the past 10 years for the mega city.”

In addition to Apichart Chutrakul, CEO of Sansiri PLC, speakers and panelists at TTF 2018 included Dillip Rajakarier, CEO of Minor Hotel Group; Supoj Chaiwatsirikul, Managing Director, ICONSIAM; Nikhom Jensiriratanakorn, Director of Horwath HTL; Thomas Schmelter, IHG’s Director of Operations for Thailand & Indochina; Mike Batchelor, JLL’s Managing Director, Investment Sales for Asia; Jesper Palmqvist, STR’s Area Director for Asia Pacific; Thomas Schmelter, Director of Operations – Thailand & IndoChina, IHG Group; and many more.

Phuket’s Low Season Growth and China Drive Amass Record Numbers in 2017

Developers eye tourism attractions to cash in on mounting visitor demand

Bolstered by a strong low season and double-digit China growth, Thailand’s leading resort destination Phuket has hit a historic high note. For the year 2017, the island’s gateway airport posted 11.3% y-o-y growth to reach an estimated 8.4 million incoming passengers. This was mainly driven by a 20% surge in Mainland Chinese travelers to the island and a rising number visitors during low season of 11.2% compared to the same period in 2016.

Airlift is clearly as the key catalyst according to consulting group C9 Hotelwork’s newly released Phuket Hotel Market Update. Hotel performance continued to see an uptick in occupancy at 77% last year based on data from STR, though the volume metric resulted in a slight downward trend with a median room rate of THB3,740.

Data in C9’s report reveals there was an average of 641,863 passenger arrivals per month in 2017 during low season compared to 759,703 in the high season. This is a significantly smaller gap than in previous years. What is demonstrated is how the island is evolving into a year-round destination. Another key trend is market-wide occupancy was pushed up as 54% of Chinese and 55% of Australians chose to visit Phuket during the May – October low and shoulder seasons.

Analyzing the market C9’s Managing Director Bill Barnett is quick to point out that island hoteliers need to be pragmatic about the impact in shifting geographic segments. “Phuket International Airport is the de facto entry point for tourists to Khao Lak which has nearly 9,000 hotel keys in its inventory. Lower priced accommodation and a large selection of beach front properties are benefitting from increasing Australian and Chinese numbers in July and August.

Two other key points are that while arrival growth is prevailing, the average length of stay is shrinking due to regional Asian market take up. And secondly exponential growth in shared economy offerings such as Airbnb are becoming mainstream competitors to hotels.

Soaring tourism numbers are only driving hotel development but peripheral sectors such as attractions. With its successful water park in Hua Hin, Proud Real Estate plans to start the development of Vana Nava Phuket by Q4 2018. Coupled with a 255-room Holiday Inn Express, the project is valued at nearly THB3 billion. Kata Water Park is another notable project that will begin construction in 2018. Developed by Kata Group on a 13-rai plot, replacing Kata Plaza, the plan includes a 300-room hotel and multiple dining outlets.

Summing up Phuket’s continued growth trajectory Bill Barnett of C9 Hotelworks says “while the recent upgrading of Phuket International Airport and new terminal has been a welcome change, the long-term reality is it’s just a band aid to a macro issue. As Khao Lak continues growing along with the beach areas North of Phuket, the need to diversify Phang Nga’s rising tourism market with its own airport is becoming more and more urgent by the day.”

Download: Phuket Hotel Market Update.

Global Hotel Brands Set To Boost Japan’s Niseko Tourism Trajectory

Year-round visitor demand prompting comparison as Asia’s own version of New Zealand

NISEKO, JAPAN – Japan’s famed ski destination Niseko is well on its way to becoming a world-class year-round holiday destination back of sustained growth in summer visitors over the past six years. Last year over 1.6 million visitors were recorded, with parity in numbers between the frenetic December to April ski season and May to November summer and shoulder season.

The changes in the marketplace are also seeing the entrance of new properties under development with hospitality brands ranging from Park Hyatt, The Pavilions to Ritz-Carlton according to the newly released Niseko Property Market Review by consulting group C9 Hotelworks.

Two critical feeders of tourists to Niseko are the New Chitose Airport near Sapporo which has experienced an impressive 10-year compound growth rate of 13.9% and the introduction of the Shinkansen bullet train service to Hokkaido from Tokyo in 2016. Key overseas flight growth from Seoul, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Singapore are stimulating regional demand and pushing the destination higher in the growth cycle.

Foreign investment into the hospitality and real estate sectors can be seen by such groups at Malaysia’s YTL and Hong Kong tycoon Richard Li who is in the process of launching branded hotel residences which will be managed as part of a Park Hyatt mixed use project at base of Niseko United’s Hanazono ski field.

Noting the trend in investment real estate with hotel managed programs, C9 Hotelworks Managing Director Bill Barnett said: “Recent condominium projects such as Skye and The Maples are eclipsing record setting pricing levels of USD17,000 per square meter. With soaring sales there is also a dynamic shift in the predominant international buying segment with the top 5 source markets being Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand and fast moving Mainland China.”

Looking at the property market metric, C9’s report highlights that appreciation growth is also ramping up. When comparing sold-out projects and those currently for sale, pricing has escalated by 52% and the absorption rate more than doubled. Two-bedroom condominiums continue to be the most popular property play but a new project, The Ginto Residences by Hong Kong entrepreneur Gordon Oldham, is seeing strong interest for their land plots and custom home offering.

Like many other global legacy ski destinations such as Whister, Aspen or Andermatt which over the years evolved, Niseko is now seeing the opportunity to become a leading year-around proposition. Sitting on Asia’s doorstep, the strong natural appeal is seeing the numbers game mount with Southeast Asia travelers and a strong wave of Mainland Chinese tourists drawn by the clean air, diversity in culinary offerings and outdoor activities. Niseko in many ways has similar traits to iconic New Zealand and has a key advantage of being a uniquely Asian alpine experience.

Noting future prospects, C9’s Bill Barnett added “the connection between tourism and real estate in Niseko is similar to many other mountain resort areas around the world. Managing rental properties are typically early market movers but once the hotel brands come into play, that’s when things get interesting.”

Bangkok Mega-Projects Take Centre Stage at Thailand Tourism Forum 2018, as Top Developers Reveal Plans to Change Cityscape

Running under the theme ‘MEGACITY BANGKOK– A Tourism and Hotel Futurescape’, the seventh annual TTF will focus on the redevelopment of the thriving Thai capital.

BANGKOK, THAILAND – The Thailand Tourism Forum (TTF) will return for its seventh annual edition on January 22nd, 2018, gathering approximately 650 hotel industry professionals at the InterContinental Hotel Bangkok to discuss the mega-projects that are reshaping Bangkok’s cityscape.

Running under the theme ‘MEGACITY BANGKOK– A Tourism and Hotel Futurescape’, TTF 2018 will focus on the redevelopment of the thriving Thai capital. A series of high-level speakers will address the one-day event, including Mr Srettha Thavisin, President of Sansiri PLC, one of Thailand’s leading hotel and real estate developers.

Sansiri recently entered the hospitality space in partnership with Standard Hotels to create the upstart hotel brand, Monocle, and Mr Thavisin will be interviewed on stage at the forum, discussing how “Large Scale Projects Contribute to Better Tourism Experiences.”

He will be joined at the event by executives from some of the Thailand’s largest conglomerates, hotel leaders, expert analysts, developers, financiers and more. The opening address will be made by Bill Barnett, TTF event co-organiser Managing Director of C9 Hotelworks.

“Thailand’s tourism industry continues to ride the crest of a wave, with record-breaking numbers of global visitors clamouring to experience the country’s many attractions,” Mr Barnett said. “As the country’s capital and major international gateway, Bangkok is fast becoming one of the world’s great mega-cities.

“To sustain such numbers however, Bangkok needs large-scale redevelopment. Massive infrastructure projects are pushing into more districts and creating new tourism hotspots such as the Chao Praya River area. At TTF 2018, we will learn first-hand about the ambitious plans for Bangkok’s emerging cityscape and examine their impact on the tourism and hospitality sectors,” Mr Barnett added.

Thailand’s tourism industry is on track for yet another record-breaking year. According to data from the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), the Kingdom welcomed 17.3 million international visitors in the first half of 2017, generating THB876 billion (US$25 billion). Tourism revenues are expected to reach an all-time high of THB1.81 trillion (US$50 billion) for the full year.

This rising demand is also boosting confidence in Thailand’s hotel sector; according to STR, approximately 100 new hotels are currently in the country’s pipeline, potentially adding 21,600 new rooms to the national inventory – many of which will be in Bangkok.

But challenges remain; Thailand’s transport infrastructure struggles to cope with the tourism influx, hoteliers face strong competition, and average daily rate (ADR) remains under pressure. So what does the future hold for Bangkok? A series of multi-billion-baht developments, including transport links, mega-malls, attractions, hotels and residential projects, are transforming the cityscape, creating both opportunities and threats for the city.

TTF 2018 will address all these issues, with a comprehensive, insightful programme of discussions, debates and presentations. The forum will conclude with an evening networking event and cocktail party.

In addition to Srettha Thavisin, President of Sansiri PLC, speakers and panellists at TTF 2018 include Dillip Rajakarier, CEO of Minor Hotel Group; Nikhom Jensiriratanakorn, Director of Horwath HTL; Thomas Schmelter, IHG’s Director of Operations for Thailand & Indochina; KC Moy, Executive Vice President of Capella Hotel Group; Mike Batchelor, JLL’s Managing Director, Investment Sales for Asia; Jesper Palmqvist, STR’s Area Director for Asia Pacific; Caroline Cheah, General Manager of the Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok; and many more.

For further information and high-resolution photography, please contact:

David Johnson
CEO
Delivering Asia Communications
Tel: +66 (0) 2246 1159
Email: [email protected]
Website: www.deliveringcommunications.com

Notes to Editors

Thailand Tourism Forum is an annual event held every January and organized by the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) Thailand and leading hospitality consultancy C9 Hotelworks. Now in its sixth year, the event attracts leading industry speakers and a growing number of delegates from around the region. Thailand Tourism Forum offers delegates a unique opportunity to hear hospitality leaders and experts candidly discuss the industry and a forum to take a closer look at numbers, evaluate risk and learn more about important new trends in tourism across all Thai travel destinations.

Asia’s Property Developers Jumping into Bed with Hotel Groups as Branded Residences Flourish

Vietnam’s real estate sector latches onto trend, as warning signs emerging over unsustainable levels of guaranteed returns to buyers.

Southeast Asia’s real estate love affair between property developers and hotel brands is morphing into a feeding frenzy. With nearly 100 mainstream hotel residence projects and over 21,000 units completed, the next three years is set to take the sector into bold new territory.

According to leading consulting group C9 Hotelworks new SE Asia focused Hotel Residences Market Trends between 2018 and 2020 new completed units will represent a massive 83% rise over existing supply. The Top 5 pipeline project locations in order of volume are Danang, Phuket, Kuala Lumpur, Bali and Bintan.

Commenting on changing trends, C9’s Managing Director Bill Barnett said “if we’d roll back the clock 18-24 months, urban projects were part of a shifting landscape, but today investment buyers are back heavily in resort destinations, especially Vietnam. Market-wide average sales price per square meter in the region (excluding Singapore) is US$5,713 in urban areas and US$3,207 in resort destinations.

Looking deeper at the geographic source of property buyers Thailand’s more mature market is deeper with foreign purchasers, while Indonesia and now Vietnam are tracking an onslaught of domestic demand, back of a skyrocketing consumer class.

As for the attraction of hotel branded real estate C9 Hotelworks latest research reflects that market-wide premiums of recognized hospitality groups range between 25-35% versus independent properties. Chains that are most active includes Marriott, Banyan Tree, Hyatt, Melia, Minor and Mövenpick along with brands that have used hotel residences to spur their pipelines such as BHM Asia and Alila.

Despite the growth storyline, C9’s Bill Barnett has raised a warning sign for both developers and property buyers over the onslaught of projects offering high levels of guaranteed returns over sustained periods “Danang is one location that has all the signs of a recipe for disaster with recurring returns being promoted at 10.5% on a long term basis.

Compounding the outlook is the strong take up in the domestic segment with purchasers leveraging debt at extraordinary levels. If returns fail to materialize at the promoted numbers, developers will be unable to fund returns, buyer will forfeit units to banks and market values could evaporate. It could be a perfect storm and wider regulation for consumers over guaranteed returns across Southeast Asia is sorely needed.”