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2014 a ‘mixed bag’ for hotels in the region

January 12, 2015

Cushman & Wakefield has published HotelViews 2015 – its annual report covering hotel market performance in 18 cities across Asia, describing performance in Southeast Asia as “a mixed bag”, due in part to political uncertainty in Thailand.

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In the first eight months of 2014, the report states, the Asia Pacific region welcomed 5 per cent more international tourists (overnight visitors) compared with the same period in 2013, with more than 1.1 billion tourists expected by the year-end.

According to the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), the two international stars were South Asia and North America, which both showed growth of 8pc.

Arrival growth in Southeast Asia was however, hit by regional geopolitics and negative reactions to aviation incidents.

Southeast Asian posted arrival growth of 2pc despite previous robust growth in 2012 and 2013. This, in turn, pulled down wider Asia Pacific growth to 5pc from January to August 2014 compared with 7pc in over the same period in 2013.

Hotel performance across the region was a ‘mixed bag’. Geopolitical instability in Vietnam, political uncertainty in Thailand and Hong Kong, and negative reactions to aviation incidents dented demand.

Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore experienced softer arrival figures due to these events and the inclination for multi-city itineraries.

As a result, Bangkok hotels took a battering, with occupancies expected to close 2014 down by 15.1pc. KL is likely to be down by 2pc and Singapore by 1.5pc.

The report forecasts that Average Occupancy Rate in Bangkok will end 2014 at 63pc, down 11 points from 2013, when AOR was 74pc.

It predicts, “As the Bangkok hotel market has been particularly impacted by prolonged political tensions from 2013 to 2014, major declines in occupancy (then ADR) have been seen since the strong performance witnessed in the preceding year.

The market has since responded by collaborating to promote the city and reassure travellers that all is ‘business-as-usual’, and relative stability has led to quiet improvements in sentiment.

“In a positive move to boost the Thai travel and tourism industry, the Immigration Bureau has allowed citizens of 48 countries and one territory to get a 30-day extension of their stay in Thailand after the expiry of their normal period of stay.

“While international arrivals have yet to fully recover, Bangkok has a history as a resilient market, hotel performance is expected to rebound strongly as concerns … dissipate, with a healthy revival of ADR and occupancy in the medium term.”

The report predicts a revival in 2015 in Bangkok AOR to 67pc, with average daily rates (ADR) climbing to B3,450 and revenue per available room (RevPAR) to B2,309.

In contrast with Bangkok, Indonesia is the star, with demand in both Jakarta and Bali continuing to push up ADR and drive growth in RevPAR.

Singapore at US$207, Hong Kong at US$193 and Sydney at US$185 are expected to top the region with the highest ADRs in 2014.

In local currencies however, the markets with the fastest-growing rates year-on-year in 2014 are expected to be Jakarta at ID Rupiah 1.2 million, at 15.0pc growth, Tokyo at JP Yen 16,465 at 7.1pc growth and Ho Chi Minh at VN Dong 1.9 million with growth at 6.5pc.

Strong Occupancy growth to 64pc in Shanghai is also expected to boost RevPAR to CN Yuan 417, a 12pc growth over RevPAR in 2013.

Continuing economic growth and enhanced flight connectivity remain strong fundamentals for future growth. Asia Pacific’s growing and increasingly affluent middle-class is the key driver for this growth.

The report can be downloaded by going to tinyurl.com/Hotels2015.

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