French-based multinational hospitality company, AccorHotels (“Accor”), has announced a franchising deal with Singapore-based Global Premium Hotels Limited (“GPHL”), adding 15 hotels with 1,621 rooms to its network, expanding its Singapore’s portfolio to 30 hotels and 7,625 rooms. Thirteen of the hotels were operating under the existing Fragrance Hotel brandand two were under the Parc Sovereign Hotel brand. Following the deal, the 15 hotels will undergo asset enhancement initiatives to be in line with the Accor global standards. Thirteen of the hotels will be rebranded into Ibis Budget, one into Mercure and one into Ibis Styles. With the finalised agreement, Accor will have 1,840 midscale rooms and 2,428 economy rooms in Singapore.
US-based Marriott International (“Marriott”) has announced the launch of an all-inclusive platform with plans to further expand its all-inclusive portfolio in popular destinations worldwide with a combination of new-built properties and conversions of existing resorts. The company has signed management contracts with hotel developers who plan to build five new all-inclusive resorts and invest more than USD800 million. Given growing demand for premium and luxury all-inclusive stays, Marriott plans to build its all-inclusive platform by leveraging Marriott Bonvoy travel program as well as full-service and luxury iconic brands, including The Ritz-Carlton, Luxury Collection, Marriott Hotels, Westin Hotels, W Hotels, Autograph Collection and Delta by Marriott. The five resorts are expected to open between 2022 and 2025.
Southeast Asia’s largest hotel management and booking platform, RedDoorz, has raised USD45 million in a Series B round. The new round of funding was led by Chinese venture capital firmQiming Venture Partners alongside Jungle Ventures and its network of limited partners. These include new investor MNC Group and return backers Jungle Ventures, Hendale Capital, International Finance Corporation and Susquehanna International Group. The USD45 million will be invested into technology and brand building initiatives to scale the platform’s growth in the region. The hospitality start-up has operations across more than 80 cities in four countries in Southeast Asia, namely Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam and operates more than 1,200 budget hotels and properties. RedDoorz provides hotel owners the technology to manage distribution, pricing, marketing and customer experience.
Sri Lanka will offer one-month visas to citizens from nearly 50 countries in an effort to boost tourism following April’s terrorist attacks. Starting from 1 August 2019, the government willwaive its existing visa fee (USD20 for nationals from South Asia and USD35 for the other countries). The free visa will apply to both tourists and those visiting for business purposes. The scheme will be effective for six months. Additionally, the Sri Lankan government announced in July that it will reduce airline fees for six months to encourage visitors and a number of hotels are promoting a similar initiative by offering hefty discount packages of up to 70%. The new initiative will apply to nationals from US, Canada, the UK, European Union nations, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, Cambodia, Thailand, China, India and Indonesia. According to government data, tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka declined by about 45% in July from a year earlier.
The Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (“MRTA”) has officially opened five new metropolitan rapid transit (“MRT”) blue line stations in Bangkok’s old town area. According to the governor of MRTA, free rides will be offered to the public for 2 months starting from July 29th to September 28th from 10am to 4pm and will begin collecting fares of THB16-42 per ride from September 29th. The five new stations are part of a 14-kilometer extension from Hua Lumpong station which involves eleven stations, including four underground stations namelyWat Mangkon (China Town), Sam Yot, Sanam Chai and Itsaraphap before surfacing at Tha Phra, and running over ground west to the remaining unopened stations. The line is anticipated to cater to approximately 500,000 passengers daily when all stations are fully operational. The four new underground stations features the most beautiful design in the country and the remaining stations are slated to be completed for public use in Q1 2020. The opening of new stations will greatly ease visitors who seek to visit Bangkok’s famous attractions in the old town area.
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