China, Indonesia, M'sia, Vietnam to be target markets
FAR East Organization, which has re-branded seven of its 17 hotels and residences under its new Village Hotels & Residences label, plans to add 15 new Village properties.
'We envisage adding these properties in the next five years in target markets such as China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam,' executive director Chia Boon Kuah said at a news briefing yesterday. 'The target markets are countries where we have some presence and knowledge of operations.'
The group is looking to take on the role of operator for these overseas properties but has not ruled out acquiring a stake.
Far East has so far spent $12.5 million on a re-branding exercise that includes refurbishment, service training and back-end operations. It will spend a similar amount over the next three years to boost the brand's profile.
The seven re-branded properties in Singapore - which include the former Albert Court Hotel, now Albert Court Village Hotel - are largely located in cultural enclaves and aim to give guests a taste of local life by way of activities such as guided walking tours.
However, the properties - mostly in mid-range category - will also cater to business travellers.
'We're looking at a good mix of leisure and business travellers,' said Far East's director of hospitality operations Raphael Saw.
Upcoming developments such as the two integrated resorts are expected to stimulate travel demand and boost tourist arrivals, he added.
Things are looking more optimistic for the tourism industry now than in recent months.
In September, visitor arrivals were up 7.1 per cent year on year to 799,000 - the first growth this year.
The Pacific Asia Travel Association recently forecast that Asia-Pacific tourism revenue will top US$4.6 trillion by the end of next year.
Source: Business Times, 29 Oct 2009