Asia hotels in investor spotlight

hotel poolHotel receipts nearly tripled in Asia the first quarter of 2013, supported by a tourism boom in the emerging countries of Southeast Asia’s Mekong region.

In 2012, double-digit tourism growth in Cambodia, (25 per cent), Vietnam (15 per cent) and Myanmar (55 per cent) brought the ASEAN region back on the radar of hotel investors. Thailand also received a surge in tourists during the same period and is subsequently repositioning their focus to greater investment promotion in the industry.

Soaring growth in hotel transactions has further piqued the interest of investors, with $620 million coming in the first quarter of 2013 in Asia, up a dramatic 190 per cent from the same period in 2012, according to international real estate consulting firm Jones Lang LaSalle.

“Rising visitor arrivals, robust trading performance and positive market dynamics have put emerging Southeast Asian markets such as Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar back into the investment spotlight,” said Tom Oakden, executive vice president of Investment Sales for Jones Lang LaSalle’s Hotels & Hospitality Group.

This newly found favour the tourism industry in emerging Asia has gained from the international community is more than just welcomed, it is needed, especially in countries where room capacity falls short of projected arrivals.

This problem is particularly an issue in Myanmar, where there are only 28,291 hotel rooms, including boarding homes and guesthouses, according to government statistics.

In this void, there lies potential. Big-name hoteliers have already begun moving in, staking out their claim in the new real estate landscape, increasingly open to due rapprochement reforms of the incumbent government.

Indeed, Hilton chose to open up its 100th hotel on May 6 in Bangkok on Sukhumvit road, the main thoroughfare of the city.

Despite rough-and-tumble economic conditions, Vietnam is seen by property analysts has holding good medium and short-term potential, with the Vietnam government targeting 16.7 million visitors by 2015, up from 6.84 million tourists in 2012.

To meet that demand, 1,400 new rooms have been scheduled for construction in Hanoi, while Ho Chi Minh City has already added three new hotels since the beginning of 2013, providing 300 new rooms.

In Cambodia, investment in the tourism sector increased by 16.7 per cent in 2012 year on year, and total foreign arrivals increased by a massive 24.8 per cent year on year, with business arrivals seeing the greatest increase, at 47 per cent, according to property agents CBRE.