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News Article

Post-SARS, the Asian tourist industry continues to be a magnet for foreign investment

A poll conducted by Jones Lang Lasalle Hotels at the 6th Asia Pacific Hotel Investment Conference in Singapore revealed that despite the recent SARS crisis in the area, Asia is continuing to attract foreign investment in hotel and tourism projects. Meanwhile, the latest Travel + Leisure Magazine World's Best Awards includes several Asian entries in the various categories. This would appear to lend credence to investors' confidence that tourism in the region can return to pre-SARS levels.

A poll conducted by Jones Lang Lasalle Hotels at the 6th Asia Pacific Hotel Investment Conference in Singapore revealed that despite the recent SARS crisis in the area, Asia is continuing to attract foreign investment in hotel and tourism projects. Meanwhile, the latest Travel + Leisure Magazine World's Best Awards includes several Asian entries in the various categories. This would appear to lend credence to investors' confidence that tourism in the region can return to pre-SARS levels.

Chaired by Arthur de Haast, Global Chief Executive Officer of Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels, the 6th Asia Pacific Hotel Investment Conference featured a comprehensive overview of the performance and outlook of the global hotel markets.

Mr de Haast, pinpointed the opportunities available for hotel investors in Asia Pacific. "The markets of Thailand, Japan and Korea have become more open transparent over recent years," said Mr de Haast,, "and despite Hong Kong's economic dependence on the US economy, it remains one of the most transparent and sought after investment destinations."

He continued, "Beijing and Shanghai benefit from an increasingly affluent domestic population as well as the influx of foreign corporate travellers, but investor enthusiasm is tempered by a lack of market transparency and potential for oversupply," said Mr de Haast. "The outlook for Australia's key hotel markets of Sydney and Brisbane looks bright in light of minimal new supply and demand recovery off the back of the Rugby World Cup which commences in October 2003." 

Another key highlight of the conference was an insight into Jones Lang LaSalle's landmark research assignment, 'Winning Cities' – an in-depth research undertaking designed to forecast which cities across the globe are poised on the verge of success. Mr Tim Bellman, Regional Director, Jones Lang LaSalle presented the results of this program which analysed demographic, economic, business, governance, social and cultural issues interwoven with real estate measures in order to assess a city's economic and real estate potential. 

"Hotels and airlines are an important predictor of city success. Their investment decisions can have profound implications for the economic development of a city. In the more emerging markets, hotels and airlines can be a great leading indicator that the latent potential of a city is about to be tapped. Hotels and airlines can be the catalyst triggering a wave of investment from companies in other industries," said Mr Bellman.

"We believe this will be the 'Asian Century' and barring political unrest and / or pandemics, China and India will be an influential source of 'rising urban stars'," said Mr Tim Bellman. "Obviously this points to potential growth areas for hotel operators and investors."

"Cities which make an effort to improve their urban landscape and cultural and entertainment offer will benefit from attracting and retaining footloose, well-educated knowledge workers as well as stimulating tourism to the area. South East Queensland, which includes the Gold Coast, Brisbane and Sunshine Coast is one such region, already noted for its population and tourism growth," said Mr Bellman.

Other notable mentions include the rising 'mega cities' of Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen in China and Delhi and Mumbai in India. "Rapid urbanization is giving rise to these cities with populations of more than 10 million people, offering clear potential as a consumer base and labour supply pool." 

Cities and other destinations in the Asian Pacific have certainly proved a popular draw for readers of Travel + Leisure magazine. A questionnaire developed  in association with Harris Interactive was conducted from January 20  through March 21, 2003 and a total of more that 200,000 votes were cast. Released the results, Nancy Novogrod , Editor in Chief, said:

"This year's World Best Award winners confirm that Travel + Leisure readers embrace destinations and properties that offer the best experiences in virtually every corner of the globe. The top hotel is in Asia, the top city is in Australia, and the top small hotel is in South Africa...reflecting our readers' continuing quest to explore the unknown."

The winners were recorded overall and by region. For the sixth consecutive year Sydney emerged as the favourite city overall, with with the leading Asian city, Bangkok, ranked 3rd. Within the Asian region, Ha Noi was ranked second, followed by Hong Kong, Kyoto and Shangai.

Seven Thai hotels were in the top-100 hotels of the world, with the Peninsula Hotel, Bangkok, being ranked the world's best. Tourism Authority of Thailand Governor Mrs Juthamas Siriwan said, "This is a reflection of the hard work that has been done by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration as well as the private and public sectors to improve the quality of the visitors' experience in city."

Mrs. Juthamas complimented all the award winners, noting that it is their commitment to high standards and professionalism that helps attract more visitors to Bangkok and encourages them to stay longer.

Elsewhere, the Sofitel Metropole hotel in Ha Noi, was ranked 92nd overall, and 19th best in the Asian region.

Travel + Leisure Magazine is one of the world's most prominent travel magazines with a readership of about 950,000 per issue.

Links:

Jones Lang Lasalle Hotels

Travel + Leisure

Circleofasia.com

Article details

  • Date
  • 19 August 2003
  • Subject(s)
  • Hospitality Sector
  • Tourism