Sofitel plans 16 Asia hotels

Posted on March 7, 2013

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European hotel brand Sofitel aims to add at least 16 hotels to its Asia-Pacific portfolio to benefit from the region’s growing tourism market.

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The company will have 55 hotels in the region by 2015, up from 39 now, said Robert Gaymer-Jones, chief executive of Sofitel Worldwide.

The expansion is part of Sofitel’s strategy to expand its worldwide network to 150 hotels by 2015, up from about 120 now.

“We are targeting capital cities and are working on securing hotel projects in places where we have no presence, including Jakarta, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Seoul,” said Mr Gaymer-Jones.

He said some cities where Sofitel already has a hotel have the potential to have another one.

The company aims to have another five properties in India by 2015 after opening its first one there last year, while it has 10 projects under construction in China.

“The growing economy in the region will result in a growing tourism industry,” said Mr Gaymer-Jones.

“China and India are particularly big markets and will become the leaders in outbound tourism in the region.”

The implementation of the Asean Economic Community in 2016 will boost regional tourism, especially in Indonesia with its huge population of 250 million.

In Thailand, Sofitel expects to add at least two hotels in the resort destinations of Phuket and Koh Samui. It operates three Thai hotels: Sofitel So Bangkok, Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit and Sofitel Krabi Phokeethra Golf and Spa Resort.

Mr Gaymer-Jones said Thailand is one of the top tourism destinations for international travellers. Sofitel still sees room to grow in Thailand, not only in resort destinations but also in Bangkok.

Apart from bad traffic in the capital, the only negative could be political instability, he said.

“As soon as people see it [news of political instability] in a newspaper outside Thailand, they will change their reservation. People are very sensitive about this issue. This is the biggest risk for Thailand,” Mr Gaymer-Jones said.

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Posted in: Koh Samui, Phuket