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Golden Tulip branches out in Israel… and other International hotel news

08 June 2006

Golden Tulip branches out in IsraelGolden Tulip Hospitality has added five hotels to its Israeli portfolio. The properties will be operated by the Fattal Hotel group and franchised by Golden Tulip. Two Tulip Inns will be in Galilee on the shores of the Dead Sea, while the three Golden Tulip hotels will be in Tiberias, Ashkelon and Negev. The acquisitions take the company's portfolio to nine within the country. The announcement comes alongside reports that visitor numbers to Israel have increased 30% in the first four months of 2006 compared with last year, with tourist traffic from North America surging 34%.

New general manager for Peninsula Tokyo
The Peninsula Hotel Tokyo has appointed Malcolm Thompson as its general manager. The hotel, set to open in 2007, is owned and managed by Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels Limited. Thompson will initially be based in Hong Kong before moving to Tokyo in September. Born in Britain, he spent most of his 30-year hospitality career with Hyatt International, most recently as the general manager of the Park Hyatt Los Angeles.

Luxury hotels in Korea feel the pinch
Korean hotels have suffered since tourist tax exemptions were scrapped. The strong Won has also been blamed for lower foreign visitor numbers, while the disappearance of special VAT exemptions introduced to promote the 2002 World Cup have compounded the problem. Five-star hotels are the biggest victims, renting fewer rooms to overseas tourists last year than in 2001, despite available rooms increasing from 8.56 million to 8.69 million. Many luxury hotels, including the Lotte, Shilla and Intercontinental properties have also just completed massive remodelling, further adding to their economic problems.

Carlson Hotels get 12 new properties
Carlson Hotels has boosted its global portfolio to 932 hotels with the addition of 12 properties across the world. The new acquisitions include a Radisson SAS hotel in Germany, two Park Inn hotels in Austria and the UK and four Radisson hotels, four Country Inns and Suites and one Park Plaza in the USA. Sam Winterbottom, executive vice-president of development said: "I am pleased with the progress our global development team continues to make, and anticipate that out momentum will continue as we approach the midway point of the year."

New build hotel boost in China
China accounts for nearly half of all new projects in Asia. Of the 386 hotels being "actively pursued" in Asia, 188 are in China. Most of the new projects are going into China's largest coastal cities and manufacturing centres slightly inland. Patrick Ford, president of Lodging Econometrics which commissioned the survey, said: "It's a development period like none other. China has the fastest growing inbound tourist inflows of any country and is projected to be the largest tourist destination in the world by 2020." He added that Beijing's rush to build enough hotels for the 2008 Olympics is helping to propel the boom.

Starwood's Aloft brand a massive successStarwood Hotels & Resorts has more than 100 deals in the pipeline for its Aloft brand, only one year after its launch. The W hotels-inspired brand has already secured 30 applications in the USA. Ted Darnell, president of Starwood's real estate group, said: "The development community has been clamouring for a breakthrough product like Aloft that can be easily introduced in mature markets and command a price premium." Starwood has also received nine franchise applications for its latest concept, the extended stay brand Project ESW.

By Alix Young

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