|By Chadamas Chinmaneevong, Bangkok Post,
ThailandMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
March 6, 2009 --Accor, a European hotel management chain, is adding 11 properties in Thailand under its Novotel, Mercure, All Seasons, and Ibis brands.
Four of the properties with total investment of 2.5 billion baht are owned by the local hotelier Fico Corporation Co. They include the 52-room, eight-villa Mercure Samui Fenix, which will open in the third quarter of this year; the 380-room Novotel Bangkok Fenix Ploenchit and the 225-room Novotel Bangkok Fenix Silom to open next year; and the 166-room Hotel Muse to open in 2011.
The other seven hotels are owned by different companies, and two of them are located in the capital. The 200-room Ibis Nana is opening this month, and the 283-room Novotel Bangkok Platinum is scheduled to open in 2011.
The other five hotels are located at beach locations in southern Thailand. They include the Mercure Samui Buri with 56 rooms and 29 private pool suites; the 153-room All Seasons Samui Chaweng, and the 260-room Ibis Kata Phuket, all scheduled to open this year. The185-room Novotel Phuket Kamala Bay will open in 2011 and the 206-room Ibis Krabi has not set a date.
Michael Issenberg, the chairman and chief operating officer for Accor Asia Pacific, said that although the company had been affected by the economic recession, it believed it could overcome the problem. He said a strong sales team, worldwide network and variety of services would be the key drivers to run the business and compete with other rivals.
Personally, Issenberg said he believed the tourism and hotel business should be back to normal in the second half of this year. However, much depends on local and world economic conditions.
He said that a low cost of living, good location, rich culture and variety of destinations were Thailand's strengths.
He also noted that in Accor's major Super Sale global promotion, offering one million rooms in more than 300 hotels, Thailand ranked second in bookings with total reservations of 17,000 rooms or 20 percent of all sold rooms in the three-day promotion.
Krit Srichawla, the CEO of Fico Corporation, said that apart from the four properties to be managed by Accor, his company planned to form a new joint venture with a European fund to run a budget hotel in the third quarter of this year.
Krit said that if the deal could be finalised soon, each party would hold 50 percent in the new company. Initially, the company plans to open four to six hotels in the first year of operation, with as many as 40-50 hotels both locally and elsewhere in Southeast Asia within next five years. Locations will be resort destinations and urban areas, with room prices starting around 2,000 baht per night.
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Copyright (c) 2009, Bangkok Post, Thailand
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