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China Outbound Tourism Set to Jump More Than 25% This Year – State Media

BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese outbound tourism numbers are set to jump by more than 25% this year from 2020 but remain “basically at a standstill” compared to pre-pandemic levels, state broadcaster CCTV reported on Monday, citing official projections.

The dramatic drop in travellers from China, the world’s most populous nation, since the rapid spread of coronavirus early last year, has left a $255 billion annual spending hole in the global tourism market.

A total of 25.62 million Chinese tourist trips overseas are expected to be made in 2021, CCTV said, citing an annual report on outbound tourism from the China Tourism Academy, part of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

That is up from 20.334 million in 2020, which was itself an 86.9% plunge from a year earlier as the coronavirus outbreak led to severe restrictions on global travel.

This year’s projection, which includes trips to special administrative regions of China such as the gambling hub of Macau, will still be well below annual numbers of over 100 million before the pandemic hit, CCTV noted.

Macau, a former Portuguese colony, has become a “bright spot” for outbound tourism from mainland China due to effective virus prevention and control measures, CCTV said.

The pace of recovery in 2022 will depend on how other destinations handle tourism, it added.

China’s National Immigration Administration said this month it would continue to guide citizens not to go abroad for non-urgent and non-essential reasons.

Source: https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2021-11-22/china-outbound-tourism-set-to-jump-more-than-25-this-year-state-media

France’s Travel & Tourism Recovering Ahead of EU & Other World Countries

France’s travel and tourism sector has increased by 34.9 per cent this year, research from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) reveals.

The news was shared during the Destination France Summit, where WTTC also added that the sector’s growth noted this year is ahead of other European countries by 23.9 per cent and 30.7 per cent compared to the international stage, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

As WTTC shows, this recovery rate can bring France an additional €38 billion or a year-on-year growth of 35 per cent, which by 2022 is expected to stand at 21.8 per cent or about €38 billion.

According to Julia Simpson, WTTC’s CEO, France is recovering faster than other EU countries, but a long way ahead awaits the tourism and travel sector in the country.

“Last year the pandemic saw hundreds of thousands of jobs lost in France. This year employment remains flat, but we expect to see a big uptick in Travel and Tourism in France next year as long as the country remains open to vaccinated travellers,” Simpson noted.

As the Head of WTTC said, about 200,000 French residents lost their jobs last year, but employment is expected to remain on the same levels in 2021. Next year, the country expects a rise of 9.4 per cent, accounting for 236,000 job vacancies.

The same source shows that in 2020, the travel and tourism sector brought €108 billion to the country, accounting for 4.7 per cent of the national economy. This figure was 48.81 per cent less than 2019 when the sector brought €211 million (8.5 per cent) to the national economy.

In terms of the type of tourism, domestic travel has seen a surge in France during the last two years, but not enough to fully recover the economy and jobs lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The research also shows that domestic spending has increased by 56.6 per cent this year, but international spending is expected to mark a 1.9 per cent decrease by the end of the year.

In general, on a year-on-year basis, domestic spending is expected to increase by 9.9 per cent, whereas international spending can rebound by 67.8 per cent, as the vaccination campaigns have been implemented and employment rates have been restored to a point.

SchengenVisaInfo.com previously reported on the matter, revealing that a 35 per cent increase will be evident in France’s travel and tourism sector. The same source reported that the recovery would be evident sooner if the vaccination campaigns were fully implemented, a common digital solution to be standardised and for governments to recognise vaccine manufacturers.

Source: https://www.schengenvisainfo.com/news/frances-travel-tourism-recovering-ahead-of-eu-other-world-countries/

Country overview: Japanese hotel market to grow by 18,000 rooms

According to the TOPHOTELPROJECTS construction database, Japan will experience steady growth in the coming years, fuelled by expansion in Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo.

Our researchers report that 72 hotels with 17,730 rooms are currently in the pipeline across Japan. We take a closer look at the country’s development slate and highlight some schemes that are well worth keeping an eye on.

Japan’s hotel openings by year

Before 2021 draws to a close, five more hotels with 1,085 rooms will open their doors in Japan. For 2022, 28 launches with 4,733 keys have already been pencilled in, followed by another 14 schemes with 2,915 rooms in 2023. A further 25 projects and 8,997 keys are in the works for 2024 and beyond.

Of Japan’s 72 new hotels, 43 will be in the four-star category, while the remaining 29 are targeting the five-star market.

Top urban growth markets

Osaka, one of the country’s key economic hubs, will get eight new hotels in the coming years, adding 4,553 rooms to the city’s offering. Over half of this impressive figure stems from a single megaproject incidentally – the 2,500-key MGM Resort Osaka.

Elsewhere, and only a short drive from Osaka, the cultural hotspot of Kyoto will get seven new properties with 995 keys. And the capital Tokyo will see six hotels with 1,348 rooms open soon.

International hotel brands expanding in Japan

All three of Japan’s fastest-growing hotel brands hail from North America.

Fairfield Inn & Suites, by Marriott International, takes the lead with 11 active projects set to bring 900 new rooms into play. Fellow US giant Hilton Worldwide’s signature brand Hilton Hotels & Resorts, meanwhile, will add five properties and 1,747 keys to its offering in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Lastly, Canada-based Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts is currently working on three projects with 495 rooms.

Exciting new hotels in Japan’s project pipeline

Let’s start with Hoshino Resorts Omo7 Osaka Shin-Imamiya, which is due to open opposite a major train station in Q2, 2022. From here, guests will be able to easily reach Kansai International Airport as well as popular downtown areas. On top of its convenient location, the hotel will benefit from expansive green spaces, multiple restaurants, a cafeteria and open spaces for public events.

Over in the foothills of Mount Fuji, Unbound Collection by Hyatt, Fuji Speedway will offer guests convenient access to events at the new Motorsports Village facility. Once the property opens, it’ll feature 120 rooms and suites, a flexible banquet room of 500 sq m, a 200 sq m conference room, fine-dining restaurants, bars, an indoor pool, a fitness centre, a spa and natural onsen hot-spring bathing facilities. Guests will also be able to gain access to the onsite car museum, celebrating the historic significance of Fuji Speedway.

Finally, in early 2023, Four Seasons Resort and Private Residences Okinawa will begin welcoming guests. The 120-room resort is located on the beachfront along the island’s western coast, just 31 miles from Naha International Airport. Its facilities will include an all-day dining restaurant, specialty dining, a lounge, shops and recreational facilities, as well as public grounds and gardens.

Source: https://tophotel.news/country-overview-japanese-hotel-market-to-grow-by-18000-rooms-infographic/

2022 hotlist: Europe’s top three openings

Europe is set to debut hundreds of new hotel projects next year, with a total of 87,206 rooms expected across 535 openings – here’s our pick of three stellar schemes to watch out for.

We take a look at a trio of standout hotel schemes scheduled to complete in 2022 – an architecturally ambitious project in Frankfurt, a historic conversion in London and a landmark hotel for Belgrade.

Roomers Park View, Frankfurt

Developed by RFR and Hines in partnership with the Gekko Group, this under-construction hotel forms part of a mixed-use project consisting of two buildings: a 19-storey hotel tower and a 26-storey tower for condos with access to Roomers services. Located in Frankfurt’s Westend, Roomers Park View will afford impressive views over Grüneburgpark and the city’s skyline when it opens in late 2022.

The 136-key Roomers hotel will place the focus on suite accommodation and come with a host of amenities, including a special gastronomic concept, 19th-floor panoramic bar and 18th-floor spa. The project is being designed by architect KSP Engel, with interiors courtesy of Piero Lissoni.

Fulham Town Hall by Room2, London

The former Fulham Town Hall site, which is currently being restored by Ziser London, is set to enter a new era as a premium Room2 hometel. The hometel will span the property’s elegantly restored wings and a newly developed space, with Da Costa Mahindroo Architects and Corstorphine & Wright working on the architecture, juxtaposing innovative elements with the grade II*-listed building’s historic façade.

The interiors of Name Architecture promise to push the boundaries of artistic rebelliousness. On completion in the third quarter of 2022, it’ll house both event and co-working space, along with 90 guestrooms.

The St Regis Belgrade

A five-star newbuild, The St Regis Belgrade will occupy the first nine floors of Kula Belgrade, a 40-storey mixed-use tower within Eagle Hill’s huge Belgrade Waterfront development. The under-construction property is being designed by architectural firm SOM in London, with interiors by HOK’s London studio.

Expected to launch in the second quarter of 2022, the 119-key scheme will offer guests views over the city or River Sava, along with a destination restaurant at the top of the tower. There’ll also be an all-day dining restaurant and a St Regis Bar, inspired by the King Cole Bar at The St Regis New York. Among the other notable amenities being planned are a spa, a pool, a fitness centre and event space.

Source: https://tophotel.news/2022-hotlist-europes-top-three-openings/

Supports for Indigenous tourism businesses continue

Indigenous tourism businesses will receive another financial boost to aid in pandemic recovery and foster growth through the continued partnership of the Province and Indigenous Tourism BC.

“Back by popular demand, we are responding once again to the Call to Action from the Indigenous tourism sector,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. “These grants are reconciliation in action and support self-determination for Indigenous tourism businesses to showcase their territories, culture and people. Together with Indigenous Tourism BC, we are working to rebuild Indigenous-led tourism and return it to the thriving levels of growth we saw before the pandemic, resulting in a stronger future for everyone.”

The Province initially provided $5 million to Indigenous Tourism B.C. (ITBC) to create the BC Indigenous Tourism Recovery Fund. It is now is providing an additional $3 million for a second intake.

Launched in February 2021, the fund provides grants to Indigenous tourism businesses, including lodges and resorts, restaurants, outdoor adventure experiences, galleries and gift shops owned by Indigenous people. Recipients can use the funds to keep the lights on and pay rent or employee wages. The intake opening date for the second round of the recovery grant will be announced by ITBC in the coming weeks.

“ITBC has worked hard with stakeholders and provided a support system for businesses to continue operating during the pandemic,” said Brenda Baptiste, chair, Indigenous Tourism BC. “We are extremely grateful for the partnerships and work that we do with the tourism industry and the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport.”

For example, Ay Lelum, the Good House of Design on the Snuneymuxw First Nation in Nanaimo, used its grant to maintain its business.

“The ITBC grant process was well-developed and efficient, which allowed us to focus on doing the work that we do in sharing Coast Salish art and culture. The funds enabled us to maintain our business operations while developing our newest collections, resulting in our successful launch at New York Fashion Week in fall 2021,” said Aunalee Boyd-Good and Sophia Seward-Good, sisters, directors and designers of Ay Lelum, the Good House of Design, a second-generation Coast Salish design house. “With our Stqeeye’ Collection showcase, we were able to share Coast Salish art, music and culture on a global scale, and reach millions of viewers worldwide, benefiting our business and our community in a positive way.”

Quick Facts:

  • There are more than 480 Indigenous tourism businesses, within the 203 First Nations in British Columbia.
  • Prior to the pandemic, Indigenous tourism was the fastest-growing sector of the tourism industry. It generated $705 million in direct gross domestic output and created 7,400 direct full-time jobs.
  • 140 Indigenous tourism businesses received grants through the first round of the BC Indigenous Tourism Recovery Fund, which is a partnership with Indigenous Tourism BC.  
  • These grants have assisted in maintaining nearly 1,200 jobs in communities throughout B.C. in the past year.
  • The BC Indigenous Tourism Recovery Fund is part of the Province’s actions to support the recovery of the tourism industry.

Source: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2021TACS0065-002176

India opens to fully vaccinated foreign tourists

Restriction rollback marks the first time since March 2020 that India has allowed foreign tourists on commercial flights to enter the country.

India began allowing fully vaccinated foreign tourists to enter the country on regular commercial flights, in the latest easing of coronavirus restrictions as infections fall and vaccinations rise.

Tourists entering India, starting on Monday, must be fully vaccinated, follow all COVID-19 protocols and test negative for the virus within 72 hours of their flight, according to the health ministry. Many will also need to undergo a post-arrival COVID-19 test at the airport.

However, travellers from countries that have agreements with India for mutual recognition of vaccination certificates, such as the United States, United Kingdom and many European nations, can leave the airport without undergoing a COVID-19 test.

This is the first time India has allowed foreign tourists on commercial flights to enter the country since March 2020, when it imposed one of the toughest lockdowns in the world in an attempt to contain the pandemic. Fully vaccinated tourists on chartered flights were allowed to enter starting last month.

It came as coronavirus infections had fallen significantly, with daily new cases hovering at just above 10,000 for more than a month.

To encourage travellers to visit India, the government planned to issue 500,000 free visas through next March. The moves were expected to boost the tourism and hospitality sector which has been battered by the pandemic.

“The pandemic devastated the industry but things will return to normal once foreign tourists start to arrive,” said Jyoti Mayal, President of the Travel Agents Association of India.

Mayal said coastal states like Kerala and Goa in the country’s south and Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh in the Himalayan north are already witnessing a surge in domestic tourists. All four states are heavily dependent on earnings from tourism, and Mayal said foreign travellers scheduling their visits there would also help lift the local economy.

“Tourism is a very resilient industry and the upcoming season looks very promising. We are hopeful of generating more jobs than we lost during the pandemic,” she said.

With more than 35 million reported coronavirus infections, India is the second-worst-hit country after the US. Active coronavirus cases stand at 134,096, the lowest in 17 months, according to the health ministry.

Nearly 79 percent of India’s adult population has received at least one vaccine dose while 38 percent is fully vaccinated. The federal government has asked state administrations to conduct door-to-door campaigns to accelerate the vaccine campaign.

Fewer than three million foreign tourists visited India in 2020, a drop of more than 75 percent from 2019, when tourism brought nearly $30bn in earnings.

Source: https://www.aljazeera.com/economy/2021/11/15/india-opens-to-fully-vaccinated-foreign-tourists

Utopia Hospitality Group prepares for Phuket tourism growth

Announcing  a total 10  projects in new landmark projects in 5 years (with 3 in the pipeline) and also developing a ‘superhero’ team of senior executives, Utopia Corporation has expanded its business unit under the Utopia Hospitality Group (UHG) to introduce a new midscale hotel by October next year and is developing two landmark projects in Phuket worth a total 4 billion baht Mr Hachi Yin chief executive and founder of Utopia Corporation, said recently at the media launch in Bangkok’s plush embassy district.

UHG, its wholly owned hospitality management company, offers three brands under midscale “aparthotel” which merges apartment and hotel for flexible stays, as well as an upscale lifestyle resort and hotel focusing on wellbeing.

UHG will launch in Southeast Asia with premium midscale to ultra-luxury hospitality projects starting with the rebranding of the group’s existing properties in 2022.

UHG’s master plan covers the development of new landmarks at two prime locations in the north and south of Phuket. “Bay of Icons” is situated on Ao Por Bay on the island’s northern coast, while the second project, Utopia Dreams, is on Nai Harn beach on the island’s southwest coast.

The firm plans to introduce the two landmarks valued at 4 billion baht to attract international high-net-worth individuals, slated for the fourth quarter of 2025.

There is also an ultra-luxury brand under a collaboration with partners such as Tonino Lamborghini to introduce Tonino Lamborghini Boutique Hotel Phuket, slated for 2024.

Mr Yin said the first midscale hotel will open next October, followed by an upscale hotel in February 2023.

Utopia Corporation, founded in 2015, has real estate projects in Phuket under an investment budget of 8 billion baht and plans to list on the Stock Exchange of Thailand through an initial public offering by 2025.

Bay of Icons consists of Tonino Lamborghini Boutique Hotel Phuket, beach club and another hotel with a second partner in the field of ultra-luxury fashion brand.

Mr Yin said in his stage presentation that other famous destinations such as Bangkok, Singapore or Hollywood have landmarks, but there is no landmark in Phuket to attract ultra-luxury tourists to come and stay.

He estimates that the projects will coincide with a surge in tourism from 2023.

Source: https://www.traveldailymedia.com/utopia-hospitality-group-prepares-for-phuket-tourism-growth/

Big Data to measure the tourism sustainability of destinations

Mabrian expands its travel intelligence platform by adding a dashboard of sustainability indices for Smart Destinations. The new tourism sustainability dashboard uses big data analysis to measure a destination’s performance across multiple metrics. Index developed in collaboration with Mastercard and sus​tainability consultancy Ético.

SEVILLE, SPAIN –  Mabrian Technologies – a leading provider of travel intelligence – has launched the Global Sustainability Tourism Index at the Tourism Innovation Summit (TIS).

This new dashboard of indicators of tourism sustainability allows a destination to measure, compare and follow those factors that indicate sustainability for a destination.

In total the dashboard has six indices grouped together by concept, formed by more than 20 different indicators related to sustainability, that come together to make the Global Sustainability Tourism Index for destinations. 

Through these indices destinations can measure aspects such as the level of distribution of tourism income in the local economy, the concentration of the tourism offering in the locality, the dependence on long-haul source markets, any excessive seasonality or the perception that visitors have about the sustainability of the destination, amongst others. 

Additionally, destinations using this can add to those indicators in the dashboard their own data that they consider relevant to create a measurement even more complete that helps the development of sustainability. 

Carlos Cendra, Director of Sales & Marketing, comments: “Can tourism destinations really convert themselves into sustainable destinations without the tools necessary to measure their sustainability performance?   

“In this reinvention of the sector that we are seeing right now, sustainability is going to be the cornerstone of the reactivation of tourism under a model that is more aware of the issue.

But there is a big gap when it comes to tools and indicators that allow the measurement and monitoring of the evolution of those concepts on the part of those managing destinations and tourism companies. With this index we hope to change that.

Mabrian, in collaboration with its partner Mastercard, has developed a dashboard of indicators about tourism sustainability based on the observation of global data, that can be tracked and corroborated in stable manner over time. 

Mabrian has a wide range of experience in extracting indicators of tourism trends based on big data analysis of diverse sources. With this latest development it complements the wide range of tourism indices, including Tourist Product; Perceived Security; Perceived Climate; Hotel Satisfaction; and Global Tourist Perception.

For the definition of these indicators Mabrian has also counted on the advice and collaboration of the consultancy Ético, specialists in tourism sustainability, that has brought its experience in how to define a sustainable destination. 

Laura Garrido, founder of ético comments: “The challenge for tourism destinations is to understand and monitor the indicators that affect their sustainability. Only through data and their correct analysis can they plan adequate actions for the sustainable transformation of their destination. At ético we believe that this tool is key and necessary for taking decisions and the creation of sustainable tourism destinations.”

Mabrian has announced this news within the international summit dedicated to innovation in tourism that is taking place in Seville, Spain between the 10th and 12th of November, the Tourism Innovation Summit (TIS).

 Alex Villeyra, Operations Director at Mabrian, presented  the dashboard CET in the main auditorium of the Tourism Innovation Summit (TIS), with participants including Antonio Muñoz, responsible for urban habitat, culture and tourism at the Seville city council, a pioneering destination in the application of such indices; Caroline Leboucher, Director of ATOUT France; and Nicola Villa, Executive Vice President of Government Relations & Strategic Growth at Mastercard. 

Source: https://www.traveldailynews.com/post/big-data-to-measure-the-tourism-sustainability-of-destinations

Retailers hail lifting of travel ban, return of international tourists with hopes of sales rebound

As the holiday shopping season picks up, retailers across the country hope to get a lift from another wave of spenders: international tourists who can visit the U.S. once again

Starting Monday, the Biden administration will allow visitors from abroad into the country again. Most foreign travelers from more than 30 countries, including the U.K. and Brazil, have been restricted since early 2020, as Covid-19 cases rose globally. Visitors must be fully vaccinated against Covid and have a negative Covid test within three days before departure. Exemptions apply to travelers under the age of 18, if they have medical reasons preventing them from getting a vaccine, or are traveling from one of 50 countries with low vaccine availability.

For retailers, the policy is a much-awaited change that may help them fill up stores and ring up bigger sales again. At stake are billions of dollars that tourists spend on not only souvenirs, but luxury handbags, high-end makeup, top-shelf liquor and other items they often can’t find at home. Global visitors fueled more than $43.4 billion of shopping in 2019 — or 27% of the total shopping driven by travel and tourism, according to the International Trade Administration.

Yet retail experts and companies say it will take time for tourists to return to the U.S. and spend at post-pandemic levels. Airlines still have fewer flights. Other countries, including China, tightly restrict outbound travel. And pandemic-related logistics, from long lines at the airport to show proof at vaccination to Covid test when returning home, could delay travelers from booking a trip.

“Airlines will tell you that they are seeing a surge in booking. What they don’t quantify is when. Hotels will tell you is they’re seeing an uptick in bookings. What they won’t tell you is when,” said Daniel Binder, a partner for Columbus Consulting who focuses on travel retail. “The ban will lift, and it will take time.”

Binder saw the spending power of international tourists — especially Chinese tourists — up close as a longtime executive at DFS, a luxury goods travel retailer that’s owned by LVMH. He said he also saw the many months it took for global tourists to flock back and spend freely after other challenging periods, including the 9/11 terrorism attacks and the SARS outbreak.

Still, National Retail Federation CEO Matt Shay said there is a feeling of optimism as the ban lifts. He said that as Americans feel comfortable booking trips, dining out and having more active lives, they are also shopping. As international tourists visit, that will “give a jolt to the retail side,” too, he said.

“The return to the service and the experience economy is going to be positive and beneficial for retail and it’s going to be enhanced furthermore by these international visitors returning to the U.S.,” he said Wednesday on a call with reporters.

‘Shot in the arm’ for New York City

International shoppers will be a key ingredient needed for New York City’s recovery. During a typical year, visitors from other countries spend an estimated $4.75 billion on shopping, according to NYC & Company, the city’s tourism board.

Shopping is the most popular activity for people visiting the city from other countries — with 88% of international visitors saying they participate, according to a 2018 survey by the Department of Commerce. That’s compared to 86% who participate in sightseeing, 54% who go to art galleries and museums and 29% who experience fine dining.

In contrast, less than 30% of tourists from other parts of the U.S. shop when they are in New York City.

“It’s a pivotal milestone in our recovery, for sure,” said Chris Heywood, executive vice president of global communications at NYC & Company. “Welcoming back the international traveler is exactly the shot in the arm that New York City needs right now.”

In the coming days, Heywood said the tourism group will unveil a project with Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and other retailers to incentivize visitors to return to their stores. Over the next few months, he said the group plans to spend $6 million across the globe on advertising about New York City. He said that money will be concentrated in countries that have loosened their policies in a way that makes it easier for their citizens to leave and return home. These include South Korea, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Germany, France and Italy. Places where restrictions are till very tight, such as China, will not be part of the advertising campaign.

Heywood said New York City benefits from having many shopping districts that are themselves tourist destinations — such as Fifth Avenue, Times Square and Hudson Yards — along with attractions like Broadway shows and art museums.

“This is a chance to actually get back to this notion of that shopping experience and having the bragging rights to say ‘I bought that on Fifth Avenue’ or ‘I bought that in New York,’” he said. “That’s something people have not been able to have.”

Still, he said it will take years to build back up the city’s tourism and shopping revenue. The group expects about 2.8 million international visitors to come to New York City this year, compared with 13.5 million international visitors in 2019. Next year, it expects international visitors to triple to about 8.5 million and by 2024, it expects international tourism to roughly match pre-pandemic levels.

“We’re hoping to accelerate that timeline as much as possible,” he said.

‘We don’t see tremendous movement’

Some retailers said they don’t expect the lifted travel restrictions to result in an immediate jump in sales. For many companies, especially those outside of the luxury space, the market doesn’t make up a significant chunk of their businesses. Department store chain Macy’s, for example, said that international tourists accounted for just about 4% of sales in 2019.

Capri Holdings, which owns Michael Kors and Jimmy Choo, believes that some international tourists will book trips to the U.S. in the coming weeks. But CEO John Idol noted on an earnings conference call on Wednesday that there was only a minor return among international tourists into Europe, after travel restrictions were lifted. And there has been no return into Japan nor Korea, he said.

“In our forecast, we don’t see tremendous movement changing our trajectory at least in next fiscal year,” Idol said.

For a company like Tiffany, however, it could be worth the extra effort to try to court international visitors back to its U.S. stores. The jewelry chain, now owned by LVMH, typically sees about 12% of sales domestically coming from foreign tourists.

This holiday season, Tiffany has opened a pop-up shop in the West Village neighborhood of Manhattan, which pays homage to the legendary Tiffany designer Jean Schlumberger. The space, which features a number of Instagram friendly backdrops and activities for visitors such as painting, is open to the public from Monday until Jan. 8.

It’s the mall operators — some of the most challenged by stay-at-home trends in 2020 and consumers shifting into e-commerce — that say they expect to see a boon to traffic as foreigners return.

“We still think that there’s another leg up if we get the international tourist that we haven’t seen for a couple — two, three — years,” Simon Property Group CEO David Simon told analysts on an earnings conference call held Monday.

Simon’s malls include The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, The Galleria mall in Houston, as well as a number of premium outlet centers.

Over in New Jersey, the American Dream megamall is antsy for foreigners to visit. A portion of the 3 million-square-foot development first opened to the public in October 2019. But it was shut down shortly after due to pandemic restrictions. When it had first kicked open American Dream’s doors in the fall of 2019, operator Triple Five Group told CNBC the megamall would draw 40 million visitors annually, many of them foreigners. It has likely only since seen a sliver of that.

American Dream is ramping up its efforts to court tourists to New Jersey’s Meadowlands in preparation for Monday. The megamall has a team entirely dedicated to tourism that is corresponding with travel agencies and helping visitors book trips to the development.

“American Dream was always designed to be a top global tourism destination,” said Jill Renslow, executive vice president of marketing at Triple Five. “We’re also working with New Jersey … making sure we’re showcasing all the things that New Jersey has to offer.”

The fact that sales of clothing and footwear in New Jersey are generally tax exempt should be another appealing factor for foreign visitors to head to the state, she said.

Just last month, the first round of luxury retailers — including Saks Fifth Avenue, Hermes and Dolce & Gabbana — opened up at American Dream. These high-end shops also have their own wing within the megamall, which includes a separate escalator entrance for buses that are there to transport tourists and their shopping bags.

Jeweler David Yurman has laid the groundwork during the pandemic to grow its international sales. It has 45 stores in the U.S. and a handful in Canada, but has partnerships with jewelry and department stores in other parts of the globe.

Over the past year and a half, it has launched dedicated websites in other countries and kickstarted initiatives to woo more Chinese customers, David Yurman head of marketing Lee Tucker said. It started to sell a limited collection through social media and messaging app, WeChat, he said.

Tucker said that salespeople at the jewelers’ stores know how to speak numerous languages, including Mandarin, Arabic and Farsi, so they can welcome tourists and make them feel at home.

Starting this month, a double-decker bus wrapped in the company’s advertisement is driving to destinations like Rodeo Drive and Newport Beach, where international tourists may see it and get inspired to shop.

“We’re holding our breath to understand how international tourists are going to come back to our cities and which groups are going to travel here first,” he said.

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/11/07/retailers-hail-lifting-of-travel-ban-return-of-international-tourists-with-hopes-of-sales-rebound.html

Asia tourism reopens with big-spending Chinese stuck at home

Asia’s gradual easing of international travel curbs is proving a welcome relief for the region’s hard-hit tourism operators slowly opening up to visitors from around the world – with one giant exception.

China, previously the world’s largest outbound tourism market, is keeping international air capacity at just 2% of pre-pandemic levels and has yet to relax tight travel restrictions as it sticks to zero tolerance for COVID-19.

That has left a $255 billion annual spending hole in the global tourism market for operators such as Thailand’s Laguna Phuket to try and fill.

Managing director Ravi Chandran says Laguna Phuket’s five resorts have shifted their marketing focus to Europe, the United States and United Arab Emirates to make up for the loss of Chinese visitors, who accounted for 25%-30% of its pre-COVID business.

“Up to today, we have not done significant marketing or promotion in China … because we don’t feel anything coming our way,” Chandran said.

The pandemic has cost Thailand an estimated $50 billion a year in tourism revenue and Chinese were above-average spenders based on tourism ministry data.

Thailand hopes to receive 180,000 foreign tourists this year, a fraction of around 40 million it received in 2019, as it opened places beyond Phuket to tourists on Monday.

Many experts expect China to keep such stringent measures such as up to a three-week quarantine for those returning home until at least the second quarter of next year and possibly then open gradually on a country-by-country basis.

“Destinations have to identify new source markets and learn how to market and cater to different cultures,” Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Chief Executive Liz Ortiguera said, citing the Maldives as a rare example of a successful pivot during the pandemic.

The string of islands in the Indian Ocean promoted itself heavily at trade shows and attracted more Russian and Indian visitors to its luxury resorts and sparkling waters.

China had been its greatest source of tourists before the pandemic but the Maldives saw overall arrivals in the first nine months of 2021 fall just 12% versus the same period of 2019.

“When we realised that Chinese travellers weren’t coming to the Maldives any time soon, we switched our focus to other key markets including Russia,” said a spokesperson for COMO Hotels and Resorts, which has two Maldives resorts.

CHINA TOURISM EVOLVES

Travel data firm ForwardKeys estimates it will take until 2025 for Chinese outbound travel to recover to pre-pandemic levels. That will also force airlines to re-evaluate their routes given its data shows 38% of Chinese tourists took foreign carriers in 2019.

Even as Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia’s Bali gradually open up for international travellers, Thai Airways (THAI.BK) and Garuda Indonesia (GIAA.JK) are drastically shrinking their fleets as part of restructuring plans amid the absence of Chinese tourists.

When China does open its borders, industry surveys show a reluctance by many to travel internationally due to COVID-19 fears.

There has also been a boom in domestic holidays to Hainan Island which now offers duty free shopping in a threat to future visits to nearby destinations such as Hong Kong and South Korea.

“I honestly do not have much enthusiasm for international travel,” said at Kat Qi, 29, a researcher in Beijing who travelled to Southeast Asia and Britain before the pandemic. “A lot of places that I wanted to visit are in less developed countries with gorgeous natural scenery and they tend to be the least vaccinated countries.”

Her preference for natural scenery is also a trend emerging in surveys of Chinese travellers. Many are focused on the outdoors at a time when domestic camping holidays have become popular and tourism operators will need to adapt accordingly, experts say.

“The market will have changed so the Chinese people travelling in 2022 will be different from the Chinese travelling in 2019,” said Wolfgang Georg Arlt, CEO of the China Outbound Tourism Research Institute. “I think the trends will go away from this shopping and rushing around.”

Large group tours that have also fallen out of favour on domestic trips could also be a thing of the past, to be replaced by independent travel and smaller customised tours with family and friends, said Sienna Parulis-Cook, director of marketing and communications at advisory firm Dragon Tail International.

“You might have organised travel and everything but it would be with a small group of people that you know, rather than 50 strangers on a tour bus,” she said.

Source: https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/asia-tourism-reopens-with-big-spending-chinese-stuck-home-2021-11-03/