The Chinese government is investing heavily into myriad markets throughout the Caribbean region, and a representative from the country said during the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference that he expects investment from the private sector to follow.
The most prominent Chinese investment project is the Baha Mar resort, which is under construction on Cable Beach in the Bahamas, just south of eastern Florida. Baha Mar is the first tourism project outside China for the state-owned Export-Import Bank of China and general contractor China State Construction and Engineering Corporation. The project, which is being financed by a 20-year, US$2.4-billion loan from the Export-Import Bank as well as a US$150-million investment from China State Construction and Engineering, broke ground in late February.
The Caribbean should also expect an influx in outbound travel from China. To capitalize, hoteliers should convey their marketing messages in the Chinese language and reach out to potential tourists through online channels, particularly the China Wide Web.
• Read “Chinese supply, demand making waves in Caribbean.”
A number of reports came out during the past few days highlighting hotel performance in various world regions. Here’s a brief rundown:
Europe: Overall hotel spending in Europe grew 7% in 2010, with a further 4% growth in the first quarter of this year, according to data released today by American Express Business Insights. Growth has been driven by tourists from outside of Europe returning to the region, increased spending in luxury hotels and a rebound in business travel. Generation Y travelers have proven to be particularly resilient. They largely defied the downturn and are showing a clear appetite for luxury spending.
Asia/Pacific: The Asia/Pacific travel market surged 17% in 2010, surpassing the U.S. to become the second largest regional travel market worldwide, according to a new report by PhoCusWright. Rising Internet access and an organic shift toward Internet purchasing will help propel strong double-digit growth in APAC's online leisure/unmanaged business market through 2012, when gross bookings will reach US$70.6 billion.
Qatar: The hotel industry in Qatar reported a 10% rise in occupancy during the first quarter of 2011, boosted by the Asian Football Cup and other major events held in Doha, according to data from the Qatar Tourism Authority. Average occupancy rates during the first three months of 2011 were 68%, compared to 59% a year earlier, reports hotelmanagement-network.com. Due to the Asian Football Cup held in Doha, the rate of occupancy in January 2011 was 24% higher than the same period last year.
Spanish hotel operator Sol Meliá announced its Q1 results. The company’s portfolio swung to an 11.5% increase in RevPAR, due primarily to strong growth in Latin America, the Canary Islands and major European cities. Average daily rate grew 4.1%.
Sol Meliá also reported a 28.9% growth in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, as well as a net profit increase from €1 million (US$1.43 million) during the first quarter of 2010 to €4.6 million (US$6.56 million) during the first quarter of 2011.
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers increased 0.4% in April on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 3.2% before seasonal adjustment.
In other labor statistics news, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted, initial U.S. unemployment claims was 434,000, a decrease of 44,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 478,000. The four-week moving average was 436,750, an increase of 4,500 from the previous week's revised average of 432,250.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 3% for the week ending 30 April, unchanged from the prior week's unrevised rate of 3%.
Compiled by Patrick Mayock.