China’s luxury hotel market growing due to increasing affluence in the country

China‘s luxury hotel market is growing – thanks to increasing affluence in the country and an influx of high-end corporate travellers.

And one company that is tapping into this market is Raffles Hotels and Resorts.

Raffles recently launched its flagship property in China and is already planning for more such hotels.

Raffles Hotels and Resorts has just refurbished a historic hotel in Beijing, turning it into the Raffles Beijing, a luxurious hotel with over 170 guest rooms and suites.

The property is owned by government-linked Beijing Tourism Group, but managed by Raffles.Raffles is one of the first players to enter Beijing’s luxury hotel sector.

Michael Ong, Corporate Director, Business Development, Fairmont Raffles Hotels International, said, “…I think before Raffles was opened there was only a St Regis. So this is the second luxury hotel into the market. After this, a couple more will open. So right now I think we are competing directly with St Regis and we are doing well.”

The company says there are also plenty of investment opportunities outside the Chinese capital.

Thomas Storey, Executive Vice-President, Development, Fairmont Raffles Hotels International, said, “There are five or six key markets already in China that are already supporting luxury hotels and we think represent that opportunity in the future. Markets like Shanghai…Macau (are) increasingly growing in prominence…So we see those markets as key opportunities today.

“A market like Tianjin is more of an emerging market (and) probably will have luxury hotels within the next five to 10 years, but there are none existing today.”

The growth is a result of the increasing wealth in China.

Mr Storey said, “With the growth of the Chinese consumer and the affluence that’s being built in the region overall, we think both for inbound and outbound travellers, that there will be an increasing number of cities that probably support a luxury hotel going forwards.”

Outbound Chinese travellers present a huge market for hoteliers.

One example is Canada, which was recently given approved travel destination status by the Chinese government.

This means the country is open to Chinese tourists and for hotels, this means big business.

Raffles Hotels and Resort’s parent company, Fairmont Raffles Hotels International, owns significant assets in Canada.

It expects business there to grow by 20-25 percent per year.

Source: Channel NewsAsia, 06 December 2006 

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