‘Room boom’ set to change face of Australian hotel sector

‘Room boom’ set to change face of Australian hotel sector A hotel building boom is set to change the face of Australia’s hotel industry, with some 120 hotel projects in the pipeline, which will grow the accommodation stock by 30% between 2016 and 2021.

This year saw Australia pass the 100,000 room mark and it is forecast that over 4000 rooms will be added in 2017, and 5000 rooms in 2018, transforming every capital city across the country with new properties ranging from 500+-room internationally branded luxury properties to intimate boutique hotels.

To overcome the lack of land in cities and high cost of construction, hotel developers have become savvy, often converting existing buildings to hotel use. For instance, the stylish QT Hotel in Melbourne was created out of the owner’s Greater Union cinemas on Russell Street, while the art-deco Metropolitan Water and Sewerage Board building in Sydney’s Pitt Street now has a far more salubrious role as the city’s newest 5-star hotel, the Primus.

The last time Australia saw such increases in hotel accommodation was prior to the 2000 Olympics, when there was growth of 7,500 rooms between 1998 and 2000, but the room boom was followed by a dramatic bust, with faltering international and domestic economic conditions, wars and airline collapses all contributing to the downturn.

On this occasion, Australia’s peak accommodation body, Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA) believes that a unique combination of circumstances will not only soak up the supply but enable Australia to attract a vast new audience of high-end tourists, business travellers, and conference and incentive groups.

Chair of TAA, Martin Ferguson, was Minister for Tourism in 2010, when he announced Australia’s Tourism 2020 goals. The addition of 40,000 new rooms over the decade was identified as a crucial ingredient in achieving the targets set for the industry.

“We recognised at the start of the decade that we needed to significantly revitalise and rejuvenate the tourism industry’s infrastructure and upgrading hotel stock was a key priority,” said Mr Ferguson.

“With almost double digit growth in visitor arrivals – particularly from China – we are well on the way to achieving our visitor targets, and this growth will be sustainable in the long term with such high quality new accommodation being added across the country, complemented by major infrastructure projects such as airports, convention centres and urban redevelopment.”

Mr Ferguson said the turning point for Australia was 2014, with the mining cities – Perth, Adelaide, Darwin and Brisbane – the first to see a revival interest from hotel developers, with 10,000 rooms added since then. And while the resources sector may have plateaued, international and domestic leisure tourism has largely filled the vacuum, with governments investing heavily in tourism infrastructure to ensure the momentum is maintained.

In Western Australia, the Premier has added the role of Tourism Minister, and under his watch the city centre is being transformed. Como The Treasury was created out of a former heritage government building, while a 120 room Peppers Hotel has just opened in the city centre, along with the re-launched Holiday Inn Perth City Centre, following a $25 million upgrade.

In 2017, new hotels will include an InterContinental, Doubletree by Hilton, and the first Aloft hotel in Australia. In the lead up to 2020, Westin and QT hotels are scheduled along with a Ritz Carlton in the Elizabeth Quay urban regeneration project.

Brisbane’s hotel scene hasn’t seen the current level of construction since the the city prepared to hold World Expo in 1988. Between 2016 and 2019, the city will absorb over 3000 new rooms (a 30% addition), transforming the city’s hotel landscape.

Already this year, 1000 new rooms have been added, including Ibis, Rydges, Mantra, the Art Series and Swiss Belhotel, and between 2017 – 2019, brands such as Holiday Inn Express. W, Adina, Westin, Peppers, Novotel and Emporium will add a further 2000 rooms.

Airports have become a central point for hotel development, transforming ‘one-night only’ precincts into ‘aerocity’ destinations in their own right. Sydney Airport saw a 5-star Pullman open this year, Brisbane will get new Pullman and Ibis hotels next year, the opening of the Vibe hotel at Canberra Airport was followed by the start of international air services to Canberra, and Adelaide and Perth airports have plans for new hotels.

Queensland’s coastal destinations such as Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Cairns are experiencing some of the highest occupancy increases in the country on the back of record-breaking international and domestic leisure business. The Gold Coast has close to 500 rooms scheduled to open in the lead up to the 2018 Commonwealth Games, including a 6-star addition to Jupiters and Wanda Dalian Group’s Acopy billion Jewel towers project. Westin announced a new resort on the Sunshine Coast, which has just been added to Australia’s international airport network.

Darwin may have suffered most of all by the resources slow down, but new hotel supply has led to the renaissance of leisure tourism to the Top End, with a proposal for a new 5-star Westin highlighting the optimism.

In Canberra, the launch of a collection of style-driven boutique hotels – such as Hotel Hotel, Realm and Little National – has underpinned the national capital’s ‘hip’ new image.

Adelaide has attracted a new wave of hotels catering for upmarket travellers visiting for the city’s food, arts, events and sport, with the re-developed Adelaide Oval a major catalyst for tourism growth.

Holiday Inn Express is scheduled to open in 2017, while at the top end of the spectrum, Sheraton and Sofitel hotels are expected to launch in the following two years. Out of town, Mantra will manage the $40 million Wallaroo Shores Resort when it opens on South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula in the second half of 2017. The 100 room resort is part of a $220 development that aims to establish Wallaroo as a premium beachside destination.

Tasmania has enjoyed some of the strongest increases in leisure travel in recent years, built on what is being termed the ‘MONA effect’ – the influence of the uber-trendy Museum of Old and New Art. Such has been in its impact on tourism that owner David Walsh has proposed a new 160 room hotel cheekily dubbed HOtelMOna, which would also contain a function centre and spa.

The opening this month of Sydney’s International Convention Centre has signalled an unparalleled revolution in the city’s hotel stock, after a ‘drought’ that followed the 2000 Olympics.

Already $2.3 billion worth of hotel projects – and 3000 rooms – have been approved for the Sydney city area, with a further copy.9 billion of projects proposed and in advanced stages of planning.

A focal point for the dramatic hotel growth is Darling Harbour, where one of the largest new hotel developments in over 20 years – the Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour – will open in the final quarter of 2017, while the $700 million Ribbon Hotel and Residences project (which will include a W Hotel) is under construction on the former IMAX site.

On the city side of Darling Harbour, Australia’s largest hotel – the Four Points by Sheraton – is adding 222 rooms to increase its inventory to 892 rooms, while also rebranding to Hyatt Regency.

Hotel development has also extended to the Greater Sydney region with Parramatta and western Sydney expected to receive up to ten new hotels, including pioneering 5-star hotels, and there has been significant new hotel development in Bondi, at Sydney Airport Macquarie Park and Chatswood over the past year.

One of the most exciting aspects of Sydney’s hotel revolution has been the diversity of hotel projects, with the wave of new internationally-branded 5-star hotels complemented by a collection of personality-driven boutique hotels such as the Old Clare at Central Park, QT in Bondi, Hotel Harry in Surry Hills, and Hotel Palisade adjacent to Barangaroo. They will be joined in 2017 by a Spicers Retreats hotel, which is being created out of three terraces in Victoria Street, Potts Point.

Melbourne has been the one city in Australia to see constant growth in hotel rooms over the past decade, on the back of its highly successful events strategy, population growth and vibrant economy.

The development pipeline is continuing with over 5000 rooms under construction or planned in the five years to 2021, starting with a Four Points by Sheraton opening in March 2017, followed by W and Ritz Carlton hotels in 2018.

“There has never been a stronger vote of confidence in the Australian hotel industry than what we are seeing currently,” said TAA Chair, Martin Ferguson.

“Investment in hotel development is coming from around the world, with China one of the leading sources of finance because Australia has proven to be a safe and reliable country for both their tourists and investors.

“It has been important to get the fundamentals right to ensure the boom is sustainable. That has meant having tourism infrastructure in place such as new and upgraded airport precincts, new convention centres and stadia, along with expanded airline schedules, free trade agreements and a lower Australian dollar. All of these fundamentals are in place, and we are already seeing the benefits.

“There may be excess hotel capacity in some cities in the short-term, but this will be to the benefit of travellers through greater availability, and the increased capacity will enable cities to compete for large conferences, exhibitions and events.

“What is so encouraging about this record-breaking phase is that the projects range from luxury international brand names to intimate boutique hotels traversing a vast range of styles and price points. It counters any arguments for additional stock by unregulated commercial short-term accommodation operators, who have exploited grey legislative areas to establish quasi hotels in CBDs and other tourist hot-spots.

“The hotel and tourism sector is leading the way in the Australian economy in delivering economic and jobs growth, and we will be looking to governments to maintain their support for the industry by promoting tourism and conferences, encouraging employment and training in the industry, and cracking down on commercial unregulated short-term accommodation.”


Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour

Opening Q4 2017

This is the hotel Sydney has been waiting for – the first new built 5-star hotel in almost twenty years that will underpin the $3.4 billion redevelopment of Darling Harbour. Located next to the new International Convention Centre, the $360 million, 590 room Sofitel, designed by Sydney architect Richard Francis-Jones, is encased in a lacework glass facade, and topped with a rooftop pool deck (and a heliport, if owner Dr Jerry Schwartz gets his way).


Four Points by Sheraton Melbourne Docklands

Opening 28 March, 2017

The Digital Harbour precinct of Docklands is set to become a new accommodation hub for Melbourne with three major hotels announced, starting with the launch in March of the Four Points by Sheraton. A striking, contemporary high-rise, the hotel will feature 273 rooms and suites with harbour and city views, a heated, outdoor swimming pool and a large function and conference centre. With Etihad Stadium just across the way, the Four Points will open just in time for the AFL season.


Aloft Hotel Perth

Opening 1 May 2017

Perth will provide the Australian debut for Starwood’s Aloft brand, which is designed to appeal to ‘next generation’ travellers, with technology to the fore, New York loft style rooms, a buzzy, Re:mix communal lobby lounge and living area, a grab and go cafe called  and Re:fuel, and their signature W XYZ bar, which will host live music from local artists. The ‘Cool Concierge’ tablets provide access to local attractions, while children receive ‘Camp Aloft’ packs and special treats.


Sage Hotel James Street, Fortitude Valley

Opening mid-2017

Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley has become the epicentre for hip and happening hotels in Brisbane, with the James Street dining and entertainment precinct transforming the once red light district. The Sage hotel is set to join the district’s eclectic collection of hotels from mid-year and will have the benefit of the revitalised Queens Arms (the QA) next to it. The Sage – part of the Silverneedle group – will offer 93 rooms, a restaurant, boutique wine cellar on the ground level, and fast and free wifi.


Holiday Inn Express Hindley Street

Opening Q3 2017

Great value in a prime CBD location is what Holiday Inn Express is all about. Light, bright and perfect for business or leisure, the 245 room hotel is located in Hindley Street, one of Adelaide’s premier thoroughfares and surrounded by the city’s best restaurants and shopping. Signature inclusions such as free wifi, express breakfast options and self-service business centre and laundry make this a perfect option for visitors who want great value accommodation to experience the buzz of the city.

Source = Tourism Accommodation Australia

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Australia’s biggest hotel opens in central Sydney









The largest hotel in Australia officially opened last night on schedule, with a lavish function in its new Maritime Ballroom followed by a surprise cruise on Sydney Harbour that saw the hotel illuminated.

Hyatt Regency Sydney will have 892 rooms at the end of this month, when its new 24-storey, 222-room tower opens. That makes it easily Australia’s largest hotel, judged by number of rooms. “The largest premium hotel,” is the positioning.

In its former incarnation, as Four Points by Sheraton, Darling Harbour, the property had 630 rooms. The additional rooms relegate Australia’s former biggest hotel, The Towers of Chevron Renaissance, Gold Coast (707 rooms) into second position. Crown Metropol, Melbourne (658 rooms) now moves into third place.

Hyatt’s group president Asia Pacific, David Udell, said last night the new Hyatt Regency was well positioned for the corporate market, being in Sydney’s CBD. It will also suit the leisure market.

Additionally, as the Hyatt Regency Sydney’s hotel manager, Assumpta McDonald, pointed out, the new hotel will suit the cruise market. Cruising is booming into Sydney and cruises coupled with hotel stays are highly popular.

Hyatt previously pledged that the hotel, located at 161 Sussex Street, would be rebranded to Hyatt Regency Sydney at midnight on 30 November 2016, marking the Hyatt Regency brand’s return to Sydney. It met the deadline.


Hyatt Regency Sydney enters the Australian market during a time of growing demand for business, Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) and leisure travel. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the market saw 7.6 million visitor arrivals for the year ending February 2016, an increase of 9% compared to the previous year.

“Hyatt hotels have been operating in Australia for more than 30 years, providing a solid foundation for future growth in what is a dynamic market,” Udell commented.

“This hotel will resonate with business and leisure travellers alike, and furthermore, we believe this hotel will be a leader in providing outstanding exhibition and function spaces so meeting planners can enable attendees to have a great experience.”


The hotel has introduced a 272-seat all-day dining restaurant,  building on Hyatt’s history of culinary excellence and featuring the only hotel rooftop bar in Sydney and a Regency Club lounge with stunning panoramic views of the harbour.

The hotel offers more than 3450 square metres of meeting spaces for events, including two ballrooms that can seat more than 1000 people, which will be part of the new pillarless convention centre with panoramic views of Darling Harbour.

Read full storey here > http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/titanic-replica-construction-begins-in-china/news-story/af2dae44f8d0efd57178026d606dc8c9?utm_source=The%20Australian&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=editorial


Titanic replica construction begins in China


Doomed for failure? A rendering of Titanic II – the project announced by Clive Palmer in 2013. Picture: Blue Star Line/AP

Construction of the world’s first full-size replica of the Titanic has begun in China, state media reported on Thursday, where it is expected to enjoy smoother sailing as a lakeside tourist draw than its namesake.


Afloat: The base of a Titanic replica is laid by staff in Suining, China, yesterday. Picture: VCG/Getty

The 269-metre long, 28-metre wide ship will be docked permanently on a reservoir in a rural area of Sichuan province, the official Xinhua news agency cited a senior executive of the shipbuilder as saying.

It will feature an interior reproducing some of the grandeur of the original including a ballroom, theatre, swimming pool and first-class cabins, with the addition of Wi-Fi, said Wuchang Shipbuilding Industry Group’s deputy general manager Wang Weiling.

In 2013, Clive Palmer unveiled plans to build a replica of the Titanic that could actually take to sea and would seek to complete the original ship’s doomed Atlantic crossing, but that project has reportedly run aground amid funding difficulties.


Clive’s Titanic ambition

A keel-laying ceremony complete with confetti and fireworks was held on Wednesday, attended by former British government minister and EU trade commissioner Peter Mandelson.

The supposedly unsinkable ocean liner, which struck an iceberg and went down in the north Atlantic in 1912, killing more than 1,500 people, is a subject of immense fascination for many in China.

Interest became particularly intense after the 1997 movie starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, which was hugely popular in China. Director James Cameron had a 90 per cent scale replica vessel built for filming purposes.


Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in 1997 film Titanic. Picture: AFP

The new ship will be the centrepiece of a theme park hundreds of kilometres from China’s coast bankrolled by Chinese energy company Seven Star Energy Investment Group.

The company first announced plans for the 1 billion yuan (AU$202 million) project in 2014.

The ship’s design is based on the original, and construction will involve assistance from US and British designers and technicians, Xinhua said.

AFP was unable to immediately reach the companies involved.

Domestic tourism is booming in China, promoted by the government as a way of fuelling consumer-driven growth rather than its decades-old model of investment and industry.

Theme parks are being built in the country faster than anywhere else in the world, with more than 300 projects reportedly funded in recent years.

Read more here > http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/titanic-replica-construction-begins-in-china/news-story/af2dae44f8d0efd57178026d606dc8c9?utm_source=The%20Australian&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=editorial

Air NZ Christmas song attracts 3.6m views in 24hrs

Air New Zealand’s fresh take on one of the world’s iconic Christmas songs is hitting the right note with audiences worldwide, attracting 3.6 million global hits on the airline’s online video in its first day.

Summer Wonderland stars multi-platinum artist Ronan Keating and Kiwi acting star Julian Dennison in a downunder twist on the festive classic Walking in a Winter Wonderland. The track has featured in global media outlets including MTV, the Daily Mail, Mashable and the Irish Mirror in the first 24 hours since its premiere.

“Every year we’re inundated with Christmas carols about frightful weather and roaring fireplaces yet for our half of the world this doesn’t describe Christmas at all,” said Air New Zealand general manager global brand and content marketing, Jodi Williams.

“With Summer Wonderland we’ve set out to balance the scales with a song that celebrates everything that makes a Kiwi Christmas special.

“It’s exciting to see millions enjoying Ronan and Julian’s comedy duo and we hope it will inspire travellers to come down and see for themselves that you don’t need winter to enjoy our wonderland.”

Read more at http://www.etbtravelnews.com

Cathay Pacific first to bring new Airbus A350 to Brisbane

cathay-pacific-first-to-bring-new-airbus-a350-to-brisbaneCathay Pacific first to bring new Airbus A350 to Brisbane   

Cathay Pacific first to bring new Airbus A350 to Brisbane Brisbane travellers will soon be able to experience the comfort and technological advances of the world’s newest plane – the Airbus A350-900 – with the announcement today Cathay Pacific will introduce the aircraft onto its daily service starting in March 2017. This will be the first A350 to serve Brisbane.

Seating 280 passengers in three classes – Business Class, Premium Economy Class and Economy Class – the upgrade to the A350 represents an increase in capacity of 12 per cent and significant additional cargo capacity.

Nelson Chin, General Manager – Southwest Pacific, Cathay Pacific, said, “We are truly thrilled to be the first airline to introduce the A350 to Brisbane. It features the very latest cabin design and a superior air travel experience for passengers.

“As a larger aircraft, the A350 also enables us to bring more passengers into Brisbane and take Queenslanders seamlessly to more than 170 destinations around the world,” he said.


Cathay Pacific first to bring new Airbus A350 to Brisbane  

“We are launching the new service with some very special fares for departures from Brisbane in the A350 in Business Class, Economy Class and Premium Economy Class to Hong Kong, London, Rome, Paris, Dusseldorf and Tel Aviv.”

Cathay Pacific has been flying to Brisbane for more than 30 years and is the only airline to currently offer not just Business Class and Economy Class but also the highly acclaimed Premium Economy Class.

“With 11 flights a week, we have become a firm favourite for many Queenslanders heading overseas, as well as bringing business people and tourists alike into the Sunshine State,” he added.

Julieanne Alroe, Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) CEO and Managing Director said, “Cathay Pacific will be the first and only operator of the world’s most modern aircraft, the Airbus A350, at Brisbane Airport.

“This aircraft is the latest word in comfort, safety and new technology in the sky.

Importantly, it will be quietest long-haul aircraft serving Brisbane, a trend we welcome.

“The A350 is also bigger than the previous aircraft and will bring in over 10,000 new inbound seats per year to deliver visitors and business people to Brisbane and across Queensland.

“Hong Kong is one of the great travel hubs of the world and a gateway to mainland China, which is our fastest growing major market.

“Cathay Pacific has been a favourite of Brisbane business travellers for years, we all now have even more to look forward to next time we fly with Cathay Pacific,” Ms Alroe said.

The Airbus A350-900 is lighter, 25 per cent more fuel efficient and therefore better for the environment and is the newest aircraft in the Cathay Pacific fleet.


Cathay Pacific Airbus A350-900

It features:

  • Newly re-styled Business Class, Premium Economy Class and Economy Class cabins with seating created for greater comfort whether working or relaxing;
  • The Premium Economy Class and Economy Class seats also come with a number of new features, including dedicated tablet holders, in-seat power outlets and USB ports.
  • Each Premium Economy Class seat has a fully integrated leg rest, which, together with the ergonomically designed seat, allows more flexibility to adjust for optimal comfort.
  • The six-way headrest in Economy Class is a proprietary design that provides better support and enhances sleeping comfort;
  • The interior features more space and comfort including panoramic windows, LED mood lighting and huge overhead lockers;
  • Greater cabin humidity so passengers feel better and less jet-lagged after their flight; Lower cabin pressure and lower noise levels for the best sleeping experience;
  • The A350 employs innovative technology to improve the overall performance of the aircraft. Powered by the latest Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines, the A350 is the quietest among the aircraft types in its class;
  • All seats come with the latest high-definition touchscreen personal TVs and a greater selection of movies, TV, live news channels and music; and Inflight Wi-Fi.

The new aircraft will operate daily on CX156 departing at 0055 and arriving into Hong Kong at 0735. From Hong Kong, Brisbane passengers can connect to over 170 destinations around the world on the Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon network.

A350 Launch Sale fares from Brisbane are on sale from today until 21 December 2016 for flights departing from 3 April to 25 June 2017. Fares include taxes and surcharges and are correct as at 5 December 2016. Terms and conditions apply.

Cathay Pacific will commence daily flights from Melbourne operating the A350 from February 2016.

Terms and conditions apply. Cathay Pacific will commence daily flights from Melbourne operating the A350 from February 2016.

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