U.S.-based Marriott adding five new hotels in Thailand




United States-based global hotel giant Marriott Corporation expressed confidence in Thailand’s economy and tourism sector last week by announcing it will add five hotels to the roster of properties it manages in the Kingdom by the end of this year, and committed to adding a total of 15 more hotels in Thailand over the next five years.

“Thailand caters to a wide range of tourists unlike Hong Kong and Macau, which depend mostly on Chinese tourists, or the Philippines, which relies mainly on tourists from Japan and South Korea,” said Karl Hudson, Marriott International vice-president for Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines and Japan.

“Business expansion and tourism growth in Thailand are likely to prompt Marriott to launch new brands in the near future,” he added.

Despite modest overall economic growth figures, Thailand’s tourism and hospitality sectors have still been registering robust growth with tourist arrivals projected to set a new record at 32 million or more in 2016, according to the government. The government is targeting revenue from tourism of $65 billion in 2016, up from $62 billion last year. Tourism accounts for roughly 10 percent of gross domestic product.

The Kingdom’s hospitality industry enjoyed its best year in more than two decades, according to research by STR Global, an industry analyst. Average occupancy for hotels in Thailand in 2015 was 73.4 per cent, an increase of 13.6 percent over 2014, the result of tourist arrivals soaring to nearly 30 million.

Thailand’s tourism landscape is also diverse, with a wide variety of niches from super luxury segments to backpacker haunts. Hudson said a new Marriott niche brand called Moxy should have great potential in Thailand in coming years.

Moxy is Marriott’s boutique hotel brand for budget-conscious young travelers. Its rooms are smaller and more affordably priced while located in city centers and stocked with gadgets and technologies that appeal to travelers less than 35 years of age. The first Moxy hotel opened in Milan, and 59 others are open or under development in major cities across several continents. Moxy hotels are operating in cities such as Berlin, London and New York.

“The majority of tourists are starting to be younger than 35,” Hudson said. “People look for hotels that meet their lifestyles.”

Of the five new hotels Marriott will be involved with in Thailand this year, three are a partnership with local firm TCC Hotel Group, which hired Marriott to manage its hotels in Bangkok, Phuket and Hua Hin. The highlight is the 1,388-room Marriott Queen’s Park Sukhumvit Hotel, which is being renovated at a cost of about $100 million. It will have the most rooms of any Marriott hotel in the Asia-Pacific region.