Story by SIRIMA EAMTAKO

The future is a picture of optimism for Thailand as several pending hospitality investment deals are expected to come through this year.

2013 is expected to be another strong year for hotel investment in Thailand with several deals anticipated in Phuket, Bangkok, Pattaya, Samui and Chiang Mai.
At press time, Jones Lang LaSalle’s Hotels & Hospitality Group was marketing two properties in Phuket, one of which is eligible for a Board of Investment’s incentive that allows a majority foreign ownership.
Mike Batchelor, the firm’s managing director – investment sales Asia, said the anticipated formalisation of the new real estate investment trusts legislation in Thailand this year was also expected to provide a source of investor interest across the country.
Jones Lang LaSalle also cited 2012 as a strong year for hotel investment in Thailand, with Phuket accumulating four major transactions worth over one billion baht (US$33.6 million) each.
Movenpick Resort & Spa Karon Beach was transacted on behalf of Kingdom Hotel Investments to Malaysia’s TA Global at 2.87 billion baht, Bundarika Villas & Suites (to rebrand to Anantara Phuket Layan Resort) was traded at 1.1 billion baht to Minor Hotel Group, and Evason Phuket Resort & Bon Island (to rebrand to InterContinental Phuket Rawai Beach Resort) traded at 1.4 billion baht to an interest associated with Singapore’s LC Development.
There were also several properties transacted in Bangkok and Pattaya last year, including the sale of Siri Sathorn serviced apartment, according to Jones Lang LaSalle. However, most transactions were not made known to the public as it is still widespread in Thailand for hotels to trade directly between owners and investors.

Thailand’s TCC Hotels Group also expressed confidence in their plans to invest over 15 billion Baht in the next three to five years through management agreements with Marriott International for seven hotels, totaling 3000 rooms.
The group owns and manages 46 hotels in 11 countries. The collaboration with Marriott will increase its portfolio to 51 hotels by 2018 – with five newly-built hotels and two conversion hotel projects.
The seven hotels include the Imperial Queen’s Park Hotel, Imperial Adamas Phuket Beach Resort, Hua Hin Marriott Resort & Spa, Pattaya Marriott Resort & Spa Jomtien Beach, JW Marriott Pattaya Resort & Spa, Bangkok Marriott Hotel and Executive Apartments Surawong, and The Ritz-Carlton Bangkok.
Thailand is expected to welcome 24.5 million visitor arrivals in 2013 or a 23.5 per cent growth over 2012, and to generate tourism income of 1149 billion baht.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand’s expectation is based on the grounds that Thailand will survive this year without any crisis, similar to last year when the country achieved record-breaking visitor arrivals, crossing the 22 million mark for the first time.

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