Onyx inks deal for first Japanese hotel in snowy Hokkaido
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Onyx inks deal for first Japanese hotel in snowy Hokkaido

An artist's rendition of the 126-room Amari Niseko hotel.
An artist's rendition of the 126-room Amari Niseko hotel.

Onyx Hospitality Group has signed a 15-year management contract with Metropoly Holdings Ltd, a Hong Kong-based real estate company, to operate Amari Niseko, its first hotel in Japan.

The 126-room property, to open in 2024, is located in Hokkaido's Niseko Hirafu area and is part of the Aruku-Zaka Street mixed-use development project.

Douglas Martell, Onyx Hospitality Group's president and chief executive, said Niseko is a strategic location and a leading ski destination in Japan during the winter.

The group operates some 50 hotel properties with about 8,000 rooms in seven countries: China, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Laos, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

Onyx has set a long-term roadmap to have 99 properties in 10 countries with 18,500 rooms by 2024. The group's hospitality brands include Ozo, Amari and Shama.

Apart from Japan, the group is set to expand its portfolio by partnering with firms in China, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Laos.

"We'll consider expanding into other areas outside Asia-Pacific as well, but now our priority is to commit to be the best mid-sized hospitality operator in the region," Mr Martell said.

Onyx will continue its investment in Thailand, especially in Pattaya, to correspond to the Eastern Economic Corridor policy, he said.

The group's 47-year-old flagship property, Amari Pattaya, is being revamped to offer 49 new suites, a ballroom to cater to 700 people and an outdoor area that can hold a similar number of people.

"We have to make sure that we build this property for future opportunities, especially for the Mice market," Mr Martell said.

Martell: Strategic location for tourism

In Pattaya alone, the group operates seven properties with four under development. Those four include Ozo Pattaya, a 406-room hotel to open by mid-2020.

Last month the group signed management agreements with Ratanakorn Asset to operate three new hotels in Pattaya: the 400-key Amari Jomtien Pattaya in 2024, the 250-key Shama Wongamat Pattaya in 2025 and the 123-key Ozo Pratumnak Pattaya in 2022.

Despite the strong baht, Thailand is a still a valued destination for travellers, Mr Martell said. Domestic tourism also continues to grow, thanks to government measures to stimulate travel.

Mr Martell said this year has been challenging for the business, lowering the total room revenue of the group by 4% year-on-year during the first eight months. He expects total room revenue for the last quarter to rise by 12-15%.

Onyx projects solid growth for next year, with plans to open 6-9 hotels and renovate existing ones. The group plans to use 1.4 billion baht to refurbish the Amari Watergate next year, an additional budget after 5 billion baht was spent earlier.

Bangkok-based Onyx Hospitality Group is a unit of Italthai Group, which has businesses in construction equipment, engineering services, hospitality and lifestyle.

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