SHR plans to launch property in the Maldives by 2023

SHR plans to launch property in the Maldives by 2023

With a promising outlook for tourism in the Maldives, S Hotels & Resorts (SHR), a hospitality arm of SET-listed Singha Estate, will launch its new property SO/ Maldives valued at US$60 million (1.9 billion baht) by 2023.

Dirk De Cuyper, chief hospitality officer at SHR, said construction of the 80-villa property will start in November this year on the third island of the Crossroad Maldives project, SHR's integrated resort project at Emboodhoo Lagoon.

The development, owned through an equal joint venture with Myanmar-based Wai Eco World Developer, will be the third property in the Crossroads Maldives project, following SAii Lagoon Maldives and Hard Rock Hotel Maldives which opened in September 2019.

Andrew Langdon, Accor's senior vice-president of development for Southeast Asia, Japan and South Korea, said SO/ Maldives will be the first property to be launched under this brand in the Maldives.

Mr De Cuyper said the surge of the Covid-19 cases in the Maldives will have a short-term impact for business as the transmission mostly centered around the capital Male, while other islands remain open to visitors.

He said the Maldives should be removed from the red list and be upgraded to amber or green in key destinations soon, thanks to the full enforcement of the vaccination programmes run by the government and private sectors.

Tourists from India, one of the major source markets, will resume visits as soon as the Maldivian government eases travel restrictions for South Asian visitors starting today.

"We can see a positive outlook for the fourth quarter and into 2022, with the Maldives likely one of the safest destinations," Mr De Cuyper said.

He said air capacity to the Maldives, which remains at 40% from 30 international airlines, will increase significantly from August which will help spur demand and boost SHR's hotels' occupancy until end of this year.

In terms of the Phuket sandbox, Mr De Cuyper said SHR sees an uptick of 30-35% occupancy.

"The best solution for the country is to accelerate the vaccination process. Phuket has been a good example," he said. "Now we have to rollout [mass vaccinations] into key areas, obviously in Bangkok."

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