Centara eyes 100 new hotels

Centara eyes 100 new hotels

Resort owner plans to open 20 a year

The design for Centara Hotel Korat, which the company plans to open this year.
The design for Centara Hotel Korat, which the company plans to open this year.

Centara Hotels and Resorts wants to open 100 new hotels within five years, spanning Thailand, neighbouring countries, China and the Middle East, with most of them under management agreements.

The five-year plan for 2022-26 is to add 20 hotels per year, which will see the total number reach almost 200 and provide around 38,000 rooms, said Thirayuth Chirathivat, chief executive of Centara Hotels and Resorts.

Half of the new properties are in Thailand, followed by the Middle East, China and Southeast Asian countries, particularly Vietnam, with plans for 20 hotels there.

Mr Thirayuth said most of the new hotels will have management contracts with potential partners.

There are also some ownership investing projects, such as new hotels in the Maldives and Koh Lanta.

At present Centara has 88 properties, of which 41 hotels are in the pipeline.

This year Centara plans to seek 20 new contracts and open at least eight hotels, of which three will be in Bangkok, Ubon Ratchathani and Nakhon Ratchasima, while the rest are set for Qatar, Oman and Laos.

The company reported 2.3 billion baht in revenue from the hotel business in 2021, a dip of 25% year-on-year.

"Hotels this year are projected to generate revenue of 5.9 billion baht, including from Centara Mirage Beach Resort Dubai, in which the company owns a 40% stake," he said.

"This goal will be accomplished if there's no impact from new Covid variants."

The hotel business in Thailand will rely heavily on the domestic market during the first half, said Mr Thirayuth.

More international tourists, particularly Chinese travellers, may visit during the third quarter, he said.

Thirayuth: Centara has 88 properties

Mr Thirayuth said the government should extend the deadline of the We Travel Together hotel subsidy scheme to the end of 2022 as this measure generated as much as 20% of revenue last year.

Centara's key source markets such as India will return once the air travel bubble starts in the second quarter, while Australian visitors could increase during the Easter holidays, he said.

The revenue ratio between owned hotels in Thailand and overseas (the Maldives and Dubai) has stayed at 50:50, changing from 70:30 as hotels in Thailand have been rebounding slower than overseas destinations.

A full recovery might be pushed back to 2025 because of the war in Ukraine, said Mr Thirayuth.

Gun Srisompong, chief financial officer and vice-president for finance and administration at Central Plaza Hotel Plc (Centel), the operator of Centara, said the company plans to invest 3.4 billion baht in overall capital expenditure this year, of which 2.2 billion is for the hotel business.

About 1 billion baht is for project renovations, and another 1 billion for hotel investments in the Maldives and the ongoing Osaka project, he said.

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