Centara expects revenue surge as Chinese return
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Centara expects revenue surge as Chinese return

Centara Hotels and Resorts (CHR) is aiming for revenue of 10 billion baht this year, exceeding the tally in 2019, with Chinese tourists expected to help the company gain momentum as it opens six more hotels in Thailand and Japan in 2023.

CHR chief executive Thirayuth Chirathivat said the company is optimistic about the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s forecast of 30 million foreign arrivals this year.

Mr Thirayuth said most CHR hotels increased their room rates as guests staying at its properties last year were not price-sensitive.

Centara Grand at CentralWorld received more Mice (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions) customers, helping to raise the average occupancy to 80%, while room rates were 20% higher than the pre-pandemic level.

Gun Srisompong, chief financial officer at CHR, said its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) remained 3% lower than in 2019 and would be difficult to increase because of operational cost pressures, such as staff salaries and electricity bills.

The economic challenges include European guests not rebounding as expected, so Mr Thirayuth said the company will continue to boost domestic and short-haul markets this year.

He urged the government to improve accessibility and infrastructure in secondary cities, enabling them to accommodate tourists in the future, instead of having only seven key destinations. The potential provinces include Rayong and Ubon Ratchathani, where Centara is set to open hotels this year.

For its three-year investment, the company plans to earmark 15-23 billion baht for both hotels and food businesses, of which food will account for 1 billion baht annually.

CHR will mainly focus on developing two or three new properties in the Maldives, requiring most of its 5.8-billion-baht investment budget for this year, said Mr Thirayuth.

Among the six properties slated to open this year, the highlight is Centara Grand Osaka, scheduled to launch on July 1, he said.

It is a joint venture between Centara and the Japanese developers Taisei Corporation and Kanden Realty & Development.

Mr Thirayuth said the average occupancy for this new hotel should reach 60-70% from the second half of next year.

Other new properties under management contracts include those in Ubon Ratchathani, Ayutthaya, Rayong, Samui and Surat Thani.

As of last December, CHR operated 50 hotels in Thailand and 13 other countries, totalling 10,406 rooms. It also has 42 hotels in the pipeline.

The company aims to be included in the top 100 hotel operators in terms of rooms, up from the top 150, as it expects to have more than 20,000 rooms by 2027.

The company last year earned 6.5 billion baht in revenue, or about 74% of pre-pandemic levels.

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