Minor International Plc (MINT), one of Asia’s largest hotel operators, expects a record year for its hospitality business on pent-up travel demand and a recovery in Chinese tourists holidaying abroad.
Bookings across all of the Bangkok-based company’s markets, but especially Europe and Thailand, will remain high in 2023 after a strong recovery earlier this year, chairman Bill Heinecke said on Wednesday.
The return of Chinese travellers in more substantial numbers, which may come as early as the third quarter, will also support further demand for accommodation, he said.
Minor joins global peers like Marriott International and Hilton in reporting a travel boom that has coincided with growing confidence among operators to raise room rates.
Hotels in Asia are also eagerly awaiting a rebound in Chinese tourists, which is currently hamstrung by a slow recovery in flight capacity.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand predicted earlier this month that arrivals from China are on course to hit 1 million a month from October — a level last seen before the pandemic.
“The summer will be very strong in Europe,” said Mr Heinecke, the American-born founder of SET-listed Minor. “I have no fear that we will have a record year” with the return of Chinese travellers later this year, he said.
The company is facing difficulties hiring staff for its existing and new hotels as accommodation demand currently exceeds 2019 levels, he said.
Minor operates more than 530 hotels and resorts in 56 countries, as well as more than 2,500 casual dining and quick-service restaurants. Most of Minor’s business in Europe is through NH Hotel Group, which it acquired in 2018.
Minor reported a loss of 976 million baht in the three months ended March 31, narrowing from a 3.79-billion-baht loss in the same period last year due to a rebound in its hotel business in Europe, the Maldives and Thailand.
MINT shares closed on Wednesday on the Stock Exchange of Thailand at 33.50 baht, down 25 satang, in turnover worth 895 million baht.