AWC moulds strategy into shipshape

AWC moulds strategy into shipshape

A new landmark, the tall ship Sirimahannop, has been added for when Asiatique The Riverfront reopens next month.
A new landmark, the tall ship Sirimahannop, has been added for when Asiatique The Riverfront reopens next month.

SET-listed Asset World Corp Plc (AWC), a property arm of billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi's TCC Group, has revised its hotel and retail strategy to target Thai tourists, as the inbound market may not revive until late in the third quarter of 2021.

"The tourism trend will get positive vibes early next year," said AWC chief executive and president Wallapa Traisorat. "A number of international tourists can get back to pre-Covid level in the second half of 2021."

The company will reopen its flagship Asiatique The Riverfront on Oct 15 after shutting down since May.

AWC spent 300 million baht adding new attractions to the site, including the Sirimahannop tall ship worth 135 million baht, with a target to draw 20,000-30,000 visitors a day on weekends -- fewer than the pre-Covid number of 50,000.

Asiatique will feature a restaurant and bar operated by Marriott to tap upper-end visitors, plus a collaboration with Krua Khun Toi, a food-focused TV show, to strengthen the complex's position as a food and beverage destination with over 40 restaurants.

AWC is negotiating with existing tenants to return to business and asking new tenants to re-energise the open-air mall. Since the focus is shifted towards Thai customers, the company suggested existing tenants change their products to align with local demand instead.

For hotel business, AWC will join forces with a well-known operator to add wellness retreat features at all of its hotels. Both will sign a contract by the end of the year.

The company is also in talks with a leading hospital to add medical services like telemedicine at hotels, Mrs Wallapa said.

"We revised our five-year plan by slowing down new investment and renovating some of the existing ones, to prepare for the return of the international market," she said.

Some delayed projects, like Banyan Tree Krabi, were initially set to open in the second quarter this year but moved their opening date to October instead.

Mrs Wallapa said that if the first phase of re-entry based on a 14-day quarantine in alternative state quarantine goes smoothly, then the government can consider using a self-quarantine model like Singapore and the UK to welcome leisure tourists.

At present, properties in popular destinations near Bangkok, such as Hua Hin, are performing better than they did last year. In Samui, hotels saw 80% occupancy during the past long weekend, and those in Phuket are 40-50% booked on weekends.

During the first half of 2020, AWC reported total revenue of 3.3 billion baht, down 51.3% year-on-year.

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