MANILA, Philippines—Last week Hyatt Hotels Corp. formally announced the signing of an agreement between Hyatt affiliate Hyatt Hotels & Resorts and the Bonifacio Landmark Realty and Development Corp. (BLC) for a Grand Hyatt hotel and Grand Hyatt-branded residences in the Philippines. BLC is a joint-venture company between property developer Federal Land Inc. and Japanese financial services group ORIX Corporation.
Expected to open in 2015, Grand Hyatt Manila and Residences will be part of a two-tower upscale mixed-use project in Fort Bonifacio Global City in Taguig. The 438-room Grand Hyatt Manila will be located on the top 14 floors of the 66-story office and hotel tower, while the residences—with 220 luxury units—will be in the second tower, and will have private access to the hotel’s amenities including the spa, fitness center and pool and restaurants.
Additional hotel amenities will include what Hyatt describes as a “dramatic and energetic lobby,” a spa, fitness center and pool, and comprehensive business and meeting facilities with state-of-the-art technology.
The substructure of the Grand Hyatt Manila was topped off recently. Wong + Ouyang and Ove Arup & Partners are the architect and engineer, the same firms that worked on several other Hyatt projects including Grand Hyatt Shanghai and Grand Hyatt Hong Kong.
Manila will be the fifth Southeast Asian capital to host the Grand Hyatt brand, after Jakarta, Bangkok, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, although Grand Hyatt Manila and Residences will be the second Hyatt-branded hotel in the Philippines, joining Hyatt Hotel & Casino Manila in the Philippine capital’s tourist district Malate. Hyatt’s other brands, besides Grand Hyatt and Hyatt, are Park Hyatt, Andaz, Hyatt Regency, Hyatt Place, Hyatt House and Hyatt Residence Club.
“As the political, economic, social, and cultural center of the Philippines, Manila is attracting entrepreneurs and business owners that have an appetite for luxury brands and residences,” said Ratnesh Verma, senior vice president of real estate and development, Asia Pacific, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts. “Grand Hyatt Manila and Residences is a remarkable opportunity to expand the presence of the iconic Grand Hyatt brand in this rapidly growing Southeast Asia market.”
Alfred V. Ty, chairman of Bonifacio Landmark and president of Federal Land said the project “symbolizes the future of a modern Philippines.”
Grand Hyatt Manila and Residences will be the center of the master-planned development Veritown Fort, which will house 11 residential projects, premier dining option and upscale retail spaces and boutiques.
The UN World Tourism Organization & World Travel Market Ministers’ Summit in London last November 6 once more brought up its concern over “complicated visa processes and policies that limit air connectivity,” stressing that they continue to present major barriers to the growth of travel and tourism.
According to a UNWTO research, over 40 countries between 2010 and 2012 made significant changes to their visa policies, facilitating travel from “visa required” to “visa on arrival,” “eVisa” or “no visa.” Yet, it says visa restriction still poses a major obstacle to tourism development.
“Our main message is clear: lengthy, expensive and complicated visa procedures and policies which limit the development of air travel are obstacles to the continued expansion of travel and tourism. Removing them will stimulate demand, increase exports, grow the economy and create jobs,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai.
For its part, the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) held a politicians’ and travel industry leaders’ dinner in the House of Commons in London on November 5 to draw attention to “unfair taxation and ill thought-out schemes that are hurting the travel industry,” particularly the reviled UK Air Passenger Duty (APD).
PATA CEO Martin J. Craigs applauded UK MP Priti Patel who has taken up the cause at the UK parliamentary debate during which she said, “The UK Air Passenger Duty is now the world’s highest by a wide margin. It is certainly turning away tourism and trade from the world’s fastest-growing economic region,” which is the Asia-Pacific.
Craigs told the audience that 73 percent of PATA member destinations are in the two most heavily taxed bands of the UK APD. He said the travel industry “is being victimized disproportionately by this tax. It negatively impacts travel industry jobs in the UK and abroad at a time when we desperately need to create growth.”
New research released at the World Travel Market in London last week revealed that the global potential value of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) leisure travel market is set to reach a record $181 billion in 2013.
The research findings—based on the LGBT2020 research program from leading global LGBT marketing specialist Out Now Global (www.outnowconsulting.com), which measures consumer spend, purchasing habits and brand preferences across 22 countries—
showed a 9.7 per cent year-on-year growth in the LGBT travel market, up from $165 billion in 2012, despite economic uncertainties.
The USA market tops the league at $52.3 billion, followed by Brazil ($22.9 billion) and Japan ($18.5 billion). The total value of the eight most important markets in Europe, however, is larger than the US market ($58.3 billion).
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NEW DINING DESTINATION The SM Southmall recently opened Food Street, to which Las Piñas’ food lovers have gravitated. Sambo Kojin, which serves Japanese and Korean grilled food, is always full…Thailand’s famous Black Canyon Coffee shop also has opened its first Philippine outlet here… A restaurant also serves the Singaporean Hainanese chicken. For P99 you can eat the tasty chicken with unlimited equally flavorful rice cooked in chicken broth.