City investing heavily in premium hotels

Investments in premium hotels during the last three years in Ho Chi Minh City have almost doubled, to meet an average growth rate of 15 percent each year in the number of tourists visiting Vietnam’s main commercial, economic and tourist hub.

Companies are investing heavily in expanding, upgrading or building new premium hotels in the city. The city which once lamented a lack of high end luxury hotels for foreigners during peak tourist season is now seeing a flurry of activity in that sector.

Caravelle Hotel, one of five -star hotel in HCMC (Photo: U. Phuong)

More room capacity

According to the HCMC Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, between 2007 and 2011, the numbers of hotels have increased from 624 to 1,500. Today there are 13 five-star hotels, 13 four-star hotels and 45 three-star hotels offering 9,700 deluxe rooms.

By the end of 2011, the five-star Nikko Sai Gon hotel on Nguyen Van Cu Street in District 1 with 335 rooms and the newly renovated Grand hotel on Dong Khoi Street in District 1 with 500 rooms will become fully operational.

Tran Hung Viet, general director of Saigon Tourist Company, stated that the hotel division of the company is well able to provide rooms for one third of the general tourist demand. However, with an average growth rate of 15 percent per year in the number of tourists, the company has to speed up building new premium hotels as well as upgrading existing ones.

Presently Rex Hotel is under renovation for upgrading to a five-star hotel at a cost of VND300 billion (approx. US$14.2 million); Majestic Hotel is under expansion for another 353 rooms, and the 250 room four-star Novotel Saigon hotel on Hai Ba Trung Street in District 1 and the 300 room five-star Pullman Saigon hotel on Tran Hung Dao Street in District 1 are two more new hotels to be ready by 2014.

Two other five-star hotels, the Gemadetp on Le Loi Street in District 1 and Kim Do on Nguyen Hue Street in District 1 by the Saigon Tourist Company will also increase capacity by 2,000 deluxe rooms in the near future.

Rex Hotel  under renovation for upgrading to a five-star hotel at a cost of VND300 billion (Photo: U. Phuong)

MICE, a profitable venture

At present, MICE tourism is being flaunted as a profitable investment for the future. Unfortunately, the present capacity is insufficient to receive large groups of 1,000 visitors. Nowhere in the city is there provision to hold a conference for 1,000 attendees.

MICE (meetings, incentives, conferencing and exhibitions) have great potential in the domestic market and more and more domestic tourists are willing to spend money on high quality services and hotels.

According to Tao Van Nghe, chairman of the HCMC Hotel Society, all tourist businesses are now aiming at enhancing the quality of their services to compete with other neighboring countries. Even though this time of the year is not yet tourist season, hotel capacity has been 60 percent, 10 percent higher than in 2010.

Viet said the investments in premium hotels in the city will give new opportunities for Vietnamese to compete with other countries in the Asia-Pacific region. So is why the company is investing heavily in four and five-star hotels in the SECC area in District 7.

By My Hanh - Translated by Toan Chau

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