With the recent onset, a lot of targets are finding huge untapped potential in Malaysia’s tourism industry as more investors are relocating their businesses aforementioned region. Marriott International, the United States-based multinational diversified hospitality company that manages and franchises a broad portfolio of hotels and related lodging facilities, sees Malaysia as a potential market with incredible opportunities to grow.
President and managing director for Asia Pacific Craig S. Smith said the ASEAN region has been benefiting much from the current US-China trade war, of which an increasing number of investors were seen moving out from China and relocated their factories to the region.
In an interview with media, he said “From our perspective, Malaysia has incredible opportunities (to grow), it is very well positioned and has been marked as “truly Asia” because it has so much to offer. On the ASEAN front, they have China and India on either side.
“Also, the upcoming infrastructure developments such as the rail link, I think the Malaysian government is making some strategic decision on infrastructure which going to help the country in the long run. We see growth family travel such as short break and staycation,”
Even if the trade war ended, he said Asean would still be benefited and remained as a strategic location, as currently more factories were moving out of China to the ASEAN region and these factories could not move back to China or other places within the short period.
“Companies are looking for places that they think are secured for home travel. One of the things we’ve been hearing from economist is even if the trade war improved, there will be companies that are insecure and want to be in a stable environment and location, and Malaysia fits the bill.
“Every economist that we’ve seen is bullish on the future potential of Malaysia (as an investment destination), and now it’s up to the government to realise the potential of the country,” he added.
Thus, he said, Marriott International is shifting its focus on expansion to the Asia Pacific moving forward, targeting to have about 800 hotels across the region by year-end, from about 780 hotels currently.
“A big portion of our expansion plan will be in ASEAN as one of the fastest-growing areas. Companies are moving because the supply chain has changed, which would benefit the hotel industry in term of business travel.
“And also, the growing trend in leisure travel, which is growing four times as compared to business travel growth. Compared to other countries, Malaysia has the benefit of gaining both (business and leisure travel).
He said the Marriott International also had sealed deals for 100 hotels to be in operations in the Asia Pacific next year, with a possibility of more depending on the current aggressive plan by the group to expand its presence in the region.
Marriott International recently has further expanded its partnership with YTL Hotels, the hospitality arm of YTL Corporation, to bring the AC Hotels by Marriott brand to Malaysia, which will be the first country to have the AC Hotels in the Asia Pacific region.
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