China remains one of the fastest-growing and most competitive economies in the world for hotel development despite heavy restrictions. The Chinese authorities continue to impose various control and quarantine measures across the country, including restrictions on movement, reduced transport, entry and exit controls for cities, towns and villages, and isolation requirements for travel between different parts of the country.
A tough stance on new coronavirus outbreaks
Restrictions on movement and quarantine arrangements remain for travel between different parts of the country. Some cities and provinces need travellers from high to medium risk areas to undergo 14 days of isolation in their place of residence or in centralised observation.
The possibility that local authorities impose mandatory quarantine in response to fresh outbreaks is high. For example, since mid-Mar-2022, Shanghai has been experiencing a new significant outbreak of Omicron COVID-19 cases, which has resulted in closure of schools, restaurants, and most public spaces. On 27-Mar-2022 a four-day lockdown and mass testing of Pudong (east Shanghai) commenced, followed by a similar four-day lockdown in Puxi (west Shanghai) beginning 01-Apr-2022.
Accor looking at longer-term return to market trends
China’s emergence as an economic leader had redrawn the lines of global tourism in the decade ahead of the Covid outbreak with China expected to overtake the US as the world’s largest economy within the next decade and to become the world’s number one global tourism destination by 2030, especially buoyed by its huge domestic travel market.
The China Tourism Academy anticipates a return to nearly 70% of pre-Covid levels of domestic travel this year and as the pandemic becomes better controlled across the world there are no suggestions that we will not return to the previous trend lines, albeit a few years later than perhaps previously estimated.
Accor boosts local portfolio beyond 500 open properties
Accor still sees strong potential in the Greater China market and some of the most popular, high-profile openings of 2021 included Fairmont Sanya Haitang Bay, Sofitel Hangzhou Yingguan Hotel, Pullman Jiaxing Pinghu Excellence Hotel, Ocean Spring Resort Chengdu – MGallery, Novotel Zhengzhou Airport Hotel and Grand Mercure Pingxiang Kaiguang Hotel.
Looking ahead to the remainder of 2022, the Year of the Tiger will bring some highly-anticipated new flagship hotels to life, such as Raffles at Galaxy Macau, Fairmont Xiamen, and Sofitel Shanghai North Bund. This year will also see the grand return of the landmark Swissôtel Beijing following three years of extensive renovations and restyling.
Emblems Collection luxury brand debut and other 2022 openings
Accor’s newest luxury brand, Emblems Collection, will also open its first hotel in the world this year with the planned Dec-2022 flagship opening of the Guiyang Art Centre Hotel, Emblems Collection, in Guizhou province. The new brand has a goal to create a unique global portfolio exceeding 60 boutique hotels and luxurious resorts by 2030, which Accor says will “certainly include” additional properties in China.
The MGallery Hotel Collection will see two hotels opening in Hong Kong this year. The Silveri Hong Kong – MGallery creates a serene retreat on Lantau Island, while AKI Hong Kong – MGallery complements the neighbourhood buzz of Wan Chai with a stylish energy. Upcoming MGallery destinations include Shenzhen’s vibrant Dalang District; Wuxi Dangkou Ancient Town; as well as Guangzhou.
One of China’s top performing premium brands, Pullman, has multiple new properties slated to open in 2022, including Pullman Nanchang Xinlv, Pullman Shenzhen North Station, Pullman Chongqing Beibei, and Pullman Wuhan Airport New City. Greater China has more Pullman Hotels & Resorts than any other country in the world, with nearly fifty hotels in operation, a record number of new project signings. The Pullman Dali, Pullman Haikou and Pullman Suzhou Taicang all opened since the start of the year.
There will also be growth in Accor’s midscale and economy brands. Novotel continues to push forward with new design concepts with Novotel Guangzhou Airport and Novotel Chengdu Tianfu Living both set to open in 2022. Other upcoming destinations for the brand include Novotel Wuxi Wanshan Lake, Novotel Xi'an Aden, and Novotel Qingdao Downtown.
Not to be outdone, Accor’s midscale Mercure brand has more than 110 hotels in Greater China, and nearly 100 more in development. Additionally, Accor’s economy brand, ibis, now offers more than 200 hotels in Greater China, a truly remarkable achievement.