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IHG remains confident in China's tourism recovery

By Wang Zhuoqiong | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2020-07-31 20:25
IHG opened its 23rd new hotel in China this year -- the InterContinental Chongqing Raffles City in Chongqing municipality, on July 30, 2020. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Global leading hotelier group InterContinental Hotels Group is confident in the recovery of the tourism market in China, boosted by the rebound of domestic travels and gradual resumption of business trips, despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the hospitality sector starting early this year.

On Thursday, IHG opened its 23rd new hotel in China — its fastest growing market — this year. The InterContinental Chongqing Raffles City is located in downtown Chongqing, and features 380 luxury rooms and suites.

A major objective for IHG is to bring its multiple hotel brands to 400 cities in China, boosted by its licensed management models.

The hotelier is aiming to continue to penetrate its network. By the end of March this year, IHG had 475 hotels in operations in the Chinese market, with three or four located in second- to fourth-tier cities. Of the 411 hotels in the pipeline, nearly 90 percent are in these locations.

With travel restrictions and social distancing measures effectively switching off hotel demand overnight in many markets, the epidemic has severely impacted the tourism industry. Yet hoteliers nationwide have shown strong resilience.

Jolyon Bulley, CEO of IHG Greater China, said: "We should take comfort that in times of crisis, hotel companies in China have been coming together, united, to tide over the difficulties."

Bulley said most hotels under the IHG group have resumed operations currently. He added though the recovery would take time, hotels neighboring tourism sites of major cities have seen the most visible rebound.

He said the gradual recovery of business trips has also spurred the performance of hotels at cities that have been business destinations.

Bulley said this year would mean more opportunities for domestic luxury or high-end hotels, as oversea traveling has been limited and affected by the ongoing global pandemic.

The company has found inspiration from health-conscious travelers by expanding the presence of its EVEN Hotels brand, which emphasizes lifestyle and health concepts. 

The Even hotels – with footprints in first- and second-tier cities in the country – have 12 facilities in the pipeline.

"As China and the world adjust to new travel norms and traveler expectations, your safety and wellbeing continues to be our top priority. We recently launched the IHG Clean Promise that will give you greater confidence and trust when stay at an IHG hotel," the CEO said.

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