According to the latest Mastercard Global Destinations Cities Index 2017 released today, travel and tourism in Asia-Pacific are both expected to grow steadily in the period ahead. Bringing in $91.16 billion USD in travel expenditure in 2016, Asia Pacific outpaced Europe ($74.74 billion USD), and North America ($55.02 billion USD).
International overnight visitors to the Top 10 destination cities were up in 2016. According to the Index, Bangkok tracked 19.41 million visitors, while London came in a close second with 19.06 million visitors. Singapore (13.11 million visitors) inched past New York (12.7 million visitors) into fifth position for the first time in three years, while Seoul (12.39 million visitors) leapfrogged three spots into seventh place.
Home to half of the world’s top ten most visited cities, Asia Pacific’s success as a global travel hub has been supported by strong intra-regional travel. Both Singapore and Seoul tracked significant growths, aided by visitors from neighboring countries, particularly those from China. In the Index’s seven-year history, China has grown from being passive contributors to the region’s travel sector to the main driver of growth for visitor arrivals into Asia Pacific’s top destinations. Overall, forecasts for continued growth in 2017 are positive except for New York, with Tokyo (12.2%) expecting the largest boom.
Located just 60-minutes away, The Canopi in Bintan can easily be accessed via ferry from Singapore - this destination is also a popular glamping spot for families and thrill-seekers on weekends especially. While trying to book hotels this morning, I realised that The Canopi will soon be joining Tribute Portfolio which is a brand under Marriott International and Marriott Bonvoy members will soon be able to earn points and eligible nights at this property from February 2019.
While the merger of three loyalty programs (Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and SPG) has not been exceedingly successful (at least in the eyes of an average consumer), the combined loyalty program will relaunch on 13 February 2019 with a brand new program name - Marriott Bonvoy. Some Platinum membership tiers will also be renamed to make the distinction a little more obvious.
OCBC removed the option to purchase 500,000 VOYAGE Miles (which is converted into KrisFlyer Miles) for S$10,000 with the OCBC VOYAGE Card in September last year. While new customers still have the option of getting the card at either S$488 (15,000 Miles) or S$3,210 (150,000 Miles), existing principal holders of the VOYAGE Card do not officially have this option with renewal until now.
A 38-villa ultra-luxury resort is set to open in the rare Maldivian oasis of Gaafu Alifu Atoll on 1 February 2019 - the Raffles Maldives Meradhoo is AccorHotels’ fourth property in the Maldives and it will offer unparalleled views of the Indian Ocean for travellers seeking the perfect over-water escape.
AccorHotels has just debuted its award-winning midscale brand, Novotel, with the opening of the new-built Novotel Haikou Xinbudao in the capital city of Hainan province. The property is located on Xinbu Island, a newly developed area in the northeast part of Haikou city, and it is expected to quickly become a favorite on Hainan Island, China’s southernmost province famous for its amiable tropical climate and idyllic sun-blessed beaches.
Capella Hotel Group will be unveiling her first urban resort next year in Thailand - Capella Bangkok is slated to open in Q2 2019 and it will be located on the east bank of the famous Chao Phraya River where it will join the ranks of other luxurious properties in the City of Angels. This strategically-located property will offer a contemporary playground for travellers who wish to immerse themselves in one of Bangkok's oldest neighbourhoods where the burgeoning local arts scene and provincial culinary landscape is flourishing.
Hopping on a taxi and using a ride-hailing app in Singapore is not difficult but I sometimes prefer a proper limousine arrangement (especially when traveling to and from the airport) since they are a lot more comfortable and predictable. My OCBC VOYAGE Card is great since it gives me up to two free rides each month by spending S$3,000 (one free ride) or S$6,000 (two free rides) per calendar month. While this is typically enough for me, I sometimes make two or three trips a month and therefore, I turn to the next best alternative (or so I thought), Wolero One.
The first ever Swissôtel Hotels and Resorts property in Indonesia is set to make its first debut in the city of Jakarta. Slated to open in mid-2019, the Swissôtel Jakarta PIK Avenue will be located in a mixed-used lifestyle mall complex. The hotel will feature 412 spacious guest rooms, six dining outlets, an executive lounge, the Pürovel Spa & Sport facility as well as the city’s largest event space of 3,044 square meters that can accommodate up to 3000 guests in its ballroom.
Now that the MO BAR is officially open, Mandarin Oriental, Singapore is bringing back the popular afternoon tea experience with a bi-monthly seasonal menu with views of Singapore. The MO BAR is a relaxing space that is awash in natural daylight during the day and the antique gold geometric patterns inspired by Polynesian tattoos on the ceiling and façade greet guests upon entering.
San Francisco-based luxury boutique brand, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants has just opened the first property in the UK in London’s Bloomsbury neighbourhood. The Kimpton Fitzroy London combines late-Victorian heritage with a quirky, modern vibe. The existing glamour of the building, paired with Kimpton’s signature heartfelt service, brings a new hotel offering to London that delivers exclusivity for everyone.