Bangkok-based investment firm, Aquarius International Hospitality Development (“AQI”), owned by Norcal Venture Capital Group Limited (“NVC”) will invest USD250 million in a five-year expansion plan in Thailand and South East Asia beginning in Q4 2020. AQI announced the first two projects this year; Aquarius Residences & Resort in Koh Chang, an exclusive clifftop eco-sensitive retreat; and AQ Privilege Beach Club & Residences in Koh Man Nai, a private island located on Koh Chang’s west coast. Currently under construction, Aquarius Residences is expected to open in three phases starting from 2022, and the guests will be able to enjoy the exclusive access to the nearby island of Koh Man Nai, where AQ Privilege Beach Club & Residences is located. Aquarius Residences will feature 23 pool villas and 99 low-rise condominiums, including 12 penthouse units with private rooftop garden. Adding to the group’s hospitality portfolio, AQI will also form AQ Ventures, a luxury yacht business that will sail South-east Asia’s tropical seas, and AQ Food & Beverage, a high-end restaurant and catering business. The group will also launch AQBooking.com, AQI’s elite travel club that allows global travellers to explore premium tourism products.
The Singapore Tourism Board (“STB”) and online booking platform, Klook, have launched a SGD2 million marketing partnership to promote local tourism and lifestyle offerings under the SingapoRediscovers campaign. The partnership will span seven months starting from September. This is part of the SGD45 million marketing campaign launched by the Singapore government in July. The three focus of the campaign are curated promotions for products and experiences, content development and digital marketing to boost spending. Businesses will be encouraged to develop new products and experiences to inspire locals to explore precincts such as Orchard Road, Chinatown, Civic District and Katong-Joo Chiat. These will involve hotels, attractions, tour operators and dining establishments. Aside, STB and Mastercard have signed a partnership to co-develop solutions and initiatives to help players transform their businesses, pivot to new audiences, and prepare for the gradual return of international visitors. Under Mastercard’s City Possible programme, the partnership will focus on digital initiatives for seamless international travel and e-commerce. It will explore projects such as enhancing contactless ticketing and payment solutions for tourism offerings under STB’s Visit Singapore Pass, sharing of data insights for business planning in the tourism industry, as well as joint marketing and advertising campaigns.
Võ Huy Cường, deputy head of Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam, has shared that there is a high demand to visit Côn Đảo for years and is still increasing. However, it has been difficult to fly to the island. Experts have expressed that opening more direct flights to Côn Đảo Island is an opportunity for the tourism destination. Presently, Vietnam Air Services Company, a subsidiary of Vietnam Airlines, is the only company providing flights to Côn Đảo from Ho Chi Minh (“HCM”) City or the southern city of Cần Thơ, carrying up to 68 passengers per flight. Else, visitors could travel by boat, but it takes at least nine hours from HCM City and four hours from Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province in calm sea conditions. From 29 September 2020, Bamboo Airways will launch new direct flights from Hà Nội, Hải Phòng and Vinh to Côn Đảo, increasing the maximum trips to 24 visits per day. According to Đinh Ngọc Đức, Director of the Tourism Market Department under Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, Côn Đảo has huge tourism potential as the number of tourists coming to the island has increased by 400% in the past few years despite the lack of flights and poor traffic infrastructure.
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