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Tourist surge to Singapore helps push hotel deals to record

Singapore

HOTEL deals in Singapore are set for a record amid a surge in tourist arrivals buoyed by travellers wanting to avoid the ongoing protests in Hong Kong.

Hospitality transaction volumes were an unprecedented US$5.7 billion as of Nov 30, according to preliminary figures from Colliers International. This is about five times the figure in 2018, and the most in at least a decade.

A record 5 million visitors came to Singapore in the third quarter, led by tourists from Greater China, data from the Singapore Tourism Board showed. That has brought arrivals so far this year to 15.8 million.

Govinda Singh, executive director of valuation and consultancy services at Colliers, said that Singapore "no doubt" benefited from the protests that have rocked Hong Kong for the past six months.

The opening of a vast new entertainment complex Jewel Changi Airport - which boasts the world's tallest indoor waterfall - as well as the re-opening of the iconic Raffles Hotel and additional business generated by the annual F1 Singapore Grand Prix also helped, he said.

A few major Singapore real estate investment trust mergers boosted transactions too, according to Tricia Song, head of research for Singapore at Colliers.

The biggest deal this year was the purchase of Mandarin Orchard hotel for US$1.2 billion following the merger of OUE Commercial Reit and OUE Hospitality Trust.

The group also bought the Crowne Plaza hotel at Changi Airport for US$486 million, in what was 2019's third-biggest deal.

Barring an economic crisis, the near- to mid-term outlook for Singapore's hospitality market is favourable, said Christine Li, head of research for Singapore and Southeast Asia at Cushman & Wakefield.

With some large events and exhibitions making a return and new ones surfacing, 2020 is expected to be another bumper year, she said. BLOOMBERG