Travel operators discuss financial crisis at meeting

Hotel News - 30/10/2008

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Participants at the Web in Travel (WIT) forum considered strategies for dealing with the effects of the crisis and the mood of that meeting and of the overall convention was sombre, although many were looking for new opportunities in the current climate.

The hotel leaders’ section focused on what was likely to occur next year with regional accommodation given the financial crisis. The chairman of Accor Asia/Pacific, Michael Issenberg, noted: “We shouldn’t be afraid but we should be very concerned for at least a year. If you’re not concerned – good luck.”

Starwood Hotels & Resorts president for Asia/Pacific, Miguel Ko, said that the issues most affecting the region at this time are the credit crunch and Thailand’s political instability.

The Starwood executive also commented that if these issues were resolved the region’s hotel sector would likely recover much more rapidly than North America and Europe.

Upscale boutique property owners Loh Lok Peng and Yenn Wong actually launched their businesses during the region’s financial crisis of 1997. Loh said that the current crisis could afford some good opportunities for acquiring properties also.

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