Philippines’ DoubleDragon Hotel Unit Bets On Post-Pandemic Tourism Recovery With Japan, Southeast Asia Expansion
Real estate developer DoubleDragon Properties—jointly owned by tycoon Edgar Sia II and longtime business partner billionaire Tony Tan Caktiong—plans to expand its hotel network across Japan and Southeast Asia in the next few years, betting on a post-pandemic recovery in the tourism industry.
The expansion will be spearheaded by DoubleDragon’s Singapore-incorporated subsidiary Hotel 101 Worldwide, which is expected to acquire its first property in Asia by the second quarter of 2022, DoubleDragon said in a regulatory filing earlier this week.
“The development and completion of these new Hotel 101 projects will be perfectly timed with the full recovery and anticipated rebound in the tourism industry,” Hannah Yulo-Luccini, chief investment officer of DoubleDragon, said in the statement. “We believe in a couple of years, all this pent-up demand for tourism will cause an unseen surge in demand for hotel rooms across the globe.”
The tourism industry was among the hardest hit by the global pandemic, with the sector losing over $900 billion in revenues in 2020 alone, according to the United Nations’ World Tourism Organization. Hotels and resorts were emptied as governments around the world closed their international borders and enforced lockdowns to curb the spread of coronavirus.
With the gradual lifting of travel restrictions and as governments step up vaccination efforts, some green shoots for hotel operators have begun to emerge. Hotel 101 said it achieved an average occupancy rate of 96% at its hotels in Manila as its properties served as quarantine facilities for Filipinos returning from overseas.
DoubleDragon is currently building five new hotels across the Philippines, which will generate revenues of over 18 billion pesos ($351 million) when completed by 2024. The projects in Bohol, Boracay, Cebu, Manila and Palawan will boost the company’s hotel portfolio to more than 6,000 hotel rooms, making it one of the country’s largest hotel operators.
Outside of the Philippines, DoubleDragon aims to establish its presence in popular island resorts such as Bali, Indonesia and Phuket, Thailand, as well as Hokkaido, Japan and Saigon, Vietnam in the next few years, the company said in an emailed reply to queries from Forbes Asia. The company also plans to open hotels in China, India, Europe, U.S. and United Arab Emirates for its next phase of expansion that will bring its global portfolio to about 50,000 rooms by 2030.
“The aspiration to expand Hotel 101 outside of the Philippines has been there since before but was further delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic,” Sia, chairman of DoubleDragon, said in a statement, “Now that the borders have opened up and the Covid-19 pandemic looks bound to end, we believe the elements are already there to finally put forward this aspiration of DoubleDragon to create a global Filipino hotel brand.”
With a net worth of $675 million, Sia, 45, was ranked No. 28 when the list of the Philippines’ 50 Richest was published in September. Sia and Tan—the founder of fast food giant Jollibee Foods—took DoubleDragon public in 2014, two years after Sia sold his barbecue chicken restaurant to Jollibee. The partners are preparing to have an initial public offering for another joint venture, the logistics warehouse developer CentralHub Industrial Centers, that’s likely to take place by the second half of this year.