Thailand’s Anantara Vacation Club eyes China expansion
Anantara Vacation Club, a subsidiary of the Thailand-based hotel group Minor International, is planning to build up a hotel asset portfolio in China to tap the country’s vast tourism market.
It is highly likely that the company will invest more in China this year, said chief operating officer Martin Tolan.
“We really like Sanya (in Hainan province), Guilin in Guangxi and Lijiang (in Yunnan),” said Tolan, adding that he is also optimistic about the Shanghai market once Disney opens its theme park there. “Out in the area where Disney is being built, I think we can still buy properties, which are pretty reasonably. We looked at it.”
Launched in 2010, Anantara Vacation Club works on a timeshared holiday ownership concept, offering club members stays AT destinations across Asia and worldwide.
Anantara Vacation Club is part of Minor Hotel Group, a hotel owner, operator and investor that has a a portfolio of 135 hotels and serviced suites under the Anantara, Avani and Elewana brands. Minor Hotel Group’s parent is Thailand-listed Minor International.
Anantara currently owns resorts in Bangkok, Koh Samui and Phuket in Thailand, Bali in Indonesia, Sanya in southern China and in New Zealand. It plans to open one in Chiang Mai in Thailand in the coming months.
“We also like Korea and Japan,” Tolan said.
The Anantara Vacation Club shared ownership concept means members or “owners” can purchase a flexible period of time allowing them to spend time at luxury resorts or villas for a one-time fixed price, locking in future holiday accommodation costs at today’s values, according to Tolan,
He said timeshare is popular in western countries but was new in Asia, including China. But he said the Chinese have welcomed the concept. Some 38 per cent of its 7,000 members come from China and 11 per cent from Hong Kong.
To further promote the timeshare industry, Tolan said, the group would like to help governments in Asia to draft regulations to protect consumers. Some countries such as Malaysia and Singapore are overregulated, he said.
In Hong Kong, the government allows a cooling-off period, or a time span during which the client may cancel a deal.
“There is no regulation in China,” he said.