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“Vladivostok needs at least one five-star hotel”
Accor New East Europe CEO on hotel industry challenges in the Far East
The Far East attracts tourists from other regions of Russia and from Asia-Pacific countries. Guests are interested in landscapes, outdoor activities, unique attractions. However, often they lack elementary things for the tourist - service and infrastructure. Why are large hotel chains in no hurry to the Far East, and what becomes their main problem, in an interview with EastRussia, Alexis Delaroff, CEO of one of the largest global hotel operators in Accor New East Europe, said.
- You were a participant in the fifth Eastern Economic Forum. What are its results for you?
- I think this is such a compact and very interesting format. The sessions I attended were very relevant for my business and for the Far East. Therefore, I am very pleased with the forum.
- What features of the hotel business development in the Far East can you note?
- Remoteness from the European part, where our office is located, is probably the main challenge. The second challenge is distance and time zones. But the legislation in Russia is the same, so the Far East does not differ much from Moscow, Kaliningrad or other regions of Russia. The difference, speaking of Vladivostok, is a rather large contingent from Asia, which is not in the western part of Russia. But questions, problems, difficulties are similar.
- How do you see your business development in the Far East. Are there any prospects for him?
- There is a very specific plan. This year we are opening the first hotel in the Far East - in the city of Blagoveshchensk. It will be Mercure, small on 80 rooms, but, nevertheless, this is our first swallow. We have also signed agreements - letters of intent in Kamchatka and Yakutsk, we are considering a very specific project, I hope I can share the news in Vladivostok. We are actively looking for partners in this region, I am sure that in the next three to five years we will have five to seven hotels operating in this region.
- What difficulties do you encounter now in the development of the region? In Vladivostok and Khabarovsk, for example, there are unfinished hotels of large chains. Obviously there were problems in this area.
- I think that Hyatt in Vladivostok, the case is ambiguous. We were contacted when the projects only appeared, but fortunately, probably, the work with this organization did not take place. I think that Vladivostok needs at least one five-star hotel with 150-200 rooms. If there is a normal, good, clean and conscientious investor who is ready to buy one of these long-term construction projects and turn it into a normal hotel under our brand, we will be satisfied. We believe that this will be successful. But this is a very mixed project.
- Why do you think so?
- The difficulty is that it is very difficult to get normal loans here, especially long-term ones. And the hotel business is a long-term payback. Therefore, if all banks look at the hotel business with caution, it will be difficult to finance these projects. But the project that we are considering in Vladivostok is very advanced, and we have no doubt that if we subscribe to it, it will open. In Kamchatka, we also have a strong federal partner, so we are realizing the idea. It seems to me that the banks themselves do not understand everything and not everyone knows. They see what is happening in the Far East, and with some caution go into projects. All this is connected.