Howard Johnson opens in S’ville

New York Stock Exchange- (NYSE) listed hotel franchiser Wyndham Hotels & Resorts Inc (WH) has opened its first hotel in the Kingdom – the Howard Johnson Plaza by Wyndham Blue Bay Sihanoukville, WH said in a February 18 press release.

WH said the new 36-storey property in Sihanoukville’s Ekareach beach marks the debut of the Howard Johnson by Wyndham (Howard Johnson) chain in Southeast Asia and follows successful openings in China and South Korea.

There are more than 320 Howard Johnson hotels globally – in the Americas and Asia, it said. WH’s other brands include AmericInn, Baymont, Days Inn, Dazzler, Dolce, Esplendor, Hawthorn, La Quinta, Microtel, Ramada, Super 8, Trademark, Travelodge, TRYP, Wingate, Wyndham, Wyndham Garden, Wyndham Grand.

The 522-room hotel is the latest addition to WH’ portfolio of more than 1,500 hotels across the Asia-Pacific and 8,900 hotels in nearly 95 countries in all continents save Antarctica, it added.

WH Asia-Pacific president Joon Aun Ooi said in the press release: “We are delighted to celebrate [WH’s] entry into Cambodia.

“Across [the Asia-Pacific], we are committed to growing our portfolio in amazing destinations – such as Sihanoukville – and we are confident that the hotel’s prime location by the beach, along with its excellent amenities, will make it one of the most desirable places to stay in the city.

“This is an incredible milestone opening for [WH] and we look forward to continuing our strong growth momentum. Through our robust pipeline of franchise and management contracts across the region, we anticipate more than 100 openings in Southeast Asia in the next three-to-five years.

“This will further strengthen our value proposition for Wyndham Rewards members as well as that for our owners and partners.”

WH noted that the hotel is located just 26km away from Sihanouk International Airport, while Phnom Penh is 225km to the northeast.

Preah Sihanouk Provincial Administration spokesman Kheang Phearum told The Post that he had not heard the particulars about the investment project, but extended a cordial welcome to potential local and international investors in the province.

“This is good news, it is a sign that Sihanoukville is still a multi-sectoral investment destination,” he said.

Ho Vandy, an adviser to the Cambodia Tourism Association, noted that substantial opportunity has been unlocked in the Preah Sihanouk provincial capital of Sihanoukville for international investors over the last five years, especially the Chinese.

“Sihanoukville is emerging not only as a town that entices tourists, but also as a potential investment destination in Cambodia. I imagine it’ll become a more appealing choice for local and foreign tourists,” he said.

The Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction in 2019 approved 4,446 construction projects (up 55.07 per cent from 2,867 in 2018), worth some $9.353 billion (up 78.88 per cent from $5.228 billion in 2018), on a total area of 18.54 million sqm (up 62 per cent from 11.42 million sqm in 2018).

On the NYSE, WH’s share price rose $3.25 or 5.40 per cent to close at $63.49 on February 19 for a market capitalisation of $5.92 billion, with 969,247 shares traded.

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