The continued expansion of IHG ANA Hotels Group Japan’s portfolio is underscored by strong confidence in the fundamentals of the country’s tourism industry, the new head of the organization said.
Abhijay Sandilya, the hotel group’s general manager for Japan and Micronesia, was appointed to the position on October 1, 2021 and arrived in Tokyo in April this year.
Talk to GTT AsiaSandilya said as soon as the “chains are removed” and travelers are allowed to return to Japan, the tourism sector will see an increase in interest and bookings.
However, it all hinges on the government’s decision to ease entry restrictions on leisure travel, said Sandilya, who has seen first-hand the problems the pandemic has wreaked on Japan’s previously sluggish travel market. booming.
“The pandemic has had a huge impact on the travel, tourism and hospitality industries, and it has been the biggest demand suppression ever seen in our lifetime,” he said.
“The silver lining is that as soon as the restrictions are relaxed, we will see a rapid rebound,” he noted, adding that inquiries at IHG properties in Tokyo and Osaka have been encouraging in recent weeks as “parts of business travel” comes back.
“We also see the airlift returning. We have to strike a balance between keeping people safe and welcoming the return of tourism,” he said. “And that’s important because globally, tourism employs one in 10 people.”
Sandilya insists the government’s ambitious tourism target of 60 million arrivals by 2030 is still achievable.
To meet this demand, the company has embarked on an ambitious expansion plan in recent years, with Sandilya in his former role as Vice President of Development in Japan and Australia overseeing the opening of the first Japanese Kimpton brands. , Regent and Hotel Indigo, as well as the first new Holiday Inn Express in many years.
In 2021, IHG ANA Hotels Group Japan also secured its biggest deal in 15 years with an agreement to open or completely renew three properties – with more than 1,000 rooms – in the Appi Kogen region, famous for its sports. winter. These properties will boost the brands’ profile and popularity, while efforts are also underway to reverse the talent drain that has plagued the industry during the recession, Sandilya explained.
“Japan is one of the world’s favorite destinations, macroeconomic conditions are extremely robust and we are confident that consumer demand will be back soon,” he said.