Briefs: NYC city council considers tax cut; Choice, Circus Circus agreement

NYC city council considers tax cut: The New York City Council is reportedly planning to dramatically cut the local hotel tax to encourage a faster recovery of the city’s US$100 billion tourism market. The Hotel Association of New York City has been urging Mayor Eric Adams and the council to bring down the occupancy tax rate on hotel stays to 2.875% from the existing 5.875%. The tax is likely to generate US$25 million in revenue for the fiscal year ending June 30, as per the mayor’s preliminary budget plan. However, studies have revealed that the city’s tourism market is not expected to bounce back fully to 2019 levels until 2026. A study by the Hotel Association found that lowering of hotel occupancy tax for two years would enable hotels to increase occupancy rates and generate additional revenue.

Circus Circus Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas

Choice, Circus Circus agreement: Choice Hotels International has entered into a strategic agreement with Circus Circus Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas to become a part of the Ascend Hotel Collection. Circus Circus’ 4,000 rooms can be booked directly through Choice channels.

Dallas leads US construction pipeline: With 165 projects/19,730 rooms, Dallas leads all U.S. markets in pipeline projects, according to Lodging Econometrics. Atlanta comes second with 135 projects/17,646 rooms, followed by Los Angeles (123 projects/20,176 rooms), New York (122 projects/20,864 rooms) and Phoenix (103 projects/13,820 rooms). Dallas also has the highest number of projects (54 projects/7,133 rooms) expected to start in the next 12 months. Markets with the greatest number of projects under construction are New York (90 projects/14,710 rooms) and Dallas (25 projects/3,698 rooms), followed by Atlanta (25 projects/3,928 rooms), Austin (25 projects/3,381 rooms) and Los Angeles (21 projects/3,489 rooms). These five markets account for 19% of the number of projects currently under construction in the U.S. With 84 projects/9,495 rooms, Dallas also has the most projects in the initial planning stages, followed by Los Angeles ( 57 projects/9,881 rooms), Atlanta (56 projects/6,585 rooms), Nashville (48 projects/5,635 rooms) and Orlando (42 projects/7,204 rooms).

SC Capital raises JPY122 billion: Singapore-based SC Capital Partners has secured commitments, including pledges, from two undisclosed global institutional investors, for JPY122 billion (US$951 million) for its new Japan Hospitality Fund. SC Capital says the fund will focus on acquiring minor repositioning and/or operating hospitality-related investments in Japan, which will include real estate trusts, beneficiary interests representing real estate, real estate investment trusts and companies. The first close of the fund was held with the initial commitment of JPY61 billion (US$47 million) with a further top-up option to increase commitments to JPY122 billion (US$951 million).

BNP Paribas acquires Club Med in France: BNP Paribas REIM has acquired the ski-in, ski-out Club Med de l’Alpe d’Huez in Isere, France, through its SCPI Accimmo Pierre fund. The property was acquired from Lagune, an investment vehicle managed by Luxembourg-based Batipart. Operated by Club Med since it opened in the 1980s, the 442-key resort underwent major renovations and extension in 2019, enabling it to reposition itself from three to four tridents. Capital investments totaled €87 million (US$93.42 million).

Coast Hotels grows portfolio: Coast Hotels Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of APA Hotel Canada Inc., agreed with Calgary, Canada-based SM2 Capital Partners last month to acquire the Regency Suites Hotel in downtown Calgary. The 120 all-suite property, which was rebranded as the Coast Calgary Downtown Hotel & Suites by APA, reopened on April 12. This is Coast Hotels’ fourth hotel acquisition in the recent months, with the fifth property in Sechelt, British Columbia, set to join the brand within the next 60 days.

Thailand lifts testing norms: Thailand has lifted the RT-PCR testing requirement for international arrivals from May 1 and introduced two new entry schemes specially customized for vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers. Fully vaccinated international travelers will no longer be mandated to show proof of a pre-arrival negative RT-PCR test nor go through a test on arrival. However, travelers are still required to register for a Thailand Pass with a vaccination certificate and an insurance policy with coverage of at least US$10,000 (reduced from the earlier US$20,000). Vaccinated international travelers will be free to move around the country, while unvaccinated/partially vaccinated international travelers will no longer be required to show proof of a pre-arrival test nor undergo a test upon arrival. They will have to register for a Thailand Pass with a five-day hotel booking an insurance policy with coverage of at least US$10,000. Upon arriving in Thailand, unvaccinated/partially vaccinated will have to stay in quarantine for five days and undergo a test on the fifth day.