Trade Shows and EventsStrong showing by hospitality investment industry leaders at the 30th edition of HICAP at the harbourside Kerry Hotel, Hong Kong

HICAP 2019 delivers strong commitment to Hong Kong

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The lion dance opening of HICAP 2019 with Jesper Palmqvist, area director APAC STR  (left) and Jeff Higley, president, The BHN Group.
The lion dance opening of HICAP 2019 with Jesper Palmqvist, area director APAC STR (left) and Jeff Higley, president, The BHN Group.

HONG KONG – The 2019 Hotel Investment Conference Asia Pacific (HICAP) opened Oct 24, with a firm pledge to commit to Hong Kong. “We wanted to be here as your partners in Hong Kong through these challenging times. We are 100% committed to Hong Kong,” said Tom Kemp, chairman and CEO of Northstar Travel Group that operates HICAP under The BHN Group.

More than 250 companies represented by 550 delegates from 28 countries also committed to the Hong Kong event, making for a high-quality gathering, even if the numbers were down on previous years. 

More than 25% of the attendees were at the level of chairman, CEO, president or owner, and one in five of the companies were capital market or development firms.

Following a half-day that included a master class on “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” of mixed-use developments and hotel management agreement negotiations, the event proper kicked off with two speakers presenting scene-setting outlooks. 

Priyanka Kishore, head of India and SEA Economics, Oxford Economics, outlined the US-China’s trade war and its toll on global growth, before delivering the good news: tourism is outpacing GDP growth in APAC where travel growth prospects are strong.

According to STR’s managing director Robin Rossmann, tipping points include the outpacing of supply growth to demand growth in general, the disruption of technology on the fragmented hospitality industry, and sustainability (or the lack thereof) which has resulted in the industry’s ‘bad rep’.

Another panel spotlighted the global investment outlook, with September 2019 showing a 23% increase in APAC; America down by 16% and EMEA down by 5%.

To that, Kenneth Gaw, president and managing principal Gaw Capital Partners, expressed surprise as he sees more attractive deals in Europe as compared to Asia, which is more difficult for investors.

Winnie Chiu, president and executive director Dorsett Hospitality International, who shared that many family owner-operators in Asia acquire hotels and hold them for longer, affirmed this. 

Founder and CEO Global Hospitality Investment Group Kevin Colket declared himself bearish about China and bullish on Japan. 

Breakout sessions competed the morning with topics spanning economy hotels, renovations and conversions, creative acquisition structures, debt and financing.

In the midst of the presentations, organisers of HICAP took a moment to recognise the stellar careers of living legends with an Innovation Award handed out to Sonu Shivdasani, guardian of the culture, CEO and joint creative director Soneva, and Lifetime Achievement Award to Ho Kwon Ping, executive chairman Banyan Tree Holdings Ltd.


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