Sat, Aug 04, 2012 - Page 13 News List

Japanese luxury hotel celebrates opening in Taipei

COMPETITION:Regent Taipei and Ambassador welcomed Okura Prestige Taipei’s entry, saying it could attract more tourists and lift overall room rates

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

The Okura Prestige Taipei (大倉九和), the newest addition to the Tokyo-based international luxury hotel group Okura Hotels & Resorts, yesterday celebrated its official entry into the Taiwanese market.

With 18 stories above ground and seven underground and 208 guestrooms with Asian and Western decor and modern amenities, the hotel hopes to take advantage of Taiwan’s thriving tourism market. It is located in Taipei’s bustling Zhongshan District (中山), a place closely connected to Japan’s presence in Taiwan.

VITAL MARKET

The hotel group is rapidly expanding overseas and Taiwan is an important market for the group, given the rapid increase in Japanese tourists, Japanese general manager Shinji Umehara said.

Bilateral travel between Taiwan and Japan is expected to reach 3 million trips this year, jumping 23 percent from last year, Umehara said, adding that figures from last year rose 20 percent from a year earlier.

Japan is the second-largest source of foreign tourists to Taiwan after China, with the number of visitors gradually recovering to the levels before the earthquake on March 11 last year, he said.

The aviation agreement between the two countries last year to lift restrictions on the number of carriers allowed to offer scheduled passenger services will make bilateral business and tourist travel easier and more frequent, Umehara said.

Umehara expects the occupancy rate at the Okura Prestige Taipei to reach 65 percent to 70 percent, with room rates averaging NT$5,500 and NT$6,000.

He expects Japanese travelers to account for 70 percent of the clientele, while European, Taiwanese and guests from other Asian countries are expected to account for another 10 percent each.

Food and beverages are expected to generate 40 percent of the hotel’s revenue and hotel rooms another 60 percent, he said.

The hotel offers three dining options, including Okura’s signature Japanese restaurant “Yamazato” and Cantonese restaurant “Toh-Ka-Lin.” The hotel also features two full bars — one in the lobby and the other next to the rooftop swimming pool.

BENEFICIAL

The Ambassador Hotel (國賓大飯店) and the Regent Taipei (晶華) welcomed the new entrant, saying competition is beneficial to the industry.

Ambassador vice president and head of financial department Bill Chen (陳榮輝) said the presence of Okura Prestige might attract more visitors to Taiwan and lift the sector’s overall room rates, as the entry of W Hotel did last year.

The Regent Taipei voiced similar views, saying the hotel also benefited from increased competition in recent years.

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