Mon, Aug 21, 2017 - Page 16 News List

INTERVIEW: Caesar Park aims to revive Taipei’s old western area

Caesar Metro Taipei Hotel held a soft opening on Aug. 1, adding 745 guest rooms to an already crowded sector. The hotel is part of Caesar Park Hotels and Resorts’ ambition to become the largest national hotel chain as the group believes the market might emerge from an ongoing transition caused by the sharp decline in Chinese visitors. Caesar Park Hotels and Resorts vice president Gary Pi, who doubles as Caesar Metro Taipei general manager, explained the company’s goals and strategy in an interview with ‘Taipei Times’ staff reporter Crystal Hsu on Thursday

To help create a purpose, Caesar Metro has a Western buffet restaurant and a Chinese restaurant that can seat 327 and 270 guests respectively. We also have large conference rooms that can host banquets and an outdoor swimming pool, a lounge bar and a fitness center, although they could not be completed in time for the soft opening.

Wanhua District is home to such tourist attractions as Longshan Temple (龍山寺), Bopiliao Historical Block (剝皮寮歷史街區) and Huasi Street Night Market (華西街觀光夜市), better known as ‘Snake Alley.’ We hired more than 20 concierge staff to double as tour guides to help guests appreciate the historical attractions and local culture.

TT: What are your views about the industry as the group is to double its properties this year?

Pi: The market will face challenges in the coming few years, as it needs more time to assimilate the sharp decline in Chinese tourists, who drove 40 percent of overall inbound visits in 2015 and contributed 35 percent last year.

The pace of contraction rose to 40 percent in the first six months of this year. Overdependence on a single market is never healthy for any industry.

It will take more time for travelers from other nations to fill the shortfall, given their relatively small numbers. It is important to look at a business from a long-term perspective.

Taiwan is better suited for the development of travel and tourism industries than Hong Kong, Singapore or other places in the region, considering its diverse natural scenery and unique culture and food.

We believe tourism will account for a greater share of GDP and star-grade properties can survive the transition as long as inbound travelers hit 10 million a year.

Caesar Park Taipei, across from Taipei Main Station, has been able to achieve occupancy rates of more than 85 percent, despite economic cycles, thanks to its convenient location and diversified customer mix. We can copy the successful model at Caesar Metro.

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