Sat, Sep 21, 2019 - Page 12 News List

Mandarin Oriental hopeful as it eyes end of restrictions

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Luxury hotel Mandarin Oriental Taipei (文華東方酒店) said it hopes to emerge unscathed next quarter from China’s restrictions on individual travelers to Taiwan with help from the high season.

The five-star facility aims to attract more guests from Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and elsewhere to offset an expected decline in Chinese tourists, who account for more than 10 percent of customers, it said.

“Mandarin Oriental would inevitably take a blow, although the impact is not evident thus far, but may pick up strength from next month,” Mandarin Oriental Taipei marketing and communications director Luanne Li (李佳燕) said this week.

On Aug. 1, Beijing imposed increased restrictions on individual tourist visits to Taiwan until the presidential elections on Jan. 11 next year.

Pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong have caused havoc in the hospitality industry in the territory, but have not affected outbound tourism, Li said, adding that Hong Kongers make up 20 percent of the hotel’s clientele.

The 303-guestroom facility hopes to boost the number of Japanese guests with spa packages, she said.

The strategy makes sense, as Japanese tourists make up 20 percent of customers, about the same amount as domestic travelers, Li said, adding that occupancy has been steady at 60 percent to 70 percent this year.

Mandarin Oriental is also seeking to improve food and beverage sales, she said.

Cafe Un Deux Trois on Wednesday unveiled a 45-day-long Canadian food festival, with Canadian dishes and ingredients to make up 30 percent of international cuisine in its buffet and semi-buffets, which start at NT$1,580 (US$51), Li said, adding that diners during the period can enter a prize draw for roundtrip plane tickets to Canada.

Italian restaurant Bencotto has invited guest chefs Filippo Saporito and Gabriele Vannucci to cook Italian delicacies next week, with lunches costing NT$3,500 per head and dinners NT$5,500, she said.

The fourth quarter is a high season for food and beverage, due to national holidays and year-end corporate feasts, Li said.

In other China-related news, CJW International Co (寶得利), a local distributor and processor of jewelry, announced it would lay off 114 workers to cope with the decline in Chinese tourists.

CJW International, which also entertains Chinese tour groups, said it had no choice but to lower headcount to save on operating costs, with the number of Chinese tour groups slumping from 3,000 a month to 100.

Shares in CJW International closed down 0.65 percent at NT$15.25 yesterday, while the Taipei Exchange gained 0.35 percent, bourse data showed.

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