Starwood’s Japan business holds steady

STARWOOD Hotels and Resorts Worldwide’s hotels in Japanese cities unaffected by the tsunami, earthquake and ongoing nuclear scare are “doing alright”, according to Sheraton Grande Toyko Bay Hotel’s general manager, Akira Osada.

Osada was talking to TTG Asia e-Daily on the sidelines of the Starwood Expo Singapore roadshow yesterday, where he was representing the group’s 15 properties in Japan.

Osada said that apart from the new The Westin Sendai, now closed as a result of utility shortage and other operational difficulties resulting from the disaster, other Starwood hotels in the country were experiencing “business as usual”.

Illustrating the sense of normalcy elsewhere in Japan, Osada said the 238-room Sheraton Hiroshima Hotel had gone ahead with its March 28 opening and was “doing well” in terms of occupancy. “In the south, where Osaka is, hotels are also busy because many foreign companies that were based in Tokyo have relocated to the Kansei region. The St. Regis Osaka, opened last October, is doing well.”

“However, in general, occupancy in hotels in Tokyo is very low,” said Osada. “What will truly help Tokyo’s tourism get back on its feet is the reopening of Tokyo Disneyland. The people want it to reopen to bring tourists back and to feel that life is normal again.”

“Its reopening is important to Sheraton Grande Toyko Bay Hotel, as it is just next to the park and 90 per cent of our guests are Disneyland visitors,” he added.

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