Horwath highlights Central Asia hotel opportunities
The first Inaugural Central Asia & Turkey Investment Conference (CATHIC) saw a lively debate, as Horwath HTL hosted a panel session on hotel markets in Central Asia. The session, moderated by Michael O’Hare, Managing Director of Horwath HTL in Russia, contained representatives from Accor, Starwood and Wyndham.
Turkey was the clear favourite as the panel focussed on the hottest markets in the region, looking at where the hotel brands and investment community were seeking to expand. The view from the panel was that Turkey was a strong market and that good conditions for investment were continuing to develop, but there was also plenty of opportunity outside of Turkey in the neighbouring countries. Kazakhstan and Georgia were singled out specifically as targets for growth, particularly within the midscale brands such as Ibis, Four Points, Aloft, Ramada and Ramada Encore.
O’Hare said; “The panel raised some fascinating points about the market, not least that they are starting to see the return of financing opportunities. Sochi and the Olympic development have focussed attention on the region, and other areas are reaping the benefits of this as operators and investors seek to add critical mass to existing projects. The fact that operators are bullish enough about hotel results to not feel the need to invest themselves anymore tells us that we might well have reached the turning point in the recession, and are on the way up. This represents great news for current and potential investors as they aim to tap into a relatively underdeveloped but fast growing group of markets. Despite the ravages of the global recession one cannot ignore the huge imbalance of supply and demand that continues to prevail in the region and therefore presents excellent opportunities for development going forward as the world economy improves”