Hotel Okura set to gain control over rival JAL Hotels
Hotel Okura has been confirmed as the new owner of JAL Hotels, following the financial difficulties facing former majority shareholder and parent company Japan Airlines Corporation (JAL).JAL Group’s airline operation, Japan Airlines, filed for bankruptcy in January and is in the process of restructuring its entire operation. More than 15,000 employees are expected to be made redundant by the airline as part of this development.In a statement issued following the agreement, JAL Group conceded tough economic conditions had forced its hand in selling off its stake in the hotel chain, which is in the process of developing its first property in Dubai and already operates another property in neighbouring Fujairah. “There has been intense competition in the hotel industry with a decline in guest figures following challenging economic conditions and the entrance of new overseas hotel operators and start-ups from various industries into the market. It has become urgently necessary to improve profitability through further service improvements and cost reductions,” the statement read. “The JAL Group is determined to rebuild its business under the Corporate Reorganisation Proceedings, and with the support of the Enterprise Turnaround Initiative Corporation of Japan (ETIC), is aiming to make swift, fundamental reforms while preserving its business value to a maximum.”The brand names of Hotel Nikko and Hotel JAL City will be retained with no change to the Mileage Programme so hotel guests can be assured to continue accumulating miles and to use JAL coupons at JHC hotels. Hotel Okura started with its first property – Hotel Okura Tokyo, in 1962 prior to the Tokyo Olympic Games. Since then, it has become a leader in its industry in Japan, operating a total of 21 hotels in major cities – 16 in Japan and five overseas, including at famous resort destinations.