Knight Frank Malaysia executive director of capital markets James Buckley said well capitalised, shrewd investors were looking beyond the pandemic and saw this as an opportunity to acquire prime hotel assets at more reasonable pricing. KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia ranks as the third most attractive country for hotel investment in Southeast Asia, after Thailand and Singapore, according to global property consultancy Knight Frank Malaysia. Its Malaysian Hospitality Investment Intentions Survey, which analysed the investment perspectives of hotel owners, operators and owner-operators, revealed that 14 per cent of the respondents anticipated buying hotel assets within the next two years while 16 per cent looked to make an acquisition even sooner -- within the next six months -- despite the Covid-19 pandemic. In a statement today, Knight Frank Malaysia said the survey, conducted in the fourth quarter of last year, provided insight on investment demand, investor preferences and pricing. It also showed how Covid-19 impacted the sector and what measures could be taken to provide some much-needed relief. Knight Frank Malaysia executive director of capital markets James Buckley said well capitalised, shrewd investors were looking beyond the pandemic and saw this as an opportunity to acquire prime hotel assets at more reasonable pricing. "We believe prices for Malaysian hotels that trade will reflect a 10-30 per cent discount from their pre-Covid-19 values, ” he said. The property consultant said several criteria were highlighted as important factors when choosing to set up a hotel operation in a country. "A total of 89 per cent of the respondents indicated that tourist arrivals and flight accessibility are crucial in their investment decision-making process. "This was followed by friendly government initiatives which play an important role in motivating hotel operations and investments as it cushions the impact of market sentiment, ” it said. Meanwhile, Knight Frank said almost half of the respondents remained positive about the hospitality sector outlook in the next 12 months with 45 per cent respondents feeling that the sector was on its way to recovery, albeit contingent on the progressive roll-out of the vaccine and opening up of international travel restrictions. However, it said with the country now under Movement Control Order 2.0, with the exception of Sarawak, following the resurgence of Covid-19 cases, the road to recovery for the battered tourism industry would be long and hard. "Government measures and incentives to support the industry may be too little and too late as we continue to hear of more hotels shutting down either temporarily or permanently, ” it said. The consulting firm said hotels that were still in operations were aggressively promoting staycations and attractive "work from hotel” packages as well as food delivery service to stay afloat and support employment. "Moving forward, once interstate travel is allowed, we believed that domestic tourism will lead the way to recovery supported by the recently launched National Tourism Policy 2020-2030, which aims to position the country as among the top ecotourism destination, ” it added. - Bernama
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