Often you can predict the next hot destination by where major luxury hotel brands are setting up shop. After all, these brands spend a great deal of time and money deciding where they need to be. So, when a cluster of luxury properties open in one place, it’s a good indicator demand will follow supply.
For nearly a decade, Tourism Australia has been devoting more resources toward developing its luxury tourism product. During the past few years, international luxury hotel brands have taken notice, significantly beyond Sydney and Melbourne (although there has been plenty of development in Australia’s two largest cities as well.)
In its recent Future 100 report, JWT Intelligence called out Hobart, the capital of Tasmania, as a must-watch tourism destination for 2019, saying it was “one of the world’s most remote and unexpected cultural hubs.”
While Tasmania is home to secluded ultra-luxury lodges like Cradle Mountain Lodge and Saffire Freycinet, Hobart has been traditionally low on high-end branded hotel products. But that is changing in 2019 with the opening of a Marriott Luxury Collection property. The Tasman will open toward the end of 2019 in a restored 19th century building.
On the other side of Australia, there’s been a luxury boom in Perth, thanks to a hotel incentive policy put forth by the state government several years back. The payoff of the policy started coming to fruition in 2015, when Como’s The Treasury opened.
Then, in 2018, both a Westin and an edgy QT Hotel took in their first guests. Next year, the arrival of Ritz-Carlton will provide the western Australian city with even more luxury street cred. The property, located in the city’s Elizabeth Quay, is slated to open in the second quarter.
Many hotels in Greece have been changing hands recently, as the government is now allowing banks to work out non-performing loans dating back to the economic crisis in 2008 and beyond. According to Katherine Doggrell, an editor at Hotel Analyst, a U.K.-based news service for hotel investors, the first wave of hotel sales started December 2017.
However, it’s taking some time for hotels on the luxury end to open…or re-open. The big news of 2019 is the arrival of the first Four Seasons in Greece. The Four Seasons Astir Palace Athens is actually located thirty minutes from the city along the Aegean coastline. It’s a major overhaul of the iconic Astir Palace Hotel, whose opening spurred the development of the Greek tourism economy in the early 1960s. Next up for Greece will be the One & Only Kea Island in 2020.
The 2013 announcement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics helped spur International investment in Japanese properties. The Japan National Tourism Organization believes the event will broaden the country’s international appeal and will distribute tourism flows and hotel development to lesser-known areas.
Some of the results are already in. Beppu, on the southern island of Kyushu, is a renowned onsen retreat among the Japanese. The scenic area has more than 2,400 natural springs. With the 2019 opening of the ANA InterContinental Beppu Resort & Spa, the area is aiming to increase its appeal to international visitors.
Marriott will open The Luxury Collection IRAPH SUI in Miyako, Okinawa early in 2019, and a JW Marriott in Nara City toward the end of the year. Park Hyatt is opening in Kyoto in 2019, although it has pushed back the opening of its Park Hyatt Niseko, Hanazono. The resort, located in a popular Japan skiing destination, is now expected to open in early 2020.