Best Western targets Japanese expansion

Best Western International has ambitious plans for Asia, targeting 30 hotels in Japan by 2010, and a total of 200 hotels in Asia within the next three years.Best Western Vice President International Operations Asia, Glenn de Souza, expressed his optimism on this achievable goal. “Visitor arrivals to Japan have shown strong growth in recent years, and this trend is likely to continue into the foreseeable future,” he said. “The ‘Visit Japan’ campaign has also given these numbers a timely boost.”

Mr de Souza added that Japan’s current economic conditions make the country more attractive to foreign visitors than in the past, while it continues to maintain strong fundamentals as a politically stable business hub.

“Japan has a lot to offer as a destination,” said Mr de Souza. “It is an art and cultural centre, has stunning architecture and is home to a range of natural attractions.”

Mr de Souza added that expansion in Japan will focus on major cities, with the ‘Premier’ brand receiving much of the attention. The aim is to meet the trend of providing convenient accommodation, while taking a share of the market away from smaller, cheaper “capsule” hotels.

Recent Best Western additions to Japan include the 228-room Best Western Joytel Osaka that occupies the top 10 floors of a modern tower and the 80-room Best Western Wakayama, which features spacious rooms in the city center.

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Best Western Joytel Osaka’s guestrooms feature the latest electronic amenities, hot tubs and spectacular views of the city. Located in southwest Osaka and just a 10 to 20-minute subway ride from downtown, the hotel provides a 100-sqm function room capable of hosting 60 delegates as well as two 32-sqm breakout rooms.

Best Western Wakayama offers quick access to the world-famous Wakayama Chinese noodle restaurants as well as the area’s hot springs. The hotel presents a daily buffet breakfast with 10 rotating menus, and the lobby features a large-screen TV, massage machines and computers.

Several other Best Western hotels coming on line in 2009-2010 are in various stages of construction, renovation and re-branding. Among these are properties in Aomori, Hokkaido, Ishikawa, Kagoshima, Kobe, Nagano, Okinawa, Saga, Sasebo, Sendai and Tokyo with more destinations in the pipeline.

Already operating in Japan are Best Western Takayama, Best Western Kochi and Best Western Premier Hotel Nagasaki, each of which boast 80% annual occupancy rates.
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