Anthony Ross, chief executive with Dubai-based JA Resorts & Hotels, has said he remains optimistic over the long-term health of the Chinese hospitality market.
JA Resorts is currently in the midst of a large expansion in the country.
While progress has been slowed by the coronavirus pandemic, Ross explained, the long-term picture was bright.
“We have been working on a joint venture in China for 18-months alongside a Shanghai-based partner, and we are looking to open 30-40 hotels over the next five years,” he told the Hospitality Tomorrow conference this morning.
“Our Big Bed brand is aimed at millennial travellers, with work set to begin on the first property next week.”
He added: “We have delayed the initial opening, due to Covid-19, but we are seeing a lot of interest from state-owned enterprises and other entities for the opportunities we offer.”
In partnership with Novel International Group, a Shanghai-based investment fund, JA Resorts & Hotels is forming JA Novel Hospitality China.
The new group will be seeking to acquire buildings that will be retrofitted, renovated, or completed.
Ross added Big Bed (or Dà chuáng in Chinese) will be a lifestyle brand, incorporating technology into every touch point and featuring street art and vibrant colours.
Mirroring analysis from STR earlier in the day, the JA Resorts chief said the strong domestic market would be vital to the recovery in China.
He continued: “Domestic travel will be the first to recover around the world, and China has 1.3 billion people, so a huge domestic market – this is a positive sign.
“The successful re-launch of travel in China depends on this market, and it is already happening.
“Resorts are doing very well, as people have been in their houses for a number of months, and we are well positioned to take advantage of that.
“It will not be too long until we return to normality.”
Joining JA Resorts & Hotels in 2018 as chief executive, Ross leads a team of more than 2,000 associates across Dubai, Seychelles, and the Maldives.
A legacy United Arab Emirates brand, JA Resorts & Hotels was born in 1981 and has a widely recognised reputation for excellence in the management and operation of award-winning resorts.
The company has won a number of top titles at the World Travel Awards - JA Enchanted Island Resort is considered the World’s Leading Private Island Resort, JA Beach Hotel claimed the trophy for World’s Leading Luxury Family Resort, while JA Oasis Beach Tower was honoured as the World’s Leading Apartment Hotel.
Powered by Bench Events, Hospitality Tomorrow was launched to support the hard-hit international hotel community during Covid-19, by offering a virtual conference platform that provides knowledge, facilitates information sharing and connects the industry.