Tourism Plummets, But Developers Push Ahead With Hotels


Victorian developers are forging ahead with new hotel plans as operators and project timelines are updated on two Melbourne sites.

Ashe Morgan “confidently” signed Nesuto to their $100 million 211-room hotel in The District, Docklands which is expected to be built early next year and opened in 2023.

Joint-venture developers Urban, Hamilton Marino and CHT Architects also signed The Ascott Limited’s new hotel brand Lyf on their 105-room Collingwood co-living building, slated to open in 2022.

This comes as dismal travel results are recorded for the state in June by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

They reveal a 99.3 per cent drop in international visitors to 1,140 and a near 100 per cent drop in international students as Covid-19 cases started to pick up in Victoria.

There were just 70 long-term visitor arrivals and 660 short-term visitors in June 2020 compared to solid growth in arrivals for the state since 2010.

In 2019 people from Singapore, China and New Zealand represented the largest number of visitors while in 2020 the arrivals came from New Zealand, the United Kingdom and United States.

Short-term visitor arrivals in Victoria

Short-term visitor arrivals in Victoria - Australian Bureau of Statistics

^ Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics

CommSec senior economist Ryan Felsman said that with conditions worsening, not much of an improvement was expected for the state.

“The renewed lockdown in Melbourne and the re-closure of Queensland’s state border in recent weeks have made life for beleaguered tourism operators even more difficult,” Felsman said.

According to the ABS there was some improvement nationally when comparing June to May with an increase of international visitors by 56.8 per cent and returned residents by 17.8 per cent.

Related: Global Hotel Performance Up from Rock Bottom

Melbourne hotel operators move in

The District Docklands chief executive George Karabatsos said they were moving forward with their long-term plans for the site.

“Despite current market conditions, we are confident retail and tourism remains crucial to Victoria’s rebuild post-Covid-19,” Karabatsos said.

Located at 80 Waterfront Way, Nesuto Docklands Apartment Hotel will form part of the open-air precinct of The District Docklands.

▲ AsheMorgan signs the Nesuto Docklands Apartment Hotel as a milestone expansion to Melbourne’s The District Docklands mixed use precinct.
▲ AsheMorgan signs the Nesuto Docklands Apartment Hotel as a milestone expansion to Melbourne’s The District Docklands mixed use precinct.

The partnership sees Nesuto add its first Victorian property to its existing portfolio of 11 operating, and one in-the-pipeline, hotels in Australia and New Zealand.

The apartment hotel, designed by Melbourne-based architects Fender Katsalidis, will feature 58 one-bedroom, 20 two-bedroom and 133 studio apartments.

The Collingwood hotel development at 42 Oxford Street sits within Urban’s C&L development on a triple street block along Cambridge, Langridge and Oxford Streets.

The hotel is expected to attract “millennials” and the “millennial-minded” who will use a mobile app to tap or swipe to open doors, check-in and out and make contactless payments.

Urban director Bart O’Callaghan welcomed Singapore-based Ascott as operator of the ensuite and studio apartments.

“Lyf will be Collingwood’s first co-living hotel and the first of its kind in Australia,” O’Callaghan said.

Ascott’s other serviced residences and hotel brands include Ascott The Residence, Somerset, Quest, Citadines and Citadines Connect.

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