The Almaty “Five Stars”
Editor’s Note: Originally written by neweurasia’s Adam (RUS).
The newspaper “Kursiv” has recently published an interesting piece about running a hotel business in Almaty. It is known that already in March Hayatt, which used to administer “Rahat Palace”, has left, whereas Kempinski Bayterek and Radisson Blu have frozen their projects down for an unknown period of time. Noticeably, Park Inn and JW Marriott are planning to be opened in 2012-2013.
The upcoming 3-4 years may introduce another group of major hotel projects of “luxury” and “premium” class with over 348 rooms in total. Kempinski Bayterek and Radisson Blu projects have been suspended due to financial difficulties and the proposed time of their resumed work is unknown. The numbers about planned investments into the projects vary.
Park Inn and JW Marriott, however, are doing much better. They are planning to open in 2012 and 2013. One of the main reasons for their optimism is the degree of their readiness for exploitation. According to some experts, ‘accurate data on investments are absent, but approximate numbers are 200 – 250 million USD’.
Apart from the abovementioned businesses, some other major foreign companies such as Four Seasons and Hilton are now evaluating the capacities of the local market. This might create ‘extra-surplus’ in the “five-star” segment because in the last two years the Almaty hotel industry has mostly seen new projects of only ‘premium-class’.
Given that Almaty is becoming increasingly busy, there is also an increasingly unsatisfied demand for 3 and 4-star hotels. Spring and fall are the most active periods for holding exhibitions and international conferences. It is also the time when there is a lack of affordable hotel rooms. This, in turn, has made renting private housing popular.
Until 2007 Almaty’s hotel business was on a rise. In 2007 hotels were 50% full; from 2008 to 2009 the indexes rapidly decreased. The record of 60-70% was put during the Asian games. In 2010 the number of customers decreased for 1% compared to 2009. Hotel businesses in 2011 are expected to be moderately successful.