IHG appointed manager of landmark Vanuatu Resort

Hotel to become Australasia's first Holiday Inn resort after major refurbishment

February 17, 2010 // Franchising.com // South West Pacific Investments Ltd has appointed IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) to assume management of its 155-room hotel currently trading as Le Meridian Port Vila, Vanuatu, signing a 15-year agreement commencing 1 March 2010.

IHG will manage the property as Palms Resort & Casino Vanuatu while it undergoes a major refurbishment, due for completion in late 2010. It will then rebrand as Holiday Inn Resort Vanuatu, becoming Australasia's first Holiday Inn resort and joining an expanding international network of leisure destinations represented by the world's largest and most popular mid-scale hotel brand.

Every aspect of the resort is currently being considered for refurbishment to bring it up to Holiday Inn resort standards and create a more compelling offering for the families, couples and conferencing and incentive groups it typically attracts. Upon its reinstatement as Vanuatu's only resort with a major globally-recognised brand, its owners are confident it will be the best leisure and conferencing destination the popular destination has to offer.

Located on the shores of Erakor Lagoon outside the Vanuatu capital Port Vila, the resort will join IHG's expanding presence in the South Pacific. This includes four InterContinental resorts in French Polynesia, a new InterContinental resort and a long-standing Holiday Inn hotel in Fiji, and Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn hotels in Papua New Guinea.

South West Pacific Investments Ltd is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Singapore-listed company Hotel Properties Ltd (HPL), which also owns the recently-opened Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma in the Maldives.

"In selecting IHG to manage this resort and contribute to the direction of its refurbishment, we were attracted to the strength of the Holiday Inn brand and its expanding resort offering; the effectiveness of its international sales and marketing resources; and the quality and experience of its people. Ultimately, IHG has demonstrated an ability to deliver consistently high returns on our assets," said HPL Hotels director, Tim Stableforth.

With this deal, the resort has come full circle from its opening in 1975 as an InterContinental hotel. South West Pacific Investments Ltd purchased the property in 1993, when it operated as the Royal Palms Resort.

"This is an exciting opportunity for IHG, to enter a new market in collaboration with an existing business partner and work on a project of such high potential. We're especially looking forward to introducing Australasia's first Holiday Inn resort as this exceptional collection of upper mid-scale leisure and conferencing properties continues to expand worldwide," said IHG chief operating officer Australasia, Bruce McKenzie.

"As market sentiment continues to pick up in Vanuatu's key source markets, the timing of this deal and upgrade project couldn't be better."

IHG will contribute to the direction of the redesign and scope of works undertaken in the upgrade of the resort, which draws the majority of its visitors from Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia.

About Holiday Inn Relaunch

Holiday Inn is in the midst of the biggest relaunch in hospitality history creating a more contemporary brand image including a new logo, and driving consistency in all 3,296 Holiday Inn brand family hotels around the world. With over 1,800 hotels already relaunched worldwide, the completion of the relaunch of the global estate is expected to be completed in 2010.

About IHG

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) [LON:IHG, NYSE:IHG (ADRs)] is the world's largest hotel group by number of rooms. IHG owns, manages, leases or franchises, through various subsidiaries, over 4,400 hotels and more than 645,000 guest rooms in over 100 countries and territories around the world. The Group owns a portfolio of well recognised and respected hotel brands including InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts, Hotel Indigo®, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn® Hotels and Resorts, Holiday Inn Express®, Staybridge Suites® and Candlewood Suites® and also manages the world's largest hotel loyalty programme, Priority Club® Rewards with 48 million members worldwide.

IHG has nearly 1,400 hotels in its development pipeline, which will create 160,000 jobs worldwide over the next few years.

InterContinental Hotels Group PLC is the Group's holding company and is incorporated in Great Britain and registered in England and Wales.

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