Marriott begins massive expansion in Indonesia

United States-based hotel chain Marriott International is undertaking a massive expansion in Indonesia to tap into the rapid growth in the country’s tourist sector.

Marriott, which operates a number of hotel brands including JW Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, The Westin, Le Meridien, Sheraton and Four Points, is currently building 33 new properties across the country including in newly developed tourist destinations, Marriott International’s chief operating officer Asia Pacific Rajeev Menon said in Jakarta on Monday.

Some of the new hotels currently under construction were located in Bali, Surabaya, Belitung, Batam and Jakarta.

“Indonesia is one of our key strategic markets and by the end of this year we are targeting to have 53 hotels operating in Indonesia,” Menon said.

In terms of hotel numbers, Menon said Indonesia was currently the third-biggest in the Asia Pacific after China and India. Currently, Marriott operates 49 hotels in Indonesia.

Menon said Indonesia was the hotel chain’s strategic key market in Asia Pacific with the country’s welcome attitude toward tourism and the rising demand for traveling among the growing Indonesian middle-class population.

“So we generally see Indonesia as a key strategic market. One of the incredible potentials that Indonesia has is the opening of more diverse tourism destinations as the 10 New Bali destinations open up and new capital comes
around. With that you see travel activity happening across Indonesia and it is growing stronger, especially when more Indonesians acquire more wealth,” he said.

Indonesia is currently developing 10 new tourist destinations called “New Balis”, from Labuan Bajo in East Nusa Tenggara, Mandalika in West Nusa Tenggara, Borobudur in Central Java, Lake Toba in North Sumatra and Tanjung Kelayang in Bangka Belitung to Morotai. Currently, Marriott International already has hotels in several places such as in Borobudur, Belitung, Lombok and Labuan Bajo.

Marriott’s vice president for Indonesia, Ramesh Jackson, said Marriott believed that the hotel chain would open more hotels in the new tourist destinations, which have begun to receive a growing number of both domestic and foreign tourists.

“Right now, we already have hotels in six out of the 10 destinations, so we will obviously get new hotels in those new destinations,” said Jackson.

Jackson said Marriott was also excited about the Indonesian government’s plan to build a new capital city in East Kalimantan, which would certainly open an opportunity for the hospitality company to expand its network there.

“I’m sure it will happen. As the President has started building the infrastructure and as such is planning the move, people have to stay somewhere and there would be a need for hotels. So, I’m sure that we will be targeting to build hotels in that destination too,” said Jackson.

Marriott’s portfolio in the Asia Pacific currently covers over 730 operating hotels in 23 countries and territories, operating under 23 of the company’s 30 global brands. With an ambitious goal to have 1,000 hotels open by the end of 2020, Marriott International aims to create 50,000 core jobs in the region. In 2019 alone, the company expects to add nearly 100 new hotels or close to 20,000 rooms in the region.

Indonesia is one of the key markets for Marriott International as a result of the increase in foreign tourist visits to the country, from 10.2 million in 2015 to 11.5 million, 14.03 million and 15.8 million in 2016, 2017 and 2018 respectively. The government is aiming for 18 million foreign tourist arrivals in 2019.

According to the latest data from Statistics Indonesia (BPS), Indonesia’s foreign tourist visits from January to July this year amounted to 9.3 million, up by 2.63 percent year-on-year.