AFTER TWO DECADES of operating a lone hotel in the Metro Manila city of Makati, Thai hospitality group Dusit International is expanding its footprint in the Philippines with a pipeline of new hotels that could quadruple its local portfolio to more than 2,000 rooms within three years.
Dusit has invested around 2 billion pesos (Bt1.35 billion) to develop its second hotel in the country called dusitD2 The Fort Manila, which also integrates a hotel and restaurant management school – the Dusit Hospitality Management College near the SM Aura mall in Taguig City. The facility will offer 220 guest rooms, of which 100 will be serviced apartments.
Set to open next year, this also marks the introduction of the dusitD2 brand in the Philippines. The brand targets young people with its modern amenities.
Dusit International group chief executive officer Suphajee Suthumpun said the idea for the school was “to have students staff the hotel itself so we provide an integrated learning platform for the students so they can learn the practice from the very first year”.
Degree programmes will be certified by Switzerland’s Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne, deemed by some as the best hospitality-management school in the world.
After 20 years of operating the 500-room hotel in Makati, Dusit International is likewise ready to expand outside the Philippines’ National Capital Region.
“We have signed and started quite a few projects here in the Philippines,” said Suphajee, who flew in from Thailand to sign a new deal to manage Robinsons Land Corp’s beachfront hotel-resort in Mactan, Cebu province, which should be ready by 2019.
Ryan Chen, Dusit International group director of development, said a total of seven or eight projects were already in the pipeline in the Philippines. Besides the school and the Mactan project, Dusit International would manage two other properties in Cebu City, three in Davao and another project in La Union province on Luzon, he said.
“We may be looking in three years’ time about 2,000 rooms, which will make us one of the largest hotel operators here in the Philippines,” Chen said.
Asked why Dusit was scaling up operations in the country only now, Suphajee said it would typically take time to build a brand but noted that her team had done a good job in the Philippines in the past two years, thus allowing for new opportunities.
“We’ve been here for 20 years and are naturally involved in how the Philippine tourism industry has been growing … There [are] a lot more things available to us and we’re growing in tandem with the country,” Chen said.