By THE STAR
PENANG: IGB Corp Bhd is planning to develop a third Cititel Express hotel in Penang soon while construction of the second Cititel Express hotel in Sabah is expected to begin later this year.
Cititel Express, the company’s second Cititel brand, is scheduled to launch its first hotel in Kuala Lumpur today.
Cititel Hotel Management Sdn Bhd (CHM) managing director Datuk Eric H.K. Lim told StarBiz that IGB was now sourcing for a suitable site in a commercial area in Penang.
“We want to locate the hotel in a tourist catchment area. The land should be at least one acre. We hope to kick off the project in another two years,” he said.
Lim said there was presently a shortage of affordably priced three-star hotels in Penang and Cititel Express hotel should fill the gap.
CHM, a subsidiary of IGB, owns and manages the Cititel Express brand name catering to domestic and regional tourists.
The online booking rates for Cititel Express hotel start from RM68++ per night.
On the second Cititel Express in Kota Kinabalu, Lim said plans for the 270-room hotel were presently awaiting approval by the local authorities.
“We expect to get the green light in three months and complete the project in 18 or 20 months. The investment is about RM25mil,” he said.
Lim added that Cititel Express in Sabah would be a build, operate and transfer project with the Sabah Development Corp.
“The lease is for 25 years. Under the BOT arrangement, IGB will build and CHM will manage the hotel until the lease expires.
“The arrangement also gives us the option of renewing the lease for another 25 years,” he said.
Lim said CHM also had plans over the next two years to manage hotels developed by the IGB in Manila, Sydney, Bangkok, and Vietnam.
CHM also manages Boulevard Hotel, Cititel Mid Valley, Cititel Penang, MiCasa All Suite Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Pangkor Island Beach Resort, Sucasa Service Apartments Kuala Lumpur, and MiCasa Hotel Apartments Yangon.
Lim said that for the first five months of 2007, room rates for the Boulevard and Cititel Mid Valley hotels increased between 16% and 18%.
“There was also a 12% growth in room occupancy during the period,” he said.