An international hotel property investor is looking to double the size of its New Zealand property portfolio.
Pro-Invest chairman and managing director Ron Barrott said New Zealand continued to be one of the world’s top tourist destinations and a key driver of its growth plan.
“So we’re looking for opportunities where there are, for lack of anything better, tired hotels that can be brought up to date, not only in terms of interior design and the quality of what they offer, but also their sustainability. he said, adding that there were plenty of opportunities in New Zealand to do so.
The private equity firm, which traded on its building record for sustainability, was looking to add to its existing $400 million New Zealand portfolio of three newly built hotels, which included the Voco Hotel complex and Holiday Inn Express. in Auckland, as well as the Holiday Inn Express in Queenstown.
“Yes, we are very happy to double that investment and we want to do so,” Barrott said.
“We are now looking to use our expertise and knowledge to improve the accommodation offer in New Zealand,” he said.
The company’s entire global hotel portfolio in Europe, the Middle East and Australasia has been built under real estate industry sustainability guidelines, Barrott said.
“The industry has long realized that it needs to improve buildings and it doesn’t matter if a building is newly constructed or older buildings that you need to renovate and upgrade to have a good ESG [environmental, social, and governance] identifiers.”
The global tourism industry was rapidly emerging from the pandemic, Barrott said, suggesting the government should ease restrictions as other countries have done.
“The biggest problem we all have is labor supply,” he said, adding that it was an international problem affecting all aspects of the tourism sector, including including catering and aviation.
“I mean, we also have our businesses in Europe, where pretty much everything has been taken down, all the restrictions have been removed and things are getting back to normal quickly or faster.”
The New Zealand government is now considering easing Covid-19 restrictions.
Some of the broader industry issues, such as emerging regulations regarding Airbnb, were unavoidable, he said.
“They have to follow the same rules as the rest of the hospitality industry,” he said.
“It’s now become a major industry and it needs to be regulated and sorted out and I think governments around the world are waking up to that fact and addressing it.”
In 2020, Airbnb’s head of public policy for Australia and New Zealand, Derek Nolan, said the company had frequent conversations with councils across the country as they sought to introduce taxes on beds.
While Nolan supported the regulation, he said it was important to recognize the differences in Airbnb’s business model.