TUI subsidiary ROBINSON will open two new Clubs in Asia in 2017. In autumn, the premium operator will commence its first operations in Thailand with ROBINSON Club Khao Lak. A second Club in the Maldives will likewise strengthen the portfolio when ROBINSON Club Noonu – currently under construction – opens on the island of Orivaru, also this autumn. “This reflects our clear focus on long haul, which is increasingly popular with holidaymakers and offers great potential for ROBINSON,” says Bernd Mäser, Managing Director of Robinson Club GmbH.
Hotels and resorts in growth market Asia
The expansion pursued by the Club operator is also aligned to group strategy at TUI. Along with the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean, Asia is among the growth and future markets identified by the world’s leading tourism group. Holiday destinations in these latitudes promise customers sunshine all year round. TUI already expanded in Asia last year with RIU Sri Lanka and TUI Family Life Mai Khao Lak. “We are broadening the offering from our major hotel brands to reflect the growing trend among our holidaymakers towards long-haul travel,” said TUI Board member Sebastian Ebel, whose responsibilities include the hotels and resorts operated by the tourism group.
2017: Attractive locations for new ROBINSON Clubs
ROBINSON Club Khao Lak is on the west coast of Thailand, about 85 kilometres from Phuket, in the middle of the almost unspoiled Khao Lak tropical forest. The site of more than 280,000 square metres is right on the beach. The Club has 320 rooms and villas in 14 categories measuring up to 350 square metres. It is particularly designed for couples and singles, but will also suit active families with children. ROBINSON is aiming here at holidaymakers from Germany and Europe, Asia and Australia. A busy programme of conversion works will run from January until the ROBINSON Club Khao Lak is inaugurated. The ROBINSON sports centre, for example, is being completely rebuilt, with facilities for tennis, soccer and beach volleyball. Restaurants and the bar will be created in the contemporary ROBINSON style.
The resort on Orivaru Island will take the name ROBINSON Club Noonu. This too will open to customers in the autumn of 2017. The island of approximately 150,000 square metres, with its own lagoon and a beach of fine sand all the way round, is part of Noonu Atoll, about 200 kilometres north of the capital Malé. Work is currently underway on 60 water villas, 50 beach villas and 40 two-storey villas with high-quality finishing. Transfer by hydroplane takes around 45 minutes.
New markets: a growing Asian middle class brings potential for the TUI brand
But Asia’s appeal as a holiday destination is not confined to TUI customers from established source markets like Germany, the UK and Sweden. “In many countries there is a growing middle class, and they are discovering the joys of travel. Internationally the TUI brand has great potential to attract new groups of customers and develop products and services for them. In Asia itself, but also when customers from Asia travel to Europe. Building our profile in Asia is something we intend to work on in the next few years,” comments Frank Rosenberger, who took on the IT and New Markets role on the TUI Board in the new year. “As a first step, TUI is looking to partnerships, such as the agreement we recently signed with the travel platform Fliggy, a subsidiary of China’s biggest online trading platform Alibaba.”