Wyndham to Open 20 Ramada Encore Hotels in South Korea

Parsippany, N.J.-based Wyndham Hotel Group has made a move to increase the visibility of its Ramada properties in South Korea with the signing of an exclusive agreement with Seoul-headquartered AT Hotels Management to open 20 Ramada Encore destinations over the next six years. AT Hotels will develop and manage the properties, which will offer 80 to 200 guestrooms. Wyndham flies its value-conscious Ramada Encore flag at hotels outside the U.S. and Canada. Details on the designated locations of the new properties have not been disclosed; however, the South Korea Ramada portfolio presently consists of two hotels in Seoul, and one each in Cheongju, Incheon, Jeju City and Pohang. The Cheongju hotel only recently joined the Ramada family. In January, Wyndham acquired the property, then known as the Chosun Tourist Hotel, and later reopened it as the Ramada Suanbo Hotel following a comprehensive renovation. For its part, AT Hotels is no stranger to the brand; the company debuted its first Ramada in 2005. The hospitality market in South Korea is on the upswing. As of the close of the first quarter, the year-over-year increase in international visitor arrivals to the country was 12 percent, according to a statistical report by the Pacific Asia Travel Association. Wyndham is not alone on the bandwagon. InterContinental Hotels Group just announced the signing of an agreement with Gwangwondo Development Corp. to manage two properties that will carry the Holiday Inn Hotels & Resorts and Holiday Inn Suites brands upon their completion in 2009. Accounting for an aggregate 1,000 guestrooms, the two properties will double IHG’s presence the Korean market. News of the partnership with AT Hotels in South Korea comes on the heels of another Wyndham undertaking in Asia. Last week, the company announced it had signed a non-exclusive agreement with Tokyo-based Green Hospitality Management Co. Ltd. to open nine Ramada and Days Inn hotels in Japan over a five-year period. Wyndham Hotel Group, a division of Wyndham Worldwide Corp., has a portfolio of 7,000 hotels accounting 581,000 guestrooms, operating under 12 brands in 65 countries on six continents. Established in 1999 to tap into an increasing demand for lodging in the Korean market, AT Hotels signed its first letter of intent for the infusion of foreign capital–an investment of $600 million–in 2000.