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Posted: 09 Sep 2009 | 7:14 am

It's raining in Vietnam as thephuketinsider is on a field trip to Ho Chi Minh City where the investment climate is extremely upbeat and tourism numbers rolling in from Q2 2009.

Speaking to Managing Director Marc Townsend of CBRE Vietnam the 5 star segment is seeing rate pressure similar to all other key regional gateways in Asia with resulting decreases in ADR and RevPAR. While the 4 star market has taken a more aggressive stance on rate protection, it's been at the expense of occupancy. International arrivals for H1 2009 to the country registered in at 1.89 million or down 20% from the same period in 2008.

Room rates in international luxury 5 star hotels tallied up at US$198, while the broader upscale 5 star categories achieved just US$118 during the first half of this year. Four star hotels were at US$80 and 3 star properties were US$56.

Making the rounds I visited the new InterContinental Asiana Saigon hotel, which has 305 keys and will formally open at the beginning of October. Along with residences and property boasts large scale retail including a yet to open Hard Rock Café.

In today's news one of Vietnams largest hospitality players VinaCapital who trade on the market for alternative investments (MAI) in London with 3 funds valued at US$1.6 billon in assets have sold the Hilton Hanoi Opera Hotel. While transaction data is not available, its understood the pricing was at 10% above NAV. The group's high profile assets include Hanoi's Metropole Hotel, Moevenpick Saigon, Sheraton Nha Trang and a number of new hotels in the development pipeline.

Despite rampant currency devaluation and hyper-inflation which imploded the foreign investment market a few years ago overseas investors are not placing the country high on their agendas for placements in the near to short term.

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