WARWICK TO BUILD $20 MILLION HOTEL IN TONGA

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SUVA, Fiji (Islands Business, February) – Warwick International Hotels has firm plans for a third property in Fiji, two hotels in Samoa, a second hotel in Vanuatu and has sights on Vava'u as the location for a beach resort in Tonga.

This expansion of the Hong Kong headquartered hotel chain's South Pacific's property holdings will make it one of the two largest, with the Accor group, in the region.

Warwick owns and manages other hotels in Asia and Europe. Investment of F$170 million (US$96 million) in expanding the range of its South Pacific properties will lift the company's hotel room capacity from about 10 to 20-25% of its total space, according to Richard Chiu, Warwick's president.

[PIR editor’s note: According to Radio New Zealand International, Warwick is currently planning a five-star hotel on Taunga island in Vava’u, Tonga. The US$20 million project is to be on about 27 acres of land currently belonging to five landowners.]

Chiu attended the opening of a F$15 million extension to Warwick's Naviti resort on the Coral Coast of Viti Levu, Fiji, in February. The two three-floor extra wings and 12 villas enlarge the resort to 250 rooms. Other improvements are a larger swimming pool and spa with a conference centre for 700 delegates and an 18-hole golf course to follow.

The company's Warwick Resort, about a dozen kilometres away from Naviti, will be expanded by 40 deluxe villas to be completed in the latter half of 2007.

Jamal Serhan, Warwick's vice-president regional and general manager South Pacific, told South Pacific Tourism that a third property not far from the Coral Coast would be the location for a resort of 150 rooms and 100 condominium units.

Serhan said the Le Lagon resort in Port Vila, Vanuatu, would be enlarged by 100 rooms in the near future.

Warwick is negotiating to lease land for a resort with a first stage of 120 rooms to be located in the Champagne Beach area of Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu's largest island. It would be the island first major resort and the first dividend from the upgrading of Santo's airport to handle international flights.

Samoa's government will issue to Warwick two resort land leases.

Serhan said a 120-room resort would first be opened on the Upolu coast across the island from Apia on a site not far from the locally-owned Sinalei resort. A second resort would follow at a location near Faleolo International airport.

A resort at Vava'u, Tonga, was an objective further down the line.

Warwick has an international network of 40 hotels, to be increased to 50 in the next 18 months.

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