FIJI HOTEL CHAIN MAKES BIG INVESTMENT IN SAMOA

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Tanoa Hotels injects $50 million into economy

APIA, Samoa (Newsline Samoa Newspaper, April 3, 2009) - The ‘outright’ purchase of Hotel Kitano Tusitala in Apia and the new hotel resort under construction at the Pilot Point Matautu-tai, is a $50 million investment package for the owners, Tanoa Hotels Group.

Chairman of the Tanoa Hotel chain, 75 year old Mr. Yanktesh Permal Reddy, confirmed the investment injection his company has made in the local hotel industry.

"The whole amount comprised $20 million that went into the purchasing of Hotel Tusitala and $30 million into the Pilot Point Hotel," Mr. Reddy told Newsline on Friday, at the end of the economic forum on the question of a stimulus package for Samoa.

Mr. Reddy also confirmed that work on the Pilot Point hotel resort is currently held up by several issues and expects the delay to last for at least the next 8 months.

"Land issues involving the lease is among those that have to be resolved, but we are still going ahead with the project."

The reassurances were in response to speculations about the possibility of abandoning the Matautu-tai resort now that the hotel chain has acquired Tusitala Hotel.

"With the delay, our attention is now turned towards the refurbishment work that has to be carried out at the Tusitala Hotel. The plan is for the work to be completed by the end of the year."

Hotel Tusitala and the Pilot Point Resort takes the number of hotels in the Tanoa Hotels Ground chain to 11 and 12 respectively.

A company press release issued after the purchase of Tusitala Hotel described the new acquirements as an expansion of the ‘its presence in the South Pacific."

Chairman Reddy announced that ‘they have successfully concluded discussions with the owners of the Hotel Kitano , Samoa – known affectionately as the ‘Tusitala’ – resulting in the outright purchase of the Apia hotel by Tanoa Hotels.’

"It is no secret that we have been, for some time now, actively considering having a substantial presence in the Samoan hospitality market which will effectively complement our existing hotel operations in Fiji, New Zealand and Vanuatu and we are delighted with this outcome."

"The hotel’s excellent location and proximity to the CBD and its extensive grounds and gardens are ideal for our plans which will include an increase in the accommodation in the near future."

When asked about the future of the hotel Mr. Reddy confirmed that the hotel would undergo a major transformation as a result of a multi million dollar reinvestment programme, which will impact on all operational and public areas.

"It is our intention to retain the unique features of this once iconic hotel and to extend the already large guest rooms.

"We plan to offer our guests the best appointed guest accommodation in Apia. It will be refurbished to an international four star plus standard and will appeal to the corporate, international leisure and conference markets. The hotel will also feature an international quality spa facility."

Work on the refurbishment is already well advanced and Tanoa Hotels anticipate that the majority of the work will be completed with a six or seven month window.

"The purchase of ‘Tusitala’ did not preclude the future investment in the hospitality industry in Samoa and other options were also being actively considered."

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