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Hyatt executives hope for lease extension

(Marianas Variety) — Two Hyatt Corporate executives, visiting Saipan for the first time Wednesday morning, touted the global brand’s growth and emphasized Hyatt Regency Saipan’s pivotal role in the Asia Pacific region.

The only issue is that most of the local hotel’s future plans depend upon the approval of the lease-extension legislation being considered now in the House of Representatives,  Hyatt Asia Pacific operations senior vice president Thomas Smith said at a press conference at the Hyatt’s presidential suite.

“We have a rich history here — 38 years that this hotel has been here…and the international brand of Hyatt being here for so long, we certainly hope to continue that for another 38 years or longer, because this has really been a cornerstone for Hyatt in the Asia Pacific area,” Smith said.

Hyatt started in the U.S. in 1957 and opened its first international brand in Hong Kong in 1968. The Hyatt on Saipan opened 1980.

“Hyatt Regency Saipan was one our first resorts, so this really was a staple for us. We hope again for 38 more years and that we can help with the lease legislation and get that pushed through with our support,” said Smith.

Hyatt Regency Saipan’s lease is expiring by December 2021 and the lease legislation being considered proposes to extend expiring 40-year leases for another 15 years.

“A lot of our plans depend on the future of the lease legislation, frankly…there are a lot of plans that [general manager] Nick [Nishikawa] and the team walked me through, from room to ballroom renovations, to modernizing the facilities as much possible to stay current with the newest trends, from Wi-Fi to all other new developments. This is all pending in this lease legislation, which we hope to push through to extend for at least 15 more years,” said Smith.

Smith, along with Hyatt Regency Saipan general manager Nick Nishikawa was joined by Hyatt Vice president of operations for Japan and Micronesia Sam Sakamura who also pointed out the need for the CNMI to develop more airline seat capacity to Japan as the market grows.

“We have eight more hotels due to open in next two to three years in Japan, so again the network is growing…right now we have 11 hotels in Japan and two in Micronesia. Next year, we will have 34 hotels that are going to open in our Asia Pacific region with 17 this year, so we are growing that quickly…50 plus hotels over the next year and half in the region with many in Japan,” said Smith.

“We see a lot of growth in China and in Japan and Korea with 150 hotels that we will eventually add in Asia Pacific, and we would love to add more in Micronesia as well,” he said.

Smith said all this growth points to the importance of having more direct flights from the CNMI to the region.

“Feeder markers and airlines are key to us. We have to rely on that airlift more so now, and now that the frequency to Guam will also be reduced. We are concerned about that impact as well. We have plans to meet with some airline executives in Japan with our goal to help the process from the hotel perspective,” said Smith.

For seamless growth, Hyatt Corporation wishes to be able to operate under the current partner it has with Hyatt Regency Saipan.

“It has been a wonderful partnership and it is a great hotel. All the staff, all the people that work here, with an average of 25 years experience for each of our members on the leadership team…will all be impacted…Our fingers are  crossed, and we wish for this to continue,” said Smith.

“Hyatt is part of the community — it is not just a business. Our purpose is to care for people. Many of our community outreach efforts and Hyatt thrive initiatives to help those in need have helped us create lasting relationships that we are certainly proud of,” he said.

Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/104491-hyatt-executives-hope-for-lease-extension

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