The company will also introduce 3 new brands to the market — Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, Regent Hotels & Resorts and Hotel Indigo
by INTAN BAHA
THE reopening of international borders post-pandemic has allowed millions of travellers to wander and explore the world again. Malaysia, in particular, officially opened its borders on April 1, 2022, after two years of Movement Control Orders, allowing quarantine-free travel and tourism.
As the tourism sector was among the hard-hit industry, most hotels and tour operators took the chance to rebuild and offer the best service to the customers.
IHG Hotels & Resorts, one of the world’s leading hotel brands, has renewed its commitment to tourism in Malaysia, where it plans to create more than 800 new jobs this year and double its estate by 2025.
According to IHG South East Asia and Korea MD Rajit Sukumaran, the company is busy delivering its strategy to grow its presence in the market. In the development pipeline are 11 hotels across six brands, leaving it ideally placed to expand its portfolio in the next two years, while providing a wide range of employment opportunities.
“At IHG, we’re very confident about the future of the tourism industry in Malaysia and are working in collaboration with hotel owners to bring wonderful experiences to travellers.
“Domestic and international tourism is returning after the pandemic, and Malaysia is seen as a land of opportunity by everyone at IHG. We recognise the great potential in growing our estate in its fantastic city and resort locations, thereby providing our guests with an even greater opportunity to discover, and rediscover, some truly stunning destinations,” he told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) during the IHG Media Roundtable at InterContinental Hotel Kuala Lumpur.
The return of IHG’s much-loved Crowne Plaza brand for the first time in a decade will allow guests in Malaysia to enjoy one of the world’s largest premium hotel brands and its signature work/life blend experience.
“Crowne Plaza Penang Butterworth Straits City will be the first property to open later this year, ahead of Crowne Plaza Kuala Lumpur City Centre and Crowne Plaza Kota Kinabalu Waterfront.
“The company will also introduce three new brands to the market — Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, Regent Hotels & Resorts and Hotel Indigo — while it’s also set to grow its existing brand portfolio, including transforming the grande dame of Penang, Mutiara Beach Resort, into the new InterContinental Penang Resort,” he said.
It currently has six hotels in the country, offering guests a choice of nearly 2,000 rooms in renowned properties including InterContinental Kuala Lumpur, Holiday Inn Johor Baru City Centre and Holiday Inn Express Kota Kinabalu City Centre.
Sukumaran added that IHG’s commitment to growth in Malaysia will create 800 new jobs in the country this year and provide people with the opportunity to develop new skills and build a long and fulfilling career in tourism. In 2021, the industry contributed 23.4% of total employment in the country, a figure that is expected to rise as the recovery continues.
To attract talent from inside and outside the industry, IHG has evolved its recruitment and retention strategy, elevating its focus on people development alongside enhancing other commitments, including creating a strong and inclusive culture and providing flexible working conditions.
Earlier this year, it opened the IHG University, which helps its colleagues build their skills, knowledge and capabilities while developing in their roles. This followed the launch of IHG Skills Academy, a world-class virtual training programme that offers free online education and courses for young people to explore a career in hospitality.
“Our business and our industry is looking forward to a great future and, with demand increasing and guests returning to our hotels, there’s never been a better time to join IHG and forge a career in hospitality.
“In Malaysia, it’s great to see the progress we’re making with our partnerships with universities and schools, through which we’re attracting young people to the industry.
“The opportunities we can offer reach far and wide — for instance, we are creating roles that offer our colleagues the chance to be seconded to newly-opened or converted hotels, which provides them with a great chance to further develop their learning and skillsets,” Sukumaran said.
- This article first appeared in The Malaysian Reserve weekly print edition