Filipino visitors now register the highest growth rate among tourists in Japan and the partnership between Robinsons Land Corporation’s Go Hotels with the newly-opened Karaksa Hotels of Japanese firm Xymax Corporation is aiming to serve this expanding market.
Xymax Overseas Business Department Head and Corporate Planning Department General Manager Ryuhei Mori said Philippine visitors to Japan jumped by 45 percent to about 250,000 last year and has so far been up by 30 percent this year.
“We think the growth is because of the improving Philippine economy, the strong interest of Filipinos in Japanese food and culture, the availability of low fares, and because it is now easier for Filipinos to get a tourist visa for Japan,” said Mori.
Because of this, Xymax has decided to put up Karaksa Hotels in destinations favored by Filipinos and other Southeast Asian tourists and has even used Go Hotels as its inspiration for its rooms and services.
Because of Go Hotels’ successful business model and strong patronage, Xymax has also tapped Go Hotels as its exclusive Sales and Marketing partner in the Philippines through its website www.gohotels.ph. Thus, all online bookings from the Philippines are directed and processed by Go Hotels’ online service.
“Karaksa Hotels, is similar to the Go Hotels brand of the Philippines with added innovations in room amenities and facilities to adapt to Japanese standards. Guest rooms of Karaksa Hotels all come with high quality beds, hot and cold shower, bath amenities, free wifi, buffet breakfast for all the guests, and use of slippers and pajamas (in keeping with Japanese culture)! “Karaksa Hotels offers its guests more than what they would expect from similar establishments,” said Mori.
Mori also noted that, since many Filipinos find Japanese hotel rooms too small, Karaksa was designed to have bigger rooms of 16 to 18 square meters and some are even fitted with king-sized beds.
Karen Barretto of Xymax’s Overseas Business Department also noted that their staff is trained to serve Filipinos and other Southeast Asians and even their breakfast menu has been tweaked to take into consideration the taste and preferences of Filipinos.
For their part, Robinsons Hotels and Resorts General Manager Elizabeth D. Gregorio said Go Hotels has been promoting Karaksa’s hotels in Osaka and Kyoto in the Philippine market including passengers of sister company Cebu Pacific Air which has regular flights to Japan.
The first two Karaksa Hotels opened in the top tourist destination of the Kansai region, Osaka Shinsaibashi and Kyoto. More Karaksa Hotels are scheduled to open in Tokyo and Hokkaido. Xymax plans to open 1,500 hotel rooms in the next three years.
RLC’s Hotels and Resorts division also aims to grow the number of rooms across its Summit and Go Hotels brands by more than 50 percent to 3,331 rooms by 2018 from 2,174 rooms as of the end of fiscal year 2015.
It has just opened Go Hotels in Lanang Davao last July 30,the 10th Go Hotel in the Philippines. In 2017, Go Hotels will open in Iligan and Summit Hotels in Galleria Cebu and Tacloban. By 2018, more Go Hotels and Summit Hotels will open in Naga, Mactan Cebu and Tuguegarao.
This does not include the franchised Go Hotels by the Roxaco Vanguard’s group which is planning to open five Go Hotels branches in the coming months.