Accor also announced that its largest ever hotel project in Singapore – the construction of a 538 room Ibis hotel in Bencoolen Street in the heart of Singapore's central business district is ahead of schedule and will open in early 2009.
The Ibis will be Accor's third hotel in Singapore, joining Grand Mercure Roxy and Novotel Clarke Quay.
Accor Asia Pacific Chairman, David Baffsky, said that Singapore was now one of the region's most important tourism and financial hubs and was the ideal location to drive Accor's growth and development plans in the region.
Accor Asia Pacific Managing Director, Michael Issenberg, said 'We have a long and well-established relationship with Singapore, Our first hotel in the Asia Pacific region opened in Singapore in 1982, and since then the city's influence in the Asia Pacific tourism industry has grown substantially.
'We relocated our Senior Vice President for Asia Pacific development to Singapore in 2006, and by the end of the year we will have the key Asia Pacific operational, human resources, sales and marketing, finance functions and communications based in Singapore.
'In addition to our current network of 305 hotels in the region, Accor has over 100 development projects in Asia currently underway, with the majority in China, India and south-east Asia, making Singapore the ideal base for co-ordinating and driving this expansion programme.
'A number of our development partners are based in Singapore and with the city's pre-eminent air and transport infrastructure, highly educated and skilled workforce, innovative 10 year tourism development plan and dynamic economic growth, it is an ideal time to move our headquarters to Singapore.'
S$145 MILLION IBIS FOR SINGAPORE
Mr Issenberg said that Accor had placed great emphasis on gaining a prestigious site for its 3-star Ibis hotel brand in Singapore to complement the rapid expansion of the economy hotel brand across Asia.
The Ibis Bencoolen Street is the group's first new-build development in Singapore and is being developed in partnership with LaSalle Investment Management. Land for the hotel is being leased from Singapore's Urban Redevelopment Authority.
The total project cost is estimated to be S$145 million and work has commenced on the site.
The 538 room hotel will be the largest Ibis hotel in the Asia Pacific and the largest in the world outside Paris.
Ibis Bencoolen Singapore is located in the heart of Bras Basah-Bugis district, one of the city's most vibrant arts, culture, education and entertainment areas, within two blocks of the Bugis MRT station.
The 16-storey building will also include a restaurant and bar area, retail space and parking facilities.
Mr Issenberg said that there was a significant shortage of international-quality economy hotel accommodation and the Ibis would be a very important addition to Singapore's tourism infrastructure.
'Singaporean tourism authorities are predicting 17 million tourism arrivals by 2017, and with the destination's growing status as Asia Pacific's tourism hub there is urgent need for quality, affordable accommodation in the heart of the city,' he said.
'While there are a number of hotel projects under way in Singapore, of the 7,200 new rooms approved, only 10% are planned for the economy sector. Singapore now has its own budget airlines terminal and is increasingly attracting low-cost air carriers to hub via Singapore, so there is a definite need for more economy-priced accommodation of Ibis standard.
'We will be targeting an average rate of about S$100 – S$110 for the opening, which for the hotel's location and international branding, will be a very attractive rate for both business and leisure travellers.'
Mr Issenberg said that Ibis was the fastest growing international economy hotel brand in the Asia Pacific region, with 35 hotels currently operating and over 50 under development. Ibis has a significant presence, or is rapidly growing, in all of Singapore's top six inbound markets – Indonesia, China, India, Australia, UK and South Korea.