After entering Thailand last year, Hawaii-based Outrigger Resorts & Hotels is targeting expansion into markets such as Australia, Mexico, California and Florida.
At the Americas Lodging Investment Summit in Los Angeles earlier this week, Outrigger CEO Jeff Wagoner told Travel Weekly that the company is looking at several properties in Australia. It would mark a return to Australia for Outrigger, which once had several resorts in the country but sold its Australian portfolio to Mantra Group in 2015.
“We want to be in Mexico, and the west coast of Mexico would be really ideal for us,” Wagoner added. “We want to be in Southern California. And we’ve got our eyes on Miami and the South Florida market as well.”
The company is also busy in its home market of Hawaii. Outrigger has earmarked $250 million to upgrade Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort, Outrigger Kona Resort & Spa, Waikiki Malia by Outrigger and Outrigger Waikiki Beachcomber Hotel.
Meanwhile, the strength of Hawaii’s pandemic recovery has varied by island.
“For the Big Island, Maui and Kauai, there’s a lot of domestic U.S. travel in those markets,” Wagoner said. “But Oahu is 50% international, 50% mainland US, so the Oahu market — and the Waikiki market, mostly — has taken the brunt of international travel that hasn’t fully returned yet.”
A slow recovery in inbound tourism from Japan, in particular, has been a setback for the destination. Wagoner estimated that Japan travel to Hawaii has returned to only about 30% of 2019 levels so far.
“At the end of the summer, when the kids go back to school and you don’t have some of the international travelers to fill some of that gap, then you have some milder periods,” he said. “I think during 2023, we’ll still have some of that because we haven’t turned Japan around. But it’s getting better every day.”
In addition to eight properties in Hawaii and three in Thailand, Outrigger has a pair of resorts in Fiji and one each in Mauritius and the Maldives.
The company also has a collection of Hawaii vacation condos from Outrigger properties on Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island.
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