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Ho Kwon Ping, executive chairman of Banyan Tree Holdings, is reinventing his hotel strategy in tough times and looking beyond Asia. (Photo by Nozomu Ogawa)
Business

Banyan Tree idealist Ho reforms five-star hotel strategy amid stiff competition

JUSTINA LEE, Nikkei staff writer | Singapore

SINGAPORE -- Despite a slowdown in China, political turmoil in Thailand, and tough times in the Asian hospitality industry, Ho Kwon Ping's eyes gleam when he talks about new hotel locations.

"We have signed four very exciting deals recently in Cuba," the founder and executive chairman of Banyan Tree Holdings told the Nikkei Asian Review. For Ho, Cuba is a green field waiting to be cultivated, a storied land with a lush Caribbean backdrop that has just started to lure back U.S. tourists cut off in the 1960s after communist revolution. Early next year, Banyan Tree will open in Cayo Santa Maria there, an exotic hotel resort with untouched sandy beaches and diverse wildlife.  

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