Club Med on hunt for new Australian resort

Lindeman Island is to be operated by Banyan Tree.

The Chinese-controlled Club Med is looking to regain its foothold in Australia’s tourism industry after exiting Queensland’s Lindeman Island six years ago.

Xavier Desaulles, Singapore-based Club Med chief for East and South Asia and the Pacific, said Club Med, which specialises in premium all-inclusive holidays, was on the lookout for a beach or seaside resort.

“We are looking more so than we were five years ago because we are seeing an inbound trend that is favourable to Club Med,” Desaulles told The Australian.

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“We have seen a rise in Chinese inbound travellers into Australia and we need international clientele. That’s so important for Club Med. We have great accessibility in Australia from all over the world and unique beach locations.”

Club Med is very selective when it comes to finding a new resort location in Australia, with Desaulles saying the resort must be within 90 minutes of an international airport and not in a ­location that is seasonal.

“Our business model is not seasonal,” he says.

The Chinese-controlled Fosun International acquired the French resort operator Club Med for $US1.3 billion in 2015 and has since said it is looking to increase its North American foothold.

Club Med Xavier Desaulles

Club Med’s Xavier Desaulles in Sydney. Picture: John Feder.

All up, there are more than 70 Club Med resorts around the world, with prices including ­accommodation, food, alcohol and entertainment.

“We are quite a unique brand once you get into Club Med’s all-inclusive nature, you keep wanting to come back, there’s an addictive nature to them,” Desaulles says.

Like many hotel operators and managers, Club Med has an asset-light strategy and is also focusing on opening new resorts in South East Asia and the Indian Ocean as well as China.

He says Australian passenger numbers have grown more than 50% over the past three years, largely due to the popularity of Club Med’s 24 ski resorts in Japan and Europe, which are very accessible to Australian skiing families. He is not interested in opening a ski resort in Australia.

Australians are also drawn to Club Med’s beach resorts in Bali, the Indonesian island of Bintan and the Maldives.

“The big step up was last year when we opened a second mountain resort in Japan. That was a step change and we are looking at a third resort in Japan. We are growing the footprint of our mountain villages,” he says.

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