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Interview with the CEO of the fastest growing resort & hotel chains in Asia: Kurt Svendheim

July 3, 2018

It is a rarity to interview the most modest man we have in the tour-industry here in Asia, yet he is the unparalleled visionair in charge of the New Nordic Group with its head-office in Hong-Kong and operational team in Thailand (Bangkok and Eastern Seaboard): Norwegian Kurt Svendheim.

There have been so many exciting developments within the New Nordic Group since the beginning of the year. Not only have the Group launched collaborations with several international hotel brands and launched a new US investment branch, they are also working on some of their biggest projects yet with an 890.000 m2 activity park and an expansion to several destinations on the Sub African continent. We asked CEO Kurt Svendheim some questions about what he envisions for New Nordic in the future:

Q: New Nordic has expanded into 5 different brands. What is the reason behind this change?

In my opinion, every move we have done has come as a natural result of the growth of the company. When we entered into 2018 our Group had reached a size where we saw a need to differentiate our brands and branches to be able to offer our clients a clear profile and information about what we offer. Kiwano is today our travel division with 6 travel agencies. One more will be launched this autumn focusing on adventurous travel. Alani Hospitality forms our own hospitality company that both operates their own resorts and hotels and does collaborations with international hotel chains. Oroma Developments offers project development support, New Nordic develops real estate projects and holiday homes and Auran Group is the investment company for bigger investors. This way, our brands offer unique support and opportunities for their clients, but as a group we are able to plan the full holiday experience from assessing an area to sending travelers to our destinations.

Q: Many deem the travel agency industry to be dead. What is the reason for the Group now focusing on this to the extent of launching a new brand?

Many deem the travel agency industry to be dead, but the truth is that travel agencies have never been more relevant than today. The problem is that the way we travel has changed massively over the last 10 years from charter flights, welcome meetings and international guides. Today, travelers want to be more active rather than lying by the pool, they want to be more connected to the local experiences and culture, and they are more critical to the ethical and environmental concerns of traveling. The travel industry has not been able to grasp this. When flight and hotels are becoming cheaper and more available, it is the unique experiences that people are willing to pay for, and those agencies that are able to capture this need will be the winners. This is why I am extremely excited about our new launches within the travel division this autumn.

Q: New Nordic has launched the collaboration with many international hotel brands. Is this a strategic move for the Group? (PLEASE NOTE THAT THE HOTEL-BRAND LOGOS HERE ABOVE ARE A RANDOM SELECTION OF INTL. BRANDS)

Definitely! As we have established ourselves as an international company, we saw the need to link up with third-party hospitality chains to be able to offer flexibility and diversity in our hotels and resorts. I was very positively surprised when I saw the hotel brands' willingness to operate with us - which I believe is a confirmation of our philosophy of choosing the right locations. These new collaborations do, however, not mean we will stop our own hospitality division. We have headhunted some of the best hoteliers from the industry that are taking our hotel, restaurant and retail division to new levels. We actually have over 50,000 visitors in our breakfast restaurants alone in the high season, and our results in this department this year are the best to date.

Q: New Nordic has expanded to the Philippines this year. What destinations will be colored orange in the future?

We believe in going into new and emerging markets before everyone else. We started in Pratumnak Hill when it was only a jungle, and we have continued to do this in new areas in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia. We secured our project in the Philippines last year, and we now see the massive interest in the Clark area by foreign investors following the government's focus on road networks, a mass transit system, park improvements and cultural investments in the area. This year, New Nordic Hong Kong also announced their strategic move to the Sub African continent and the establishment of a HQ in Dubai, which I believe is very exciting and timely.

We have over the last few years developed an organization and network to be able to take on new destinations in an effective and strategic way. New Nordic has its HQ in Hong Kong and Dubai, Auran in set up in the US with its HQ in Singapore, Alani is set in Bangkok, Oroma in Dubai and Kiwano in Norway. This way, we are ready to offer a full support system ready to take on all market changes and opportunities.

If you want to learn more about this pur-sang entrepreneur Kurt Svendheim: Please contact us: [email protected]

Kurt Svendheim BIO "Personal & up-close": In his early 30s, Svendheim started to focus on international real estate establishing his own real estate agencies selling in booming markets in Bulgaria, Turkey, and Brazil. With the financial crisis, however, the market took a big turn and Svendheim started to look for new opportunities building on the experience he had gained and the need he saw within the property development, investment and tourism industry.

In 2008, Kurt Svendheim moved to Thailand. Together with a team of Thai investors and owners, he built up several management and service companies with expertise in all areas of the tourism and holiday sector, from project development companies to travel agencies. Svendheim has today a total of five brands under his management, established across Norway, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, the Philippines, India, and the US.

Kurt is based in Hong Kong together with his wife.

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INFORMATION: Town & Country Property Co., Ltd.

414/16 Jomtien Complex Condotel (Lobby) M12 Nongprue Banglamung Chonburi 20150 Thailand 

T. +66 38 251 481 | F. +66 38 251 482

[email protected] | www.remaxinvestasia.com

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