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Laguna Hue Breaks Ground; Scheduled to Open by 2012

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Banyan Tree Indochina Hospitality Fund, which was established and sponsored by Banyan Tree Holdings Limited, held a groundbreaking ceremony last week for the Laguna Hue, one of the first fully integrated world-class hospitality projects to be developed in Vietnam. The ceremony took place in the Chan May-Lang Co Economic Zone in the Thua Thien Hue Province.

Situated on a 280-hectare beachfront site that is within an hours drive from both Danang and Hue international airports, Laguna Hue is positioned to be one of the largest premium integrated resorts and second home destination in Vietnam and across South East Asia, through which the group will replicate the success of its flagship destination resort, Laguna Phuket.

The project also enables the group to gain a foothold in the growing Indochina tourism industry and to introduce its signature brand of Asian hospitality to Vietnam. Apart from providing its hotel and spa management services to the hotels in the development, Banyan Tree is also the master planner and designer for the development.

When fully developed in accordance with the master plan, Laguna Hue will have approximately 2,000 hotel keys under the management of seven international branded hotel and resort operators, award-wining spas, a championship golf course, resort residences, convention facilities and a town centre with retail and recreational facilities.

 Apart from enjoying the amenities within the integrated resort, guests will also be able easily to access the tourism offerings of the region including the ancient city of Hue as well as the historical trading port of Hoi An, both of which are UNESCO World Heritage sites.

The development of Laguna Hue is funded through the US$283 million Banyan Tree Indochina Hospitality Fund, the first real estate investment fund that was established by the group in 2008. The Fund was created to focus on the development of Laguna Hue as well as other hospitality investment projects in the Indochina region that are yet to be identified.

With the successful final closing of the Fund in June this year, Laguna Hue is now well positioned to proceed with the development of its first phase. Development costs for the first phase are estimated at approximately US$200 million, and will include Banyan Tree Hue and Angsana Hue, which together will comprise some 350 keys, an 18-hole golf course designed by Nick Faldo, as well as branded resort residences. The development is anticipated to open by 2012.

We have always believed that Vietnam holds the greatest potential of replicating the success of our flagship Laguna Phuket destination resort within Asia. Central Vietnam, with its unique blend of history and heritage, is a destination like no other in the region. We are confident it has the potential to flourish as an international luxury-tourist destination. This first foray into the Indochina region is a significant milestone for Banyan Tree, and we are delighted to share this momentous occasion with our valuable partners in the Fund who have helped to make Laguna Hue a reality, said Banyan Trees Executive Chairman, Ho KwonPing.

Banyan Tree developed one of Asias first and largest integrated resorts in Laguna Phuket, Thailand. That project spans six hotels, a golf course and residential developments.

In July this year, the group secured a contract to manage a 1300-key development under its sister brand, Angsana Hotels and Resorts. Located in Kunming, Angsana Fu Xian Lake is expected to open in 2010.

 Over the next few quarters, the group will be pushing ahead with its expansion plans, with resort and hotel openings expected in Hangzhou, China; Bali, Indonesia; Ras Al Khaimah, UAE and Acapulco, Mexico.

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