we can all be proud of.”
Dear shareholders and stakeholders,
2019 was a challenging year for the tourism and hospitality industry as our business was conducted against a backdrop of various disruptive forces. The US-China trade tensions, regional tensions in the Middle East, the surging Thai baht, and cooling tourist arrivals in Thailand were just some of the external threats our company and others faced throughout the year.
As a company, we also suffered one of the darkest days in our history when terrorists stormed the compound that houses dusitD2 Nairobi hotel in Kenya, claiming the lives of 21 innocent people, including six of our beloved colleagues.
The resilient response of the hotel team to this senseless tragedy, and their determination to quickly get the hotel back up and running, is truly an inspiration to us all. The outpouring of support from the global network of Dusit properties was also heartening to see, demonstrating the core value of care that runs deep throughout our company and our people.
‘Throughout the year, the Board and I were delighted to sign off on several initiatives that will help to mitigate risk and safeguard stakeholders while furthering Dusit’s strategic journey towards balance, expansion, and diversification.”’
Unpredictable and shocking events like this, alongside other disruptive external forces in 2019, highlighted the importance of having the right mix of smart investment, talented and skilled employees, capacity for innovation and diversification, and forward-thinking mentality needed to overcome any ongoing challenges and obstacles while continuing to lay the foundations for long-term value creation.
Throughout the year, the Board and I were delighted to sign off on several initiatives that will help to mitigate risk and safeguard stakeholders while furthering Dusit’s strategic journey towards balance, expansion, and diversification.
These initiatives, which included, amongst others, the formation of new hospitality-related services in Bangkok, also directly addressed the internal challenges our company faced in 2019.
Chief among these challenges was the closure of our renowned flagship hotel, Dusit Thani Bangkok, for redevelopment as part of our landmark mixed-use development, Dusit Central Park.
Normally a significant source of revenue for our company, the hotel officially closed its doors after almost 50 years of illustrious service on 5 January 2020. The closure marked the end of an era, the beginning of a new strategic chapter, and the challenge to establish new sources of revenue to compensate for the shortfall until the new Dusit Thani Bangkok opens in 2023. This challenge and shortfall, of course, had been anticipated and planned for, and all our investments in new lines of business and new properties in Bangkok were strategically made to compensate for the loss of short-term revenue while keeping our talented Dusit Thani Bangkok team intact. Though we succeeded in creating new business units and opening new properties for these employees to run, the external challenges mentioned above slowed our progress towards obtaining realisable revenue from these investments. We have recalibrated as a result, and have strong foundations to build on in 2020 and beyond.
Our strong corporate governance and commitment to creating sustainable value for all our stakeholders was officially recognised by the Thai Institute of Directors Association (IOD) at the Board of the Year Awards 2018, held in 2019, where we received the silver award in the category for leading companies with a market capitalisation of under 30 billion baht. For us, business is a marathon, not a sprint, and we will take every step necessary to ensure we can always go the distance.
On behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to thank all our guests, customers, business partners and all other stakeholders for your continued and much-appreciated support for our company and your trust in our unique brand of Thai-inspired, gracious hospitality. We look forward to creating long-term value for you while building a future we can all be proud of.