The hospitality industry is no stranger to celebrity investors. Some celebrities are open and public about their investments. After all the name recognition of a popular celebrity, as well as the possibility of a star sighting, can be a big draw for a range hospitality and tourism businesses such as clubs, restaurants, and hotels. Other stars, on the other hand, prefer to stay in the background as largely silent partners.
Here are just a few of the celebrities who have invested in the hospitality and tourism industry.
Robert De Niro
Robert De Niro is one of the most avid Hollywood celebrities to invest in the hospitality industry. As co-owner of Nobu Hospitality and Nobu Restaurants, with celebrity chef Nobuyuki “Nobu” Matsuhisa and others, De Niro has invested in over 30 restaurants and multiple hotels around the world.
In addition to his investments with Nobu Matsuhisa, De Niro owns a small boutique hotel named The Greenwich. Located in Manhattan’s fashionable Tribeca District, The Greenwich previous lodgers include A-List celebrities such as Katy Perry and Jennifer Lawrence.
Robert De Niro’s most recent investment is a $250 million partnership with James Packer to create a massive luxury resort on the Carribean Island of Barbuda. While this project is currently on hold, due to the extensive damage Barbuda suffered from Hurricane Irma earlier this year, De Niro has pledged to not only resume the resort effort after restoration but to participate in the island’s recovery efforts as well.
When celebrities invest in the hospitality and tourism industry, they generally invest in restaurants, hotels, and resorts. Warren Buffet, the American businessman, investor, and philanthropist, has recently invested in the industry in another way.
Buffett’s company, Berkshire Hathaway, has invested nearly $10 billion in American airline companies including Southwest, United, Delta, and American Airlines. In the same way that a Hollywood celebrity’s name on a restaurant can draw guests, Buffet’s investment in airlines can bolster the investing public’s confidence in these airlines and potentially lead to a big boost for this sector of the hospitality industry.
A few years ago, Leonardo DiCaprio made headlines when he purchased an entire island in Belize for $1.75 million dollars. At the time, DiCaprio announced his intention to build an eco-conscious resort on this previously unpopulated island.
Set to open in 2018, the 104-acre Blackadore Cove resort will include 68 villas to be built off the island’s shore, over the crystal clear water on a huge platform. DiCaprio has worked closely with ecologists, designers, engineers, scientists, and landscape architects to create a resort he claims will be “not just environmental, but restorative.”
As a committed environmental activist, DiCaprio hopes that Blackadore Cove will have an impact on the hospitality and tourism industry worldwide. “The main focus,” DiCaprio has said, “is do something that will change the world.”
Jon Bon Jovi
Jon Bon Jovi’s investment in the hospitality industry is a little bit different than the other investments on this list. That’s because, in many ways, the Jon Bon Jovi Foundation’s Soul Kitchen restaurant is as much an investment in the community as it is in a restaurant.
This unique, pay what you will eatery features meals prepared by celebrity chefs without a set price. Patrons are asked to pay only what they are able or to volunteer at the restaurant in lieu of payment. Guests with financial need are given first preference.
Previous celebrity chefs have included Mario Batali, Tom Colicchio, and Todd English. The Jon Bon Jovi Foundation currently operates two Soul Kitchen locations in Bon Jovi’s home state of New Jersey and has served over 75,500 meals since opening.
Whether in restaurants, hotels, resorts, or airlines, celebrity investments can be a large boon to the hospitality industry. The recent increase in celebrity investors in hospitality and tourism is a great sign for the future of the industry as a whole.