Starwood aims at 80 new openings in 2011

China dominates growth; trends pick up in India, Thailand, Malaysia

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide has announced that it expects to open another 70 to 80 new-build and conversion hotels in 2011, coming off of the 72 opened and 96 new deals signed in 2010. Making the announcement at the American Lodging Investment Summit in San Diego, Starwood, which calls itself “the world’s most global hotel company” – it currently has 1025 properties in 100 countries – will open nearly 70% of its new hotels outside North America, with the majority in Asia Pacific.

The openings have been propelled, the company says, by unprecedented demand for hotels in the world’s fastest growing markets. Robust demand in Asia Pacific remains a key force for growth, accounting for more than half of all of the group’s hotel openings in 2011. Starwood will open 40 new hotels in Asia Pacific this year, resulting in a portfolio of over 220 hotels in the region by year end.

Over half of the new hotels in the region are slated for Greater China, where Starwood expects to increase its current portfolio from 70 to over 115 hotels by 2012. The openings include 19 Sheraton, 10 Westin and 10 St Regis hotels.

“The world’s rising economic powers are expected to surpass established markets by 2050 and our footprint is growing accordingly,” Frits van Paasschen, president and CEO of Starwood, explained. Simon Turner, president of global development for Starwood: “As China prepares to dominate the global tourism market with one million outbound travellers by 2015, we expect their loyalty to our brands to have an ever increasing impact on our business worldwide.” Demand continues to accelerate in India, where Starwood is the biggest 5-star hotel operator. There, the company plans to increase its portfolio of 30 hotels in India by 40% in the next two years.

Growth is also picking up in Thailand, where Starwood will add four hotels to its portfolio this year, and in Malaysia, with two Four Points by Sheraton hotels scheduled to open in 2011. Five new Starwood hotels are due to open in Latin America this year, joining the 62 currently open in 12 countries. These include the first Westin in South America, in Peru, the fifth Starwood hotel in Panama, which is emerging as a financial hub in Latin America, and Starwood’s first all-inclusive resort, The Westin Playa Conchal Resort & Spa in Costa Rica.

Half of Starwood’s existing portfolio is in North America, where it will open more than 20 additional hotels this year. In Europe, key openings include the first Aloft in London and three W hotels, including the debut of W in London and Paris.

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