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Westin Plans to Add 30% More Hotels in Asia Eyeing China Growth

Westin Hotels & Resorts, owned by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. (HOT), plans to add 30 percent more hotels in Asia this year to meet demand from tourists and business travelers.

Stamford, Connecticut-based Westin, which has 23 hotels in Asia, plans to add seven to eight more properties as economic growth in India and China boost demand, said Brian Povinelli, global brand leader for Westin.

“Our most aggressive growth market is Asia,” Connecticut- based Povinelli said in a telephone interview yesterday. “We have a heavy emphasis on India and China, where we have penetrated most of the key cities and now we are in a mode of going beyond the core cities, especially in China.”

Westin plans to add 11 new hotels in 2012, with more than half in the brand’s strongest market of China, as well as new hotels in Indonesia and India, Povinelli said. Business and leisure travel is recovering after companies and consumers cut spending during the global recession that started in 2008 following the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.

Revenue per room in the industry rose 9.8 percent last year in the Asia-Pacific region and 8.2 percent in the Americas, according to London-based researcher STR Global.

China Expansion

Westin will add six new hotels in China in 2012, resulting in a portfolio of 20 properties in this key market by year end, he said. It will open four more in China by the end of 2013.

It plans to add three hotels in India over the next two years and a second hotel in Indonesia this year. Westin has also signed deals to debut in Vietnam and Singapore by 2015, Povinelli said.

Westin is betting on the Chinese market, which has a projected growth of outbound travelers reaching 100 million by 2015, according to Povinelli. The hotel chain is seeking to establish a strong foothold in the nation as it plans to capture both the domestic travelers and those heading overseas, he said.

Westin has doubled its hotels in Latin America over the past 18 months, with 11 of them in countries including Mexico and Panama, Povinelli said.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide group also owns the Sheraton and W brands. Westin Hotels has about 186 hotels and resorts in 36 countries and territories.

To contact the reporter on this story: Pooja Thakur in Singapore at pthakur@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andreea Papuc at apapuc1@bloomberg.net

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