Marriott International Inc., the largest publicly traded U.S. hotel chain, said it’s planning a record number of hotel openings for Asia in 2013 to cater to growing demand in the region.
The Bethesda, Maryland-based manager of brands including Courtyard and Residence Inn plans to open about 27 hotels in Asia, the most in a year since it started operations in the region in 1989, said Craig Smith, Asia-Pacific chief operations officer. That’s more than the 17 hotels it opened in 2009, the most so far in one year, it said.
“We have relocated our resources from Washington D.C. to this part of the world,” Smith said in an interview yesterday. “We’ve doubled our offices here in Asia. There is quite a bit of room to grow.”
The number of travelers in Asia increased as the region’s economies expand. International tourist arrivals in Asia almost doubled in the past decade to 203.8 million travelers in 2010 from 110.1 million in 2000, according to the World Tourism Organization, and hotel transaction volume surged 59 percent to $2.6 billion in Asia in the first half, according to data from Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels.
The hotel operator, which manages about 135 hotels in Asia, has 110 hotels under development in the region, Smith said. The majority of new hotel openings will be in China and India, he said, adding that it will also open new properties in Thailand and Vietnam.
The company, which also owns the Ritz-Carlton brand, generated $11.7 billion of revenue last year, it said on its website.
China, the world’s third-largest tourism destination, has seen domestic tourists rising 11 percent in 2010, according to Los Angeles-based CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. Rising income and economic growth will boost demand further, it said.
Hilton Worldwide said it will have 100 hotels in China by 2014, four times the number of properties it manages in the country now.
McLean, Virginia-based Hilton is joining an expansion spree by other international hotel groups in the world’s second-largest economy. Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. expects China to be its largest growth market in the next three to four years, Chief Executive Officer Frits van Paasschen said in an interview in June. InterContinental Hotels Group Plc, owner of the Holiday Inn brand, said in May that one in four of the hotel rooms that it opens over the next five years will be in China.
In Japan, Marriott plans to double the hotels under the Ritz-Carlton brand to four by 2014. The hotelier plans to open a 136-room hotel in Kyoto in 2014 and a 97-room resort in Okinawa in April under the brand. It also signed a contract for a new hotel in Osaka targeting business travelers, due to open in 2014, Smith said.
Ritz-Carlton’s competitor, Four Seasons Hotels Inc., has also said it plans to open a new hotel in Okinawa, Japan, as early as 2014. Four Seasons manages 85 hotels globally.