DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, May 07, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) --Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE:HOT) is strengthening its position as the leading hotel operator in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region with an existing portfolio of nearly 70 hotels and a pipeline of 40 new hotels. This growth, primarily in the luxury and upper-upscale segments, represents an increase of nearly 60% over the next five years. In the past 18 months, Starwood has debuted six new hotels throughout MENA and momentum continues in the region where the company has recently inked deals for 10 additional hotels.
"Despite economic and political uncertainty in parts of the region, Starwood continues to see demand for growth of all of our brands across the Middle East and North Africa," said Frits van Paasschen, President and CEO, Starwood Hotels & Resorts. "MENA is key to Starwood's global expansion strategy, representing our second largest growth market after China. When you consider that the region has 35 metropolitan areas with a population of over one million, and many with a wealthy middle class, there's huge long-term potential for internationally-branded luxury and upper-upscale hotels."
With the openings of six new hotels under five of the company's unique and compelling lifestyle brands, Starwood has marked a number of key milestones in MENA over the past 18 months, including:
Starwood continues its rapid growth in 2012 with further expansion in key markets, including Saudi Arabia where the company will debut two hotels later this year: the Sheraton Medina and Four Points by Sheraton Medina. Both hotels combined will add nearly 500 rooms to the Holy City and increase Starwood's portfolio to 12 hotels in the country.
"Thanks to Starwood's long history in the region, which dates back to the opening of Sheraton Kuwait Hotel & Towers in 1966, the company is well positioned to take full advantage of growth," said Roeland Vos, President of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Europe, Africa & Middle East. "MENA continues to evolve as an international business and leisure travel hub. With the number of tourists traveling to the region expected to double from nearly 80 million last year to 195 million by 2030, MENA is one of the most attractive growth markets in the world."
With more than 70% of the world's economic growth coming from fast-growing markets over the next few years, Starwood is focused on expansion in developing markets such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Algeria as well as key emerging markets including Iraq, Tajikistan and Pakistan. As part of this strategy, Starwood has recently confirmed 10 hotel projects in the region:
Underscoring the importance of the region as one of Starwood's fastest growing hotel and travel markets, the company will welcome its top 100 global executives to Dubai for its annual leadership conference May 9-11, 2012. As part of the conference, Starwood's most senior global executives will meet with hotel owners, customers and investors and hold strategic planning sessions. This marks the first time the leadership conference takes place in the Middle East.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with 1,103 properties in nearly 100 countries and 154,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels, resorts and residences with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis(R), The Luxury Collection(R), W(R), Westin(R), Le Meridien(R), Sheraton(R), Four Points(R) by Sheraton, Aloft(R), and ElementSM. The Company boasts one of the industry's leading loyalty programs, Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG), allowing members to earn and redeem points for room stays, room upgrades and flights, with no blackout dates. Starwood also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., a premier provider of world-class vacation experiences through villa-style resorts and privileged access to Starwood brands. For more information, please visit www.starwoodhotels.com.
(Note: This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of federal securities regulations. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance or events and involve risks and uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results or events to differ materially from those anticipated at the time the forward-looking statements are made. These risks and uncertainties are presented in detail in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Although we believe the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are based upon reasonable assumptions, we can give no assurance that our expectations will be attained or that results and events will not materially differ. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.) The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.
SOURCE: Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
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