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Marriott to double hotels in China
Date:2010/5/26      View:1244
Marriott International Inc, the largest US hotel chain, plans to double its hotels in China in the next five years, taking advantage of an expected jump in domestic tourism as the world's third-largest economy expands.

China is expected to be the world's single largest source of international tourism and will become the biggest travel destination over the next 10 years, JW Marriott Jr, chairman and chief executive officer of Marriott, said in a statement released at a media briefing in Shanghai.

"It's growing very quickly," Arne Sorenson, Marriott president and chief operating officer, said at the briefing at the World Expo in Shanghai. "By the end of this year, revenue in same store hotels is expected to grow over 20 percent in China."

Marriott, based in Bethesda, Maryland, expects to have up to 90 hotels in China by 2015, up from 46, the company said.

China is Marriott's largest market outside North America, with sales from the nation of 1.4 billion people accounting for less than 10 percent of revenue.

China's economy grew 11.9 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, the fastest pace in almost three years.

More than 4 million visitors, an average of 200,000 a day, have entered Shanghai's $44 billion World Expo park since its May 1 opening.

Hotel and tourism stocks are likely to extend gains this year as a jump in visitors during the World Expo may increase earnings by 20 percent, Guotai Junan Securities Co said last month.

Home Inns & Hotels Management Inc, China's second-biggest budget hotel operator, said in March that the World Expo will boost room rates by as much as 20 percent, and it's adding 38 percent more hotels nationwide.

Tourism boom

Mainland visitors to Taiwan may surpass Japanese for the first time on record as relaxed rules spur travel to an island off limits to mainlanders for 60 years.

This reflects the change in the balance of economic power in Asia, with China projected to overtake Japan as the world's second-biggest economy this year.

In 2009, China's gross domestic product was $4.9 trillion, compared with Japan's $5.1 trillion.

Japan will loosen Chinese visa requirements starting July to increase tourism and boost the nation's economy, Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada said May 18.

The number of Chinese who visited last year rose 0.6 percent to 1 million, while foreign tourists overall fell 19 percent to 6.8 million, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization.
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