Gulf News

Marriott and Wyndham add hotels in Asia as travel grows

China and India are the most attractive markets on the continent

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During a visit to Shanghai last month, toy salesman Wang Zhiyong and his wife stayed at a Courtyard by Marriott, one of dozens of new hotels in the city.

“Three- and four-star hotels are affordable and quite accessible,” Wang, who’s from the northern Shanxi province, said. He paid 900 yuan ($116) a night for his room in the financial district.

Since 2000, more than 35 hotels have opened in Shanghai alone, including the Courtyard where Wang stayed. The expansion into China, which has about 12,000 hotels, is part of a push by companies such as Marriott Internatio­nal Inc. and Wyndham Worldwide Corp to double their rooms in Asia and take advantage of rising affluence and increased travel.

Opportunit­y

“You have a rapidly growing economy, an expanding middle class and investment in infrastruc­ture that makes those markets a great opportunit­y,” Wyndham Chief Executive Officer Stephen Holmes, who made a five-day trip to India last month to discuss hotel deals, said.

China and India are the most attractive Asian markets, hotel executives say. China’s gross domestic product expanded 10.4 per cent in the fourth quarter, making the country the world’s fastest-growing major economy. India’s economy grew 8.6 per cent, the second-fastest.

China already ranks among the top five countries in spending for business travel, according to the London-based World Travel and Tourism Council. India, now 18th in business travel, probably will rank among the top five in 10 years.

Industrywi­de, 481 hotels are under constructi­on or planned for China, and 198 in India, up from 316 and 161 last September, Lodging Econometri­cs estimates.

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