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Starwood announces big growth plans

Hotel giant Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide--which operates the Westin, St. Regis, Sheraton, W and Le Méridien brands--today announced an ambitious growth plan that includes 200 new deals and the opening more of more than 80 new hotels this year, almost doubling the number of properties the company opened last year.

The portfolio expansion will run across all nine of its brands, the company said. Starwood's global portfolio now holds some 420 hotels and more than 100,000 rooms.

NEW MARKETS EYED

“Starwood has garnered more than its fair share of new hotel deals as a direct result of the tremendous value we create for owners and developers through the distinct positionings of each of our brands in the global marketplace,” said Raymond “Rip” Gellein, president, Global Development Group. “We look forward to continuing our aggressive expansion in destinations and markets around the world in which we have traditionally not had a presence.” Nearly half of its new hotels will open outside of North America, the White Plains, N.Y.-based company said.

In China, where the company currently operates 34 hotels, Starwood is targeting more than doubling its presence in the region in the next three years. In Latin America, the company has announced plans for 12 new hotel projects. In Europe, Africa and the Middle East, Starwood expects to nearly double the number of new hotel projects this year, up from 23 deals in 2006, and targets opening approximately 50 hotels in the region in the next three years.

In North America, Starwood plans to open 200 hotels over the next three years.

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