Marriott to add 16 hotels to Middle East region

Brand: Marriott International Spokesperson: Ed Fuller, president and managing director of international lodging
Fuller: big plans for the Middle East

How has 2007 fared for Marriott International?
Marriott International had a tremendous year of growth in 2007, and we are looking ahead to the unprecedented international growth of our brands in the next few years.

We opened 110 hotels so far in 2007, including the JW Marriott Hotel Beijing, which we recently designated our 3,000th hotel worldwide.

What are the company’s plans for 2008?
The Middle East in particular represents a huge opportunity for Marriott International brands, and we plan to add 16 hotels in the region in the next three years and to grow our total room supply in the Middle East by more than 250 per cent over five years. Nearly half of these new Middle Eastern hotel openings will be in the United Arab Emirates, representing five lodging brands: JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts in the luxury tier; Marriott Hotels & Resorts and Renaissance Hotels & Resorts in the quality tier; Courtyard by Marriott Hotels in the quality tier and Marriott Executive Apartments in the extended-stay category.

Are there plans to enter new markets?
In 2008 and 2009, we plan to open seven more hotels in Dubai, three in Qatar, two in Sharjah and one in Ras Al-Khaimah.  Marriott’s first foray in to the Middle East was the opening the Riyadh Marriott Hotel in 1980, and we currently have 22 hotels and 6,557 rooms in the region. With our continued bullish growth, the Marriott portfolio of hotels expects to grow 41 hotels and 10,646 rooms across five lodging brands by the end of 2010.

What can guests look forward to in the New Year?
Our growth in the Middle East reflects increased business as well as leisure travel to the region, spurred by increased airlift to the area, new infrastructure and a growing diversity of attractions.  Our goal is to stay on pace with this development with the opening of new hotels across our portfolio of brands.  As this Middle Eastern tourism significantly grows over the next decade, we look forward sharing in this growth and welcoming guests to our increasing choice of properties.