[photopress:Guangzhou_chinahotel_1.jpg,full,alignright]In an article in Budget Travel Online Tim Ryan writes of the move into China of all the big-name hotel brands. Twenty years ago the Chinese government generally didn’t license hostels to accept foreigners so visiting tourists had little choice but to go upscale. David Kong, president and CEO of Best Western International, said, ‘The reverse was true for Chinese travelers,’ few of whom could come close to affording a five-star hotel.
That has changed very quickly. There is a growing middle class that has money to spend on vacations — mostly within China, at least for now. The number of foreign tourists visiting China reached 20 million in 2005, and the country will possibly be the world’s largest tourist destination by 2020.
Tom Keltner, executive vice president for Hilton Hotels Corporation, said, ‘Anybody in the hotel business has to be very interested in China.’ There are currently 188 new hotels under construction, which will add some 70,000 rooms. Many are familiar American brands, including Best Western, Hilton, Holiday Inn, Hyatt, Ramada, Super 8 and Westin. Most of them the rooms will start at around $100 or less.
Best Western will nearly double its presence in China, to 28 hotels, by the end of 2007.
The InterContinental Hotel Group has 56 hotels in the country, and plans to have about 125 by 2008; most will be Holiday Inns.
Wyndham Hotel Group expects by 2007 to operate 26 Super 8 hotels in China, as well as 24 Ramadas, eight Howard Johnsons, and six Days Inns.
The Vantage Hospitality Group, which owns Americas Best Value Inn, is introducing a Chinas Best Value Inn brand — and wants to open 200 to 400 hotels within three years.
Local economy chains such as Jinjiang and Home Inns are also expanding rapidly.
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