[photopress:NewInterConNanjing.jpg,full,alignright]China’s rapid expansion as an economic powerhouse, coupled with a growing and affluent workforce, is driving a new wave of investment into the Chinese hotels and leisure sector.
The figures are remarkable:
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHT) is well on track to open 125 outlets in China by the end of 2008.
Hilton Hotels has teamed with Rreef, the property arm of Deutsche Bank and private equity firm H&Q Asia Pacific, to develop 25 hotels at a cost of £272 million.
French hotels group Accor plans to open 80 hotels in the country over the next two years.
Starwood, the operator of the Sheraton and Westin chains is looking to open at least 12 new hotels in Shanghai alone this year.
IHG’s chief executive Andrew Cosslett said, ‘China has unmatched market potential. IHG has the largest pipeline of hotels in the industry and we are on track to meet our objective of between 50,000 and 60,000 new net room additions by the end of 2008. This is equivalent to opening one new hotel a day.’
Apart from the flagship InterContinental Hotel brand, the group also operates the Holiday Inn, Express by Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza hotel chains.
China is currently IHG’s third largest market with 22,665 rooms and 67 hotels. Its current pipeline envisages an additional 84 hotels and an extra 29,771 rooms.
So all those rooms have to be filled. IHG, like other hotel groups, is banking on a sharp increase in overseas visitors to China and more internal travel as the country opens up.
According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, the number of inbound tourists is expected to climb from 50 million in 2006 to between 150-180 million by 2020. According to the National Bureau of Statistics of China the number of domestic trips is expected to reach three billion by 2020.
China’s internet penetration is now second only to the US, with 137 million users — 10% of all hotel rooms are booked through the internet — while China will spend $17.2 billion on improving its airport infrastructure network between 2006 and 2010.
Road spending is also soaring with the number of highway kilometers set to double to 85,000 by 2020.
Source: Birmingham Post
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