[photopress:hotels_intercontinental_Beijing.jpg,full,alignright]Major companies such as Marriott International, the Intercontinental Group, Accor of France and Shangri-La of Hong Kong have built networks and are expanding aggressively through the country.
According to the World Travel & Tourism Council the China market — now the sixth largest — is expected to become the world’s second biggest in ten years.
Joe McInerney, president of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, said, ‘It’s irresistible. It is a tremendous market for hotels. And the opportunities are enormous.’
Bruce McKenzie, regional VP for Greater China at Intercontinental, the oldest Western hotel operator in China, said, ‘There’s no doubt that it is an absolutely key market and we have a comprehensive growth strategy.’
IHG, which has been in China for 23 years, currently has 67 properties there. It plans too open 125 more by the end of 2008. The company’s workforce will almost double to 43,000 over the next three years.
Accor already operates 50 hotels there under its Sofitel, Novotel and Ibis brands, has announced plans to open or start developing more than 180 hotels by 2010 most of which will be under the Ibis, one star, brand.
Shangri-La, Asia’s biggest listed hotel chain, plans to raise at least $662 million to add to its 19 hotels in China.
Marriott International, which opened its first hotel in China in 1989, plans to go from 25 to 48 properties between now and 2010 and to 100 within the next five to six years.
Wyndham Worldwide by the end of this year will have 20 Ramada Inns, 13 Howard Johnsons, 11 Days Inns, 50 Super 8s.
Best Western will double its stable of hotels to 28 by end of this year.