Marriott to double ME portfolio

Marriott International’s Middle East lodging portfolio is expected to increase by 54 percent over the next 36 months as the company adds 16 hotels offering 3,515 rooms through 2010.The additions build on Marriott’s pledge at the 2006 Arabian Travel Market to increase its Middle East room supply by more the 250 percent over five years.

‘Middle East tourism is expected to grow significantly over the next decade. We intend to share in this growth by offering a wide range of hotel choices for luxury, deluxe, upper moderate and extended stay travelers,’ said Ed Fuller, president and managing director of international lodging for Marriott.

‘Recently the World Travel & Tourism Council predicted that tourism will claim about 10 percent of all Middle East investment each year through 2016,’ he added. ‘It is clear that local investors and developers have recognized that travelers prefer our hotel brands and that we have the strongest distribution channels and marketing muscle to virtually ensure a hotel being a success from Day One,’ Fuller added.

The Middle East growth is part of Marriott International’s global strategy to increase its hotel portfolio by 85,000 to 100,000 rooms over the next three years with nearly 30 percent of this growth coming from outside the U.S. and Canada.

Half of Marriott International’s new Middle Eastern hotel openings will be in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). In 2009, the company plans to open and manage eight hotels in the UAE and make its entry into the Emirates of Ras Al-Khaimah and Sharjah.