Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is strengthening its long established position in the Middle East as one of the leading luxury hotel operators in the region with a portfolio of nearly 50 existing hotels and a pipeline of 25 new hotels. This growth, primarily in the luxury and upper-upscale segments, represents an increase of nearly 50%. By 2015, the Middle East will become the second region, after North America, to operate all nine of Starwood’s world-class brands - St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, W, Westin, Le Méridien, Sheraton, Four Points by Sheraton, and the recently launched Aloft and Element - further reinforcing the company’s commitment to the region.
As a key emerging market, the Middle East continues to evolve as an international business and leisure travel destination. According to the UN World Tourism Organization, the number of tourists travelling to the Middle East is expected to reach 136 million by 2020 compared with 54 million two years ago.
“Reaching out to new frontiers is a key focus for us. With more than 70% of the world’s growth over the decade coming from fast-growing markets such as the Middle East, the region plays a central role in our global expansion and development strategy,” said Frits van Paasschen, President and CEO, Starwood Hotels & Resorts.