|By Lalatendu Mishra, Hindustan Times, New
DelhiMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Nov. 3, 2009--MUMBAI -- Leading US-based hospitality chain Marriott International is aggressively expanding its footprint in India and plans to add 26 new hotels in its portfolio across the country, senior company executives said.
The new hotels with a combined capacity of 6,000 rooms would add to the existing 2,000-room inventory in seven properties currently managed by Marriott, which manages property owned by others by using its hoteliering expertise.
"In November 2009, we will open three hotels under our 'Courtyard by Marriott' brand. In 2010, another eight hotels including three JW Marriott hotels would be opened spanning across the year and 15 other projects are under various stages of development," said Rajeev Menon, area vice-president at Marriott.
He said that the company was rapidly ramping up the four-star 'Courtyard by Marriott' brand, with 16 under development in addition to the two already at work. Five of them will open by early 2010, Menon said.
Marriott officials said recession had taken revenues down 20 per cent this year, but they were eyeing a rebound with occupancy rates improving, aided by domestic travellers.
Marriott is also focusing on outbound business from India to showcase new destinations.
"We are very confident about prospects in India which is an emerging market for us," said David Townshend, senior vice-president (global sales), Marriott International.
"Our sales figures are right on track with last year, which means that the Indian market has not slowed down," he said.
Business guests account for 90 per cent of Marriott's sales from India with a new interest growing in longer haul destinations such as Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela, he said.
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