Travel within Latin America is boosting Marriott's business in the region.
BY JOACHIM BAMRUD
U.S.-based hotel chain Marriott International, which has doubled its presence in Latin America the past five years, plans to expand further. "We're essentially double what we were five years ago," says Chuck Kelley, executive vice president for operations for Latin America for Marriott International.
During the next two years, Marriott plans to open 27 new hotels in Latin America and the Caribbean. That comes in addition to its 51 existing hotels in the region. The company does not own any properties in the region, but manages and operates them on behalf of partners such as El Salvador's Grupo Poma, which franchises five Marriott International properties under the Marriott, JW Marriott and Courtyard by Marriott brands in Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica and Colombia and plans to open a sixth hotel in Honduras in 2010.
Marriott doesn't release Latin America revenue figures, but they have been growing between 5 and 10 percent during the first eight months this year, Kelley says "Particularly [in] Central and South America we've seen pretty good revenue growth [of 5-10 percent," he says. "Panama has been fanstic and Buenos Aires has been exceptional, but all major cities have had year on year growth."
The new hotels that are planned include hotels in Ecuador, Honduras and Peru. "We have a stated goal of expanding our distribution throughout Latin America and clearly Guayaquil and San Pedro Sula were markets where we didn't have a presence, so that was a great opportunity," Kelley.
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Keywords: Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras, Panama, Grupo Poma,