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Starwood banks on emerging markets

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Sheraton Hotels & Resorts plans to open 15 hotels in China in 2013, including the Sheraton Huzhou Hot Spring Resort. Photo courtesy of Starwood Hotels & Resorts.

For the fourth consecutive year, about half of the Sheraton Hotels & Resorts scheduled to open will be in China, as Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. continues to hone its focus on Southeast Asia and other emerging-growth regions in 2013.

The Stamford-based hotel conglomerate said it plans to open 30 Sheraton hotels in the next year, with half of those in China, one in India and four in the Middle East.

Meeting those targets would keep Starwood’s largest hotel brand on track for its 500th hotel overall and its 80th in China by 2015.

“The majority of our new hotel development is taking place in the world’s fast-growing economies, while in North America, Sheraton remains one of the most sought-after brands,” said Hoyt Harper, global brand leader for Sheraton. “The Sheraton growth trajectory in China has been nothing short of remarkable.”

Sheraton also plans to open a hotel in Argentina and two in Brazil this year, the latter coming as the company gears up for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics, both of which will be hosted by Brazil.

Sheraton, which has hotels in nearly 70 countries, recently completed $6 billion in global capital improvements and is in the midst of a second $6 billion expansion that will extend through 2015.

Weston Hotels & Resorts, another of Starwood’s nine chains, will open its 200th property this year, the company announced last week.

In the past 18 months, Weston has added five hotels in Latin America, bringing its total there to 11. Weston will also open seven hotels in the Asia Pacific region, including four in China.

Simon Turner, president of global development for Starwood, said the company sees “continued opportunities for global growth through both world-class new build projects and conversions where developers benefit from the strength of the brand and Starwood’s powerful systems.”

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