Hilton to Bump Up Asia Presence by 300 Hotels

Hilton Hotels Corp. plans to vastly increase its presence in Asia over the next 10 years with the addition of 300 more hotels to its existing portfolio of 47 properties there. The blossoming business and leisure travel markets in India and China will be among the areas targeted by Hilton, which has a list of brands that run the gamut from budget to upper-upscale accommodations. As per a report by hospitality consulting firm HVS, tourism arrivals in 2007 increased by 13 percent and 10 percent in India and China, respectively. According to a Wall Street Journal article, the company anticipates bringing 75 hotels to various leading metropolitan markets in India over the next five years with joint venture real estate firm DLF Ltd. Presently, Hilton has no properties under its operation in India. Additionally, Hilton hopes to add 18 hotels in China, where it presently operates five facilities carrying the Hilton flag. The hotel company will not own the 300 new properties, but will serve as the operator for most of the group. Hilton’s news marks yet another step in the company’s global expansion endeavor, announced in 2007, which outlines plans for supplementing its international portfolio with the addition of 1,000 hotels to its international portfolio over a 10-year period, with Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa being the major target locations. The company pointed to India’s growing economy and increasing middle class, and China’s strong economy and relaxed travel regulations as factors in its decision to focus on those areas. Hilton also listed Japan as a desirable locale for expansion given its improving economy. With its expansion plan in place, Hilton is hot on the trails of other U.S. and foreign hotel companies that have announced plans to multiply their offerings or establish a presence across Asia. Bloomberg reported today that White Plains, N.Y.-headquartered Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. is still on track with its goal of opening over 90 new hotels in the region. In April, Switzerland-based Golden Tulip Hospitality Group revealed that it would bring 40 hotels to 10 countries in Asia over the next four years, with Thailand and Cambodia being top priorities. Arlington, Va.-based Interstate Hotels & Resorts announced in February that it had formed a joint venture with JHM Hotels to invest in hotels in India via a $200 million fund, marking the company’s entrée into India’s lodging market. And last summer, Parsippany, N.J.-based Wyndham Hotel Group announced it would develop 38 Days Inn and Super 8 properties in India by 2011 in partnership with Gammon India Ltd; and the company also revealed that it had partnered with Aetos Capital L.P. to invest up to $50 million for the development of additional Super 8 hotels in China. Headquartered in Beverly Hills, Hilton Hotels Corp. is a leading hospitality concern with 3,000 guestrooms in 74 countries and territories. The company owns, manages or franchises 10 brands ranging from Homewood Suites to Hilton Grand Vacations to the Waldorf=Astoria Collection.