Marriott looks to grow presence in Asia-Pacific region

Marriott International is pursuing a rapid expansion in Asia-Pacific, the South China Morning Post is reporting, including mainland China and Hong Kong, looking to double the number of its hotels in four years.

"Today we have 180 hotels in Asia Pacific and we can easily double that in four years," Craig Smith, president and managing director of Marriott Asia Pacific, told the paper. The number of hotels, represented by nine lodging brands, will increase to 200 by the end of this year.

The company has 250 projects under development in different phases, Smith added, including the 495 room, Hong Kong Ocean Park Marriott Hotel.

Within the expansion, Smith said the largest part is in China, where the group has 80 hotels and will more than double in four years. "We will have 22 hotels in Shanghai by the end of this year, and now have 11 in Beijing and six in Hong Kong...It is interesting that people are talking about an economic slowdown in China, a slowdown to seven percent. Seven percent is a phenomenon. If you can have 3.5 percent growth in Europe or United States, the president will be re-elected," he said.

Notably, Marriott is looking to expand in second tier cities such as Chengdu and Chongqing. Hong Kong is also considered an expansion target.