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Marriott adding 21 hotels in PH in 5 years

/ 04:08 AM September 25, 2019

Marriott International Inc. is planning to add at least 21 hotel projects in the Philippines over the next five years as it expects to benefit from the surge in Chinese tourist arrivals.

Craig S. Smith, president and managing director of Marriott International Asia Pacific, said in a press briefing on Tuesday that this was just the conservative estimate since they would still continue to negotiate for more hotel deals in the years to come.

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He said 14 of these deals had already been signed and are under construction. By the end of the year, the company would likely sign seven more deals.

This will bring the company’s portfolio in the country to a total of 25 hotels. It currently has four hotels in Pasay, Clark and Iloilo.

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“The Philippines is a great story for us. It’s really a great market,” he said, pointing to the economic growth of the country as one of the drivers for the expansion.

“Then we have the second factor that is also helping, and that’s Chinese travelers. We see an increase in Chinese travelers all over the Asia-Pacific and they love the Philippines,” he said.

China is already close to overtaking South Korea, the latter being the historically biggest source of foreign tourists in the Philippines.

According to data from the Department of Tourism, there has been 1.03 million Chinese tourist arrivals in the first seven months of the year, marking a 36-percent increase from 766,079 Chinese tourists in the same period in 2018.

At this rate, China has already accounted for 21.4 percent of the foreign tourist market in the Philippines, already close to the 1.11 million tourist arrivals from South Korea.

Marriott International is a management company, he said, explaining its business strategy. This, he said, meant its hotels have different developers and owners whose businesses would benefit from using the Marriott name.

The developers that will build some of these new hotels include the San Miguel Group and Robinsons Land Corp.

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Three of the 21 projects will be done through conversion, which involves turning an existing hotel infrastructure and rebranding it under Marriott.

This, Smith said, was a faster approach since it would only take around a year, as opposed to the usual five years to build a hotel from the ground up.

“It came about because we wanted to open hotels quicker because of demand and the growth,” he said, noting that this has also been the company’s strategy in the rest of Asia-Pacific.

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