Luxury Four Seasons Hotel to Expand in China
The luxury Four Seasons Hotel on Tuesday debuted plans to expand its presence in Asia, where it will open 11 new hotels and resorts, President and COO Kathleen Taylor told CNBC.
"China is one of the fastest growing markets in the world, and for us is an area of great new expansion," she said.
This year, the company will open properties in Hangzhou and Guangzhou—large cities with a business and leisure mix, Taylor said. It will then open nine additional properties in cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, bringing its total to 14.
Taylor said the company is also planning to expand in India, where it currently has one hotel in Mumbai.
Though some investors are concerned China's economy faces a pending meltdown, Taylor said this wouldn't alter the company's decision to invest in its brand there, even if it comes to fruition.
"Our business is extremely long-term," she said. "Our hotels are built to last for 50 to 100 years, and so when we look at destinations with our major business partners around the world, we're really investing in the future."
As for Europe, though Taylor admitted that she is nervous about the volcanic ash cloud that has stalled travel to and from much of the continent, as well as the struggling euro—which fell to a four-year low on Monday—she said the currency's downturn has an upside.
"That also brings opportunities for people traveling to Europe," she said.
Taylor said individual and group business travelers are coming back, and that RevPAR— irm revenue per available room—will experience double-digit growth in fiscal year 2010.
Loews Chairman and CEO Jonathan Tisch also told CNBC last week that it has seen an uptick in business travel, but that leisure travel also needs to bounce back before it can raise rates.
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