Thistle Hotels is to expand outside the UK for the first time this year, by opening properties in Asia.
A 250-room hotel in Port Dixon, Malaysia will open this year, while work is underway to convert a Hyatt hotel near Singapore into a Thistle Hotel.
The hotel company, which recently embarked upon a £100m refurbishment programme of its 32-strong portfolio, said the company was coping well in face of the economic downturn and now was the right time to go abroad.
Recently-appointed chief operating officer Heiko Figge said he felt it was the right time to test the brand abroad.
Figge said: "We talk ourselves into doom and gloom and of course hospitality is suffering, but we have improved our market share and this allows us the opportunity to move further afield."
Mr Figge has worked for the chain for ten years as manager of its Royal Trafalgar, City Barbican and Marble Arch properties in the late 80s and early 90s. He then worked at Paramount Hotels and Marriott.
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