Worldwide briefing

17 November 2005
Worldwide briefing

McDonald's plan Russian expansion
Fast food giant McDonald's announced continued expansion plans for the Russian market. The burger chain will open 11 new restaurants before the end of the year. McDonald's already operates 134 outlets in Russia, with seven new openings in Moscow, St.Petersburg, and Rostov-on-Don over the past nine months.

W hotels to enter China Luxury hotel brand W Hotels has announced that it will make its Chinese debut in 2008. The 400-room W Hotel in the financial district of Shanghai will cater for business users and high-end leisure travellers, according to its parent company Starwood Hotels & Resorts. The W Shanghai - Pudong will be the latest W-branded venture for Starwood which has opened 27 W hotels across the world since the brand's launch in 1998. Five more openings planned over the next three years. New locations will include Barcelona, making a Spanish hotel the first European W.

French riots do not seem to have damaged tourism
The recent riots in France have yet to affect travel bookings to the country, according to tourism companies. "We are seeing normal booking conditions," said a spokesman for German travel firm Tui AG. Despite this, Marc Toutai, an economist with Natexis Banques Popularies, conceded that it was too early to comment. "There's nothing to panic about right now, but if things [the riots] continue this way, there'll definitely be cause for concern," he said. The terrorist attacks in London and Madrid earlier in the year appear to have had a larger impact on the European tourist industry.

China to be top world destination
China will be the world's most popular tourist destination by 2017. China is currently the fourth most popular destination in the world, with 41.76 million visiting tourists last year, but this figure is set to increase by more than 300% by 2017. The World Trade Organisation predicted that China would receive 137 million tourists by 2020, but this figure is likely to be achieved years ahead of schedule due to the current tourism boom. Increasing numbers of Chinese tourists are travelling overseas, making China the single largest source of tourists in Asia.

Orient report a rise in profits

Taj targets expansion into business
One of Asia's largest hospitality chains, Taj Hotels, Resorts and Palaces, has announced an expansion of its business hotels over the next two to three years. The company has plans to add more than 1,000 rooms in new locations, including Bangalore and Mumbai. Jyoti Narang, Taj Business Hotels chief operation officer, said that land has already been acquired for the new business hotels. "To stay ahead of the competition from domestic and international hotel chains, we have taken up expansion and renovation of our business hotels," he added. Taj Hotels currently run 19 business hotels in India, which record 70-80% weekday occupancy rates.

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