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Carlson Hotels Worldwide - Asia Pacific Marks Fifth Anniversary

Carlson Hotels Worldwide - Asia Pacific, created in October 2002 with the goal of expanding the company's global brands in the region, marks its fifth anniversary having achieved 50 per cent growth in properties plus a strong development pipeline destined to solidify the company's leadership in the Asia Pacific travel industry.

With key projects open or under development in fast growing markets around the region, including China, India and Thailand, Carlson Hotels Worldwide Asia Pacific is on track to achieve its goal of over 100 properties in 2009. The company operates the five brands of Carlson Hotels Worldwide: Regent Hotels & Resorts; Radisson Hotels & Resorts; Park Plaza Hotels & Resorts; Country Inns & Suites By Carlson and Park Inn.

"When Carlson Hotels Worldwide - Asia Pacific was created five years ago, we set forth a strategy to expand our portfolio of brands throughout the region," said Paul Kirwin, president of Carlson Hotels Worldwide Asia Pacific and president of Carlson Asia Pacific. "As we mark our fifth anniversary, I am pleased to report that we have currently grown to 53 locations in 11 countries with an additional 40 hotels in the development pipeline."

"We continue to see tremendous opportunities for new growth in the region and have developed an organizational infrastructure and momentum which will drive us to new levels of success," he added.

Globally, Carlson Hotels Worldwide includes 958 locations operating in five brands in 71 countries. "We believe the brands in our portfolio - from the luxury Regent to the economy Park Inn - are very well-aligned to the key market segments where we see this growth occurring."

The company will open five new hotels in the region by the end of the year, from its Radisson Hotels & Resorts, Park Plaza Hotels & Resorts, and Country Inn & Suites By Carlson brands. Four of the new properties will be in India, which is a key growth market for Carlson Hotels Worldwide, including the new Radisson Resort & Spa Alibaug, in Maharashta; the Radisson Hotel Manohar Hyderabad; the Park Plaza Delhi NH8; and the Country Inn & Suites Goa. The Park Plaza brand is also being introduced to Thailand, with the debut of the Park Plaza Sukhumvit in Bangkok, which will open in November 2007.

Paul noted that there are a number of factors driving the company's growth in Asia. "We are seeing a tremendous surge in arrivals and domestic travel in China and tourist demand in this market is likely to be double the global growth rate, particularly with upcoming global events such as the Beijing Olympics and Shanghai's World Expo in 2010,"he said.

Similarly, India's hospitality industry is also undergoing significant expansion, with demand for quality accommodation outstripping supply. Much of this burgeoning demand is domestic, with more than 390 million Indians travelling during 2005, including business travel, visiting family and friends, and pilgrimages. Inbound traffic predominantly originates from the United Kingdom and Continental Europe, South East Asia and the United States.

"Carlson is currently the largest international hotel group in India, where we already manage 32 hotels and resorts," Paul said. "Over the past four years, we have more than doubled our presence in China with nine hotels operating across the Regent, Radisson and Park Plaza brands, and we are particularly proud of the two new Regent hotels in Beijing and Shanghai, which are redefining the art of luxury hospitality in China."

As the hotel group intensifies its global strategy, it is also strengthening its senior management team in the Asia Pacific, with the appointment of Martin Rinck as the incoming president and managing director of Carlson Hotels Worldwide - Asia Pacific. Martin, who had led business development at the Rezidor Hotel Group for the past four years during a record-breaking period of growth and expansion, will assume this position from Paul next month, while Paul will continue as president of the overall Carlson organisation in Asia Pacific.

Carlson's expansion in Asia is a key part of its global growth strategy which also includes strong expansion in Europe, the Middle East and Africa plus the Americas. Globally, Carlson Hotels Worldwide added 40 new hotels to its portfolio during the first six months of this year.