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Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. (HOT - Analyst Report) recently announced the opening of the ninth Sheraton-branded property in Argentina in association with the Argentina based company, Sol del NOA S.A. The eagerly-awaited property, christened Sheraton Tucuman Hotel, enhanced the Starwood portfolio which already boasts a stronghold in Latin America with as many as ten properties under its banner.  

The upscale property will mark Sheraton brand’s debut in Tucuman (also known as San Miguel de Tucumán), Argentina’s fifth largest city. We believe that the property, boasting a total of 124 guestrooms and 28,000 square feet of meeting space, will attract a huge guest base. The property enjoys easy access from the Teniente General Benjamín Matienzo International Airport. Tucuman, though renowned for its vast agricultural areas, is rapidly converting itself into an industrial zone and has already been explored by several world-renowned companies. The city’s spectacular view and proximity to various historical places and archaeological sites will add to the hotel’s guest base.

This opening is in line with Starwood’s objective to operate 100 properties in the Latin American region by the end of 2013. The hotelier which currently operates 76 hotels in the region seems to be highly encouraged by Latin America’s emerging economy and its growing middle-income population.

In order to capitalize on the growing demand in Latin America, Starwood is now planning to open seven hotels each year in the region, on an average, for the next five years. This will lead to a 50% increase in the Starwood’s Latin American portfolio.

Starwood also plans to include four more hotels in its Sheraton brand portfolio in Latin America by 2014. In its 70-years' journey, Sheraton, one of Starwood’s strongest brands, has gained strength and popularity, owing to guest satisfaction. This Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) company is continuously trying to drive the brand’s potential, which is likely to cross the landmark of 500 hotels worldwide by 2015.

Some other hoteliers who have a high growth prospect include Home Inns & Hotels Management Inc. (HMIN - Snapshot Report), Orient-Express Hotels Ltd. (OEH - Snapshot Report) and The Marcus Corporation (MCS - Snapshot Report). While Home Inns & Resorts carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), the other two companies carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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