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Starwood's Westin to Enter Egypt

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Leading hotelier Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is consistently trying to expand its presence outside the U.S. More than half of Starwood’s properties are situated in the international market. In a concerted effort to strengthen its portfolio in Africa, the hotelier is developing properties in the continent under various brands.

Starwood is set to introduce a Westin-branded property — The Westin Cairo Golf Resort & Spa Katameya Dunes — in Egypt, in association with real-estate investment firm New Cairo for Real Estate Investment Company. Westin is an upscale brand of Starwood, which currently owns nearly 198 hotels across 40 countries. The new property, slated for an early 2015 opening, will mark the brand’s entry into the country.

Located 20 minutes from Cairo International Airport, the hotel will be positioned at New Cairo City District’s luxury residential development area, Katameya Dunes. We believe this property, with 127 guestrooms and several other amenities will create a strong guest base.

Egypt is one of the world’s top tourist destinations, and the country’s tourism industry contributes around 11% of GDP. To tap the growing opportunity, Starwood is expanding its footprint in most emerging African cities. Starwood currently operates 11 hotels in Egypt under Sheraton and Le Méridien brands.

Tourism is a major revenue driver for many nations of the continent. According to United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the number of international tourists traveling to the Middle East is expected to reach 134 million by 2030. According to UNWTO, Africa along with the Asia-pacific led world international tourism growth in 2013, followed by Europe. Africa has also been among the key markets for hoteliers like Hyatt Hotels Corp. (H - Free Report) .

Beginning its journey in 1971, Starwood now owns as many as 51 hotels across 18 African countries. The company aims to grow its African portfolio by more than 30% by opening more than 15 hotels over the next five years.

Starwood recently posted mixed fourth-quarter 2013 results. While the company’s adjusted earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate, its revenue missed the same.

Starwood currently has a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). Some better-ranked stocks in the hotel industry include Extended Stay America, Inc. (STAY - Free Report) and Marriott International, Inc. (MAR - Free Report) . Both the stocks carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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