According to an analysis on the enrollment and travel trends of Starwood Preferred Guest members made by Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, China has become the richest source of new, loyal travelers for the hotel group.
The results underscore previous reports by the World Tourism Organization that forecast China as the world's largest market for inbound and domestic tourism by 2015.
According to the analysis, Chinese enrollment in SPG jumped 50% in 2009 compared to the previous year, and SPG members now make up roughly half the occupancy of Starwood hotels in China. The rapid growth has resulted in China's rise to become the SPG program's fourth largest base of active members, behind only the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
To meet the needs of the growing Chinese travel market and SPG members, Starwood is working with its proven development partners to more than double its presence to 100 high-caliber hotels in China by 2012. China is now home to the largest number of Starwood hotels outside of North America, and it has the largest pipeline of new hotels outside of the United States. This year alone, Starwood has signed 18 new deals in China. And within two years Starwood expects to have a presence in Shanghai that rivals its existing footprint in New York City, where the company has more than a dozen hotels and is still growing.