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Best Western Expects to Add 160 Hotels Through
Conversions (60%) and New Construction (40%)
In North America

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PHOENIX, Feb. 2, 2004 - Best Western International, THE WORLD'S LARGEST HOTEL CHAIN(R) will add approximately 380 hotels to its system in 2004 despite challenging economic conditions.

"Our global growth strategy remains unchanged, which is to identify regions both throughout North America and internationally where the Best Western brand is under represented," says Tom Higgins, Best Western president and CEO.

In North America, Best Western has projected adding 160 hotels to the system in the coming year through a combination of conversions (60 percent) and new construction (40 percent) according to Mark Williams, vice president of North American Development for Best Western.  "We continue to see a strong demand for hotel developers looking to affiliate with a brand that offers consistency and value," added Williams.

Several U.S. cities have been identified as excellent growth opportunities for Best Western which includes: Atlanta, Baltimore, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Denver, Kansas City, Orlando, Pittsburgh and Rochester.

Canadian provinces targeted for expansion include: Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Quebec.  As of the end of 2003, Best Western had 165 hotels and 15,272 rooms in Canada.

Additionally, the Caribbean continues to be a prime market for Best Western where it currently has six hotels open.

International expansion will account for an estimated two-thirds of Best Western's planned growth.

"Internationally, we continue to develop cautiously and intelligently," adds Higgins.  "Asia, Europe, the South Pacific and South America are all regions that continue to provide good expansion opportunities for the brand."

In Asia, Best Western plans to add more than 50 hotels over the next two years with the most aggressive growth planned for China according to David Kong, senior vice president-Marketing and Development.  Currently the hotel chain maintains two development offices in Asia, one in Beijing and the other in Bangkok.

"While hotel branding is still a relatively new trend in Asia, Best Western has identified strategic markets that would benefit from a value-priced global brand," said Kong.  Those regions include the Pearl River Delta, the Yangzhi River Delta and the Baohai Bay Region.  Major leisure destinations include Haikou, Shanya Island, Guilin and Shuzhou.

Best Western Asian hotels opening in 2004 include: the 200-room Best Western Premier Changchun Yongzhe (August) and the 140-room Best Western Premier Xian Jiazheng (September).  In all, Best Western has more than 50 hotels currently open throughout Asia, India and the Middle East.

In South America, Best Western is gearing up to add 20 hotels according to Suzi Yoder, vice president of International Operations.  "In just a year's time after opening our development office in Sao Paulo we have already made significant progress adding Best Western hotels in Brazil, Panama and Paraguay," Yoder said.

Four hotels have already been added to the system in 2004.  They include: the Best Western Casablanca Golf Resort at Iguazu Falls, Ciudad del Este, Paraguay; the Best Western San Marino Hotel, Salvador, Brazil; the Best Western Norte Palace Hotel, Florianopolis, Brazil, and the Best Western Mara Inn, Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela.

Other international regions slated for significant growth in 2004 include Australia where the chain projects it will add 45 hotels, in France where it expects to add 20 hotels, and Great Britain where the brand plans to add 12 hotels.

Best Western, THE WORLD'S LARGEST HOTEL CHAIN(R) ended the 2003 fiscal year with 4,110 hotels in 83 countries and territories.  Best Western International is a membership association of independently owned and operated hotels that provides marketing, reservations and operational support to its member hotels.
 


 
Contact:
David Trumble
Director, External Communications
+1-602-957-5753
david.trumble@bestwestern.com
http://www.bestwestern.com
Also See: Pacifica Hotel Company Reflags the Radisson Beverly Pavilion to Best Western Beverly Pavilion / September 2003
Best Western Expects to Add 400 Hotels in 2003 / Feb 2003


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