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Marriott to open Iraq sales office

Marriott International has announced its plans to add four hotels in the region through early 2005 and a sales office in Baghdad.

Marriott International has announced its plans to add four hotels in the region through early 2005 and a sales office in Baghdad. It has already appointed a new general sales agent in Baghdad. These are additional to the two JW Marriott hotels in Cairo and Kuwait City that opened earlier this year.

The chain admits it lost $14 million in cancelled group business due to the Iraq crisis, compared with $122 million after the events of September 11, 2001. However, Fred Miller, vice president of global sales, said that interest has picked up since the end of the Iraq conflict.

“Without a doubt, there has never been a more difficult business environment. Nevertheless, although the industry felt the negative effects of the soft global economy compounded by the conflict in Iraq during the first quarter, Marriott continued to benefit from its business model and strong balance sheet,” he said.

In the region, the chain is slated to open its economy brand Courtyard hotels in Dubai and Kuwait City as well as two resorts in Egypt and Jordan. The 212-room Renaissance Golden View Hotel Sharm El Sheikh opens later this year while the 300-room Aqaba Marriott Hotel & Resort will open by early 2005.

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