US hotel group Carlson said on Tuesday it is planning a major global expansion over the next five years, boosting its network by 50 percent to 1,500 properties, with the focus on Asia.
The group has already signed agreements to open 75 hotels in the region by 2013, 18 of them this year, under its Radisson, Country Inns & Suites by Carlson, Park Inn and Park Plaza brands, the company said in a statement.
Carlson currently has 51 properties in the Asia-Pacific.
"Accelerated development in the Asia-Pacific is a key priority of our 'Ambition 2015' growth strategy," President and Chairman Hubert Joly was quoted as saying.
"This market is a key focus area in our plans to increase Carlson Hotels' portfolio by at least 50 percent to more than 1,500 hotels in operation by 2015."
Carlson said it had signed four hotel management agreements in China, where it now has just 9 properties in operation and 11 in development, as compared with 28 in operation and 55 in development in India.
One of the hotels will open in Chengdu, the capital of the southwestern province of Sichuan, by year's end. The other three will open in the first half of 2012, the Minneapolis-based company said.
The group currently has more than 1,060 hotels around the world, more than 1,000 restaurants including the T.G.I.Friday's chain and a majority stake in Carlson Wagonlit Travel, a major player in the business travel industry.The company's brands employ about 150,000 people.