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News: Hotels hot in Peru as new developments drive boom

Lima. Mar. 23 (ANDINA)- Widespread tourist attractions. stable politics and a robust economy are contributing to a boom in the hotel industry in Peru. where a wide range of international hotel chains are looking to open more rooms.

The Trade and Tourism Ministry says Peru in 2009 boasted 1.784 hotels. up from 1.358 in 2001. The number of four- and five-star hotels has nearly doubled to 63 from 34 in the same period. with another seven hotels forecast to open by the end of 2011.

The rise in hotel building comes on the heels of growing tourism and strong growth in the mining sector. according to Dow Jones Newswires.

'There is a lot of interest in tourism in Peru. and in mining.' said the director of Peru's Hotel Society. Tibisay Monsalve. leading increased hotel- room bookings. The society is forecasting a 5% to 6% rise in occupancy for this year.

Other forecasts are also positive. In the mining sector. for instance. an estimated $35.5 billion will be invested over the next five years. according to Peru's mining ministry.

The World Travel and Tourism Council ranks Peru as the fifth fastest-growing country for business travel and tourism. out of 20 in Latin America. The WTTC. whose members include about 100 international travel companies. hotels and airlines. estimates the real impact of travel and tourism in Peru will be worth almost $10 billion this year. rising to $18 billion by 2020.

Hotel chains interested in expanding in Peru include Radisson Hotels and Resorts. which is "actively" looking to build several new four- and five-star hotels. said company president for Latin America. Denise Estefan. Radisson already has two hotels in Lima and the expansion plans. Estefan said. are driven by strong market demand. as well as a 90%-plus occupancy rate for both existing hotels last year.

Possible projects include a third hotel in Lima. as well one at the southern city of Cusco. which draws international tourists on their way to Peru's most famous ruin. Machu Picchu. and possibly a third in Ollantaytambo. another popular tourist destination in southern Peru.

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts development director for Latin America. Alinio Azevedo. also said the company was exploring opportunities in Peru. with possible locations being Lima and Cusco.

The Hilton Hotels Corp.. which already has two hotels in Lima and coastal resort town of Paracas. also has plans for more. 'Possible locations are Cusco and the Sacred Valley.' said Ricardo Bracale. the general manager of Hilton's Peruvian franchise partner. Brade Investments SA.

Marriott International. Inc. (MAR). which currently has one hotel in Lima. is spending $45 million in opening another in Cusco this year. It will also spend a further $40 million over the next two years building two more. a second in Lima and one in the northern city of Trujillo. according to papers the company filed with Peru's securities regulator. Conasev.

In the meantime. projects already underway include the completion late this year of the $100 millionWestin Hotel in Lima. owned by Libertador Hotels.

Libertador formed an alliance with Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide (HOT) in 2007. and investments include $50 million in the new Tambo del Inca hotel near Cusco. opening in April. and $30 million in their Paracas hotel. about 250 kilometers south of Lima. which opened in December.

As long as the country continues to preserve its historic sites and unique culture. "the underlying appeal of Peru shows no signs of diminishing." said Stephanie Sonnabend of the Sonesta hotel chain.

Source: Andina

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