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Marriott expands in Caribbean and Latin America

Saturday - 4/14/2012, 12:51am  ET

BETHESDA, Md. - Marriott International Inc. plans to double the number of hotels it has in the Caribbean and Latin America over the next five years, the company announced Friday.

Marriott, which operates The Ritz-Carlton, JW Marriott and other hotel chains, currently has 69 hotels in 25 countries in these two regions. It has 35 hotels already under development there as well. The company hopes to have more than 140 hotels in the two regions by 2017.

"Latin America is booming, in terms of economic growth and political and institutional stability, which is creating a promising business climate," Arne Sorenson, the new CEO of Marriott International, said in a statement. "The rising middle class throughout the region is eager to travel to new places and do business on the road. Worldwide, we're seeing a golden age of travel, and Latin America is at the forefront."

Marriot, based in Bethesda, Md., had 3,718 properties and timeshare resorts as of the end of its most recent fiscal quarter.

Its shares rose 26 cents to close at $37.31 on Friday. They are near the upper end of their 52-week range of $24.03 to $38.83.

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