Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide will temporarily relocate its corporate headquarters to India from Stamford, CT, in March 2015, it announced last week. The relocation, which the company is calling a "month-long immersion," will export the company's senior executives to Mumbai and Delhi, where they will conduct day-to-day operations while simultaneously learning about the Indian market and building local relationships within it. The result, it's hoped, will position the company to take advantage of the country's vast growth potential for both inbound and outbound travel.
"Global trends are revolutionizing travel. Rapidly growing markets and a more interconnected world are bringing high-end travelers to new markets like never before," Starwood President and CEO Frits van Paasschen said in a statement. "As a company with operations in over 100 countries, we at Starwood know that there is no substitute for witnessing firsthand this huge transformation."
Starwood's history in India dates back to 1973, when it opened a Sheraton hotel in Mumbai. Today, the company operates 40 hotels in India, and has another 36 under development.
"This is a particularly exciting time for us relocate to India," van Paasschen continued. "Its renewed focus on travel infrastructure is much needed, as travel demand is fueled by economic growth and a population expected to overtake China by 2030. We all know of India as a hotbed of technological innovation and global services. Coupled with the rise in entrepreneurship and investment, millions of people are joining its middle class every year. And, of course, this means millions of new travelers. At the same time, India is both unique and immensely diverse. Our extended time there will allow us to immerse ourselves and appreciate new approaches to the business of hospitality."
It also will allow Starwood to visit nearby markets, such as Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Maldives.
"With South Asia as our home base, we'll be within a five-hour flight from nearly 40 percent of our global pipeline for new hotels," van Paasschen concluded. "This includes major cities as well as some of the world's most remote and untouched destinations. As we look at these growth markets, we will explore how we create opportunities for the thousands of people who will enter the global workforce through Starwood. We will also work to find ways for humans to coexist with nature while preserving it."
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