BERLIN, March 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Holiday Inn Express enters Russia for the first time IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group), one of the world's leading global hotel companies, has signed a franchise multiple development agreement (MDA) with Regional Hotel Chain, a portfolio company of VIY Management (VIYM) to develop 15 new hotels in Russia by 2019, which, when open, will double the size of IHG's estate there as it stands today, and will introduce the Holiday Inn Express brand to the region for the first time. The 15 new Holiday Inn Express hotels will add approximately 2,250 rooms, when signed, to IHG's current Russia development pipeline of over 1,700 rooms (5 hotels). The locations for the first two of these hotels are Chelyabinsk and Voronezh. Holiday Inn Express Voronezh - Kirova is due to open in the second half of 2014 and Holiday Inn Express Chelyabinsk - Central Station, is scheduled to open in summer 2015. IHG's chief executive officer, Europe, Angela Brav said: "This is a breakthrough for IHG in Russia. It marks the debut of the Holiday Inn Express brand there and, when the hotels open we will have doubled the size of our system as it stands in Russia today, making a significant step towards our ambition to be market leaders." IHG's chief development officer, Europe, Robert Shepherd said: " Russia is a priority market for IHG in Europe. It is underdeveloped in terms of branded hotel rooms, one of the most prosperous economies in Europe and is a growing market for business travel both internationally and between its many large cities. As Russia grows in economic importance, the introduction of the Holiday Inn Express brand will not only be important to meet local mid-scale demand in-country, where we know there is a significant supply gap, but also as part of a future strategy to capture inbound demand as a brand of choice. We're pleased to partner with VIYM, one of the most recognised hotel investment managers in the industry in Russia, and look forward to working with them as we expand. " VIYM's Co-founding Partner and Chairman of RHC Board, Andrey Yakunin remarked: "We are pleased to announce our second joint initiative with IHG on the Russian market and promote such a large-scale opportunity on its regional level. Our strong belief is in the high growth potential of the lower midmarket offering supported by international expertise, resource and efficiency, which can be embodied by the introduction of the Holiday Inn Express brand for business and leisure travellers across the country. The current operational results of RHC hotels and the demand, which we see in the regions, only prove our expectations." The Holiday Inn Express brand is designed to be the smart choice for value-conscious business and leisure travellers. Fresh, clean and uncomplicated, Holiday Inn Express is a great hotel choice for guests on the go. It offers guests exactly what they need - a great night's sleep in a high quality hotel and a free breakfast. There are currently more than 2,000 Holiday Inn Express hotels around the globe.