Last month Starwood announced that it will increase its Middle East and Africa (MEA) portfolio by more than 60 percent with nearly 50 new hotels set to open over the next five years, adding more than 14,000 guest rooms to the region and creating thousands of local employment opportunities. With 82 operating hotels and over 20 hotels expected to open by the end of 2015, Starwood is on track to reach a milestone 100 hotels across MEA."With 80 percent of Starwood's pipeline coming from rapidly growing markets, it's important for us to remain at the forefront of new travel demands and changing travel patterns," said Simon Turner, President of Global Development, Starwood Hotels & Resorts. "The Middle East is experiencing rapid economic growth, a growing middle class and ever greater global connectivity, and the Dubai relocation will help us expand all of our brands across this important region." The company also announced a comprehensive renovation strategy for its Le Meridien brand, for which Starwood and its ownership groups will invest more than $200 million in the renovations of 13 hotels and resorts in the MEA region over the next 3 years. Following the company's successful relocation to China in June 2011, this second leadership move reflects Starwood's innovative management approach to cultivating a more global culture by understanding, appreciating and leveraging different societal and associate perspectives and approaches to business and hospitality. Images and updates from the month's journey are available via Tumblr and Instagram at: http://starwoodhotels.tumblr.com/ and http://instagram.com/starwoodbuzz. About Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with 1,134 properties in nearly 100 countries and 171,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels, resorts and residences with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis®, The Luxury Collection®, W®, Westin®, Le Meridien®, Sheraton®, Four Points® by Sheraton, Aloft®, and ElementSM. The Company boasts one of the industry's leading loyalty programs, Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG), allowing members to earn and redeem points for room stays, room upgrades and flights, with no blackout dates. Starwood also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., a premier provider of world-class vacation experiences through villa-style resorts and privileged access to Starwood brands. For more information, please visit www.starwoodhotels.com. Issued by GHCasia Beijing on behalf of Starwood Hotels & Resorts For more information, interview requests or high resolution visuals, please contact: Rhoda Adams Grebstad Hicks Communications Beijing Telephone: 86 10 65 289 983 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Colin MacLennan Grebstad Hicks Communications Beijing Telephone: 86 10 65 289 983 Email: email@example.com SOURCE Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.