Frits Van Paasschen, the CEO of Starwood Hotels, says that rising gas prices shows the U.S. economy is re-gaining strength and that timeshare and lodging/ resort demand is also growing, going against some experts’ estimates.
A weakening dollar along with Iranian unrest and a rising price of Brent crude oil has led to a decrease in American spending overall, including domestic tourism. China’s tourist numbers are growing as ours are decreasing. Markets are expanding in Africa, even including timeshares sold by resorts. It’s generally understood that the “depression” is mostly based in the West and Europe. Emerging Asian and African markets are offsetting European and American losses. Even South America is enjoying a better worldwide image and more tourists as a result.
"As we look at occupancy, not just in North America but around the world, it's quite strong today," van Paasschen said on March 20th.
China is moving towards a more capitalist state. The Chinese government has stated that boosting consumer demand is a key priority this year. They are allowing companies such as Starwood to develop in their country like never before.