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Marriott Weighs Risk, Opportunity Of a Hotel in Baghdad Green Zone [View All]

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sabra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-08-08 09:50 AM
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Marriott Weighs Risk, Opportunity Of a Hotel in Baghdad Green Zone
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Source: WP

A Marriott International official said yesterday that the company was evaluating whether to open a hotel in Baghdad's fortified Green Zone, responding to a request from U.S. government officials who are eager to help revive Iraq with foreign investment and economic activity.

The Bethesda firm, one of the largest hotel operators in the world, would have to overcome major obstacles, such as Baghdad's lack of security and its ravaged infrastructure. Chief executive Bill Marriott is considering the deal but is concerned about safety issues, according to someone familiar with his thinking.

Marriott, which is paid fees by hotel owners to manage properties, is mulling the move as it embarks on a major expansion in the Middle East. To meet demand from a surge of business activity there, Marriott intends to boost its properties in the region from 26 to about 75 during the next several years.

Opening a Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh is one thing. But moving into Baghdad is quite another. The Green Zone has been a frequent target of attacks by insurgents. A recent flare-up, when 114 rocket and mortar rounds fell in the Green Zone during a 30-day period ending in late April, showed the unpredictability of the danger.

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