Travel Weekly's Asia-Pacific E-letter: July 19, 2004

STARWOOD signed an agreement with Grande Asset Development Public Co. to manage a new Four Points by Sheraton in Phuket, Thailand. Scheduled to open in July 2005, the Four Points by Sheraton Patong will mark the brand's entry into the Asia-Pacific resort market. Patong is the downtown hub of Phuket, Thailand's largest island. Patong is also the most popular beach area on the island. The resort will feature 215 rooms, three restaurants, a fitness center, 1,600 square feet of meetings space and a business center. Starwood has made a significant push in Thailand during the last year, adding the Sheraton Krabi Resort and the Westin Grande Sukhumvit in Bangkok.

ARRIVALS TO 30 ASIA-PACIFIC destinations were up 21% collectively during the first four months of this year compared to 2003. During this period, the Pacific Asia Travel Association said the 30 destinations reported some 88 million visitors, up 15 million from a year ago. PATA said the region is on track for a 15% increase for the entire year compared with 2003.

CARLSON HOTELS ASIA PACIFIC appointed Wayne Zhu director of development for China. Carlson said the appointment comes at a crucial time because the company is embarking on an aggressive expansion program throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Zhu will be based in Carlson Hotels' Shanghai office and will report to Joe Sita, who heads the Asia Pacific development team. Zhu will be responsible for the expansion of all of Carlson's hotel brands in Asia, including Regent International, Radisson, Park Plaza, Country Inns & Suites and Park Inn.

HILTON INTERNATIONAL said it will invest some $180 million over a three-year period to upgrade its portfolio of hotels in Australia's key leisure and meetings destinations. Hilton will also work with developers to open a Hilton Worldwide Resort and Spa in the vineyard region of western Australia by 2007. In addition to the top-to-bottom refurbishment of the Hilton Sydney scheduled to be completed this summer, the company will renovate the Hilton Adelaide, Hilton Cairns, Hilton Brisbane and Hilton Perth, focusing on building modern meetings and conference facilities.

H2OUTFITTERS, a kayaking specialist based Orr's Island, Maine, is offering a 14-day kayaking trip to Japan. When guests aren't kayaking, they'll be visiting Buddhist temples, gardens, palaces and museums. Kayaking destinations include the floating temple compound at the island of Miyajima, the Inland Sea, the National Park island of Ohkunoshima, Omishima Island, Osakikama Shima Island, Osakishimo Shima Island, Shikoku and the Yoshino River. The trip costs $4,950 per person, double, excluding air fare. It includes accommodations, all meals (except on the days of arrival and departure), ground transportation, kayaking gear, safety equipment, kayak guides, a translator and tour guide. For information or reservations, call (800) 20-KAYAK or visit

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