Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., owner of The Westin Aruba Beach Resort, released its figures for 2007. Highlights are: fourth quarter 2007 profit fell 28%, vacation ownership (timeshare) for 2007 fell 16.5% to $259 million. Additionally Starwood cut its forecast of 2008 and are expecting a downturn in global tourism.
Starwood’s outlook: “While overall lodging trends are currently strong, uncertainty surrounding the U.S. economic environment and its impact on travel patterns makes it difficult to predict future results with precision. As a result, the Company has adjusted its 2008 outlook to reflect this uncertainty and the possibility of a slowdown in U.S. lodging demand.”
Despite the seemingly pessimistic forecasts, Starwood continues to invest heavily into its businesses. Starwood expects to open 80 to 100 hotels in 2008, which translates to around 20,000 units. In Aruba Startwood is busy renewing the current 18-tower resort and construction the vacation ownership resort adjacent to current tower is scheduled to start this year.
Meanwhile Aruba Central Bank officials projected a modest economic growth of 2% for 2008 for this island.