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European hotel investment holds up despite

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Despite continuing geo-political uncertainty, volatile international travel patterns and declines in hotel RevPAR, the European hotel industry continues to attract investment, according to experts speaking at this year’s 14th Annual European Hotel Industry Investment Conference. While speakers agreed the market outlook remained uncertain, the industry fundamentals were strong. More than 250 executives from the hospitality industry met at the London’s Royal Lancaster Hotel on 6th November 2002 to consider the outlook for the European hotel industry. Hosted by Deloitte & Touche and Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels, this was the 14th time this unique event has been held.

Nick Marsh, Executive Vice President of Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels said: “The last 12 months have proven fairly resilient for the European hotel investment market. Unlike the US, where the market shut down through the fourth quarter of 2001 and the first two quarters of 2002 the European markets held their nerve and owners bringing assets to the market, have found a variety of different capital sources willing to invest in the sector. Whilst 2003 looks as if it will be tough in some markets, there are brighter spots and the amount and variety of capital available in the market today will mean the investment markets can look forward to a reasonable 2003.”

Nick van Marken, the partner in charge of hospitality consulting at Deloitte & Touche, said: “The potential for conflict in Iraq and uncertainty brought about by the on-going threat of terrorism continue to unnerve operators, investors and travellers alike. Volatility has become a way of life for the industry and hoteliers are having to be fairly innovative in protecting volumes and their bottom line. Certain sectors (notably the European budget sector) are performing well although the resort sector in the Mediterranean has exhibited mixed performance. While lenders are cautious, low borrowing costs and the availability of debt mean that transactions appear set to continue. There are no distressed sellers. The market is quite unlike that of the early 1990s”.

Other speakers included Roger Bootle of Capital Economics, Chris Tarry, airlines and aviation analyst at Commerzbank, Sinead Finn of Ryanair, Sébastian Bazin of Colony Capital and Rod Taylor of Barclays. Copies of all the presentations can be accessed via: www.HotelBenchmark.com/14thannual.htm or www.joneslanglasallehotels.comThe European Hotel Industry Investment Conference is the premier forum for discussion, analysis and networking for individuals in the hotel investment industry. The event is preceded by a cocktail party, this year held at the Four Seasons, Canary Wharf.

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