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WASINGTON, DC-With the impending opening of the 216-room Jordan Valley Marriott Resort & Spa next month, Marriott International Inc. continues to move forward with its expansion strategy in the Middle East, undeterred by the September 11-induced slump in the tourism sector and growing political instability in the area. The five-star, five-story Jordan Valley property–reportedly developed at a cost of about $25 million–is Marriott’s third full-service hotel in Jordan, but with the planned 2004 opening of The Aqaba Marriott Hotel & Resort, it will not be Marriott’s last.

“Looking to the future, all of the company’s energy is focused on becoming the world’s premier lodging company,” Marriott’s international public relations manager Laurie Goldstein tells GlobeSt.com. “In the Middle East, Marriott expects to expand its portfolio to 20 hotels over the next 24 months, representing Marriott, Renaissance, Courtyard and Marriott Executive Apartments.” The company made its debut in the Middle East/Africa region in 1980, and currently boasts 16 properties in eight Middle Eastern countries.

Jordan Valley Marriott, which sits along the Dead Sea on the Earth’s lowest point, will offer the usual luxury amenities in addition to a 32,300-sf spa, an entertainment amphitheater, a game room, two 75-seat movie theaters, and a 450-person ballroom. Following Jordan Valley, the remaining locations to debut in the region this year are the 425-room JW Marriott Hotel Mirage City in Cairo, Egypt, the 168-room Renaissance Golden View Hotel in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, and the 150-room Madinah Marriott Hotel in Saudi Arabia.

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