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11 Sep, 2007 23:20

Hilton hotels come to Moscow

The world famous Hilton hotel group is set to hit Russia. Moscow's first Hilton will open early in 2008, and the second just a few months later in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk. The chain plans to open up to 25 hotels in Russia within the next five to

There are Hilton hotels in 80 countries, making it a truly international chain.  And although one of Hilton's slogans is ‘the company that speaks 50 languages’, so far Russian hasn't been on the list.  But that's about to change.  Russia is now one of the firm's strategic areas for development.  Its first hotel here will open in Moscow early next year.
Hilton International CEO, Ian Carter, says the pace of change across Russia makes it an attractive target for hoteliers. “Russia has become increasingly attractive as freedom of movement has become easier. Getting into and out of Russia is much easier now than it was, the visa system works well, the airports are more user-friendly”, he said.
With a total of just 30,000 rooms, Russia's capital has a shortage of hotel accommodation.  The number of daily foreign visitors coming for short stays is estimated at about 10,000.  
Hilton’s Senior Vice President Patrick Fitzgibbon says this pressure on space makes Moscow one of the most expensive places in the world to stay.  He also sees high demand as a growth opportunity. “We think opportunities to bring more hotels to Moscow and broaden the number of people who are coming here will also see the budget airlines grow, so we see an opportunity to really grow the whole market,” he said.
Meanwhile, this is not the first attempt by Hilton to set up in Russia. The Soviet government invited the group to come to the Russian market back in the 70s, but talks led nowhere. 

"There is still room for growth. They will face competition but it's not going to be fierce – it's going to be normal market situation. It's great news because it adds diversity, it adds more choice.

Konstantin Romanov, partner of Knight Frank

The situation has changed dramatically in 30 years and most of Hilton's global competitors have set up here.
Russia's first Hilton hotel will be located in one of Moscow's famous ‘seven sisters’ – magnificent buildings by Stalin that have dominated the city's skyline for generations.
Originally completed in 1954, the Hilton Moscow Leningradskaya will retain its historic exterior, but the inside will be completely renovated.
In early 2008 the five-star Hilton hotel will add another 275 rooms to Moscow's growing number of rooms.