Business: World Hotels: Little Room and Big Boom

THE golden age of tourism and business travel has drawn the world's innkeepers into a building spree. Led by aggressive U.S. chains, hotel expansion is honing competition in dozens of countries, and the travel boom is transforming entire economies. The construction splurge is aimed not only at American travelers, who are booking foreign tours in rising numbers despite the domestic economic slowdown, but also at travel-hungry Asians and Europeans.

Economical jet travel has helped lift the demand for accommodations so rapidly that hotelmen in many countries are swamped with business. Without much exaggeration,...

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