Recognizing the increasing importance of the Caribbean and Latin America as a destination and source market for its portfolio of hotels, Marriott International has named company veteran Craig S. Smith, currently vice president and chief operations officer for Asia Pacific, as its first-ever president for the Caribbean and Latin America.
Smith, who as the son of a diplomat resided in several Latin American countries, began his career with Marriott International nearly a quarter-century ago, serving as general manager of properties in Brazil, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Peru before spearheading the company’s expansion into Asia. He is fluent in both Spanish and Portuguese.
The year 2012 saw the opening or conversion of 8 hotels in 5 countries, among them Mexico City’s first Courtyard by Marriott brand hotel at the International airport as well as the JW Marriott Cusco, strategically located at the gateway to the archaeological site of Machu Picchu.
Marriott International expects to double its footprint in the Caribbean and Latin America by 2017, adding 14,000 jobs and over 70 additional properties across 10 lodging brands in 26 countries and territories.
“Latin America’s booming economy has led to an expanding middle class eager to travel to new places and do business within and outside the region, providing tremendous opportunities for Marriott’s portfolio of brands,” said Smith.
Entering the Caribbean and Latin America in 1990 with the openings of the 450-room Marriott CasaMagna Resort in Cancun and the 433-room Marriott CasaMagna Resort in Puerto Vallarta, both in Mexico, Marriott International is now represented in the region by 74 hotels in 25 countries and territories, offering more than 18,000 rooms and spanning nine lodging brands.