Middle East turmoil has major affects on luxury hotels

Escalating political turmoil and violence in the Middle East is blemishing a robust lodging recovery in global markets for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. The company, which swung to a profit in the fourth quarter, said the Middle East and Africa were the only regions that haven’t fully recovered from one of the worst brutal downturns in the hotel industry. "The political turmoil in North Africa, especially Egypt, is of course hurting our business," said Vasant Prabhu, vice chairman and chief financial officer of the hotelier during a post-earnings conference call Thursday. He noted Starwood has 16 hotels across North Africa that generated between $10 million to $12 million in fees last year.