Richard Solomons, chief executive officer of InterContinental Hotels Group Plc (IHG), speaks during an interview at the company's headquarters in Denham, on Friday, July 22, 2011. InterContinental Hotels Group Plc (IHG), owner of the Holiday Inn brand, said first-quarter profit rose 28 percent as travel recovered in the Americas, its biggest market. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg *** Local Caption *** Richard Solomons

David Jones London

WORLD number one hotelier InterContinental Hotels is keeping a close watch on the effects of global economic turmoil, but is yet to see an impact after strong growth in China and more business travellers helped it beat first-half forecasts.

Chief executive Richard Solomons said it was much too soon to see an effect on the hotel group from the sharp fall in global stock markets amid worries about US and euro zone debt, and said the hotel market often recovered from these setbacks.

He added that world governments needed to a get a grip on these problems, but they were not putting off his customers and he said mid-market hotels, such as its own Holiday Inn chain, were pretty resilient to these types of setbacks.

“We will keep a careful eye on things, but we are not seeing any effect yet and as a business we are well placed, being largely in the mid-scale market which is fairly resilient,” Solomons told a briefing after half-year results yesterday.

InterContinental shares rose by 3.6 percent in early UK trade. The group posted first-half operating profit up 23 percent at $269 million (R1.9 billion) beating a consensus of $256m, while half-year sales rose 10 percent to $850m. The half-year dividend rose 25 percent.

First-half global revenue per available room grew 6.7 percent. In July, the rate rose slightly less at 5.6 percent. – Reuters