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InterContinental Hotels, which opened 40,000 new rooms last year, is bullish on prospects for the travel industry after serving up an extra payout for investors in its annual results.

The tourism industry has had a difficult year with a spate of attacks slowing business in France, Turkey and resorts in north Africa.

Overall revenue at IHG fell 4.9 per cent year-on-year to $1.72bn, just short of analysts’ expectations of $1.74bn. Excluding the effects of disposals in Hong Kong and Paris, revenues were up 4.6 per cent to $1.58bn.

However revpar, or revenue available per room, the main metric used by the industry, rose 1.8 per cent while occupancy reached record levels, IHG said, without specifying further.

Adjusted operating profit rose 9.5 per cent to $702m. On a reported basis it rose 4 per cent to $707m. The group said it would increase its annual dividend by 11 per cent to $0.94, and would also return $400m to shareholders by the end of June this year in the form of a special dividend.

Chief executive Richard Solomons said:

The fundamentals for the hospitality industry remain compelling. Despite the uncertain environment in some markets, we remain confident in the outlook for the year ahead, as well as our ability to deliver sustainable growth into the future.

Nevertheless, the Americas region was the only one to report sales growth, which rose 4 per cent. One area of notable decline was Hong Kong and Macau, where declines offset growth in mainland China.

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