Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts is expected to open seven properties worldwide before the year-end, Hotelier Middle East can reveal.

The Toronto-based luxury hotel operator has scheduled the launch of three new hotels in China for Mid-2012 including the Four Seasons Hotel Shanghai Pudong and the Four Seasons Hotel Guangzhou.

It will also open its Russia hotel Four Seasons St. Petersburg, a property in Azerbaijan the Four Seasons Baku, and is set to open Four Seasons Toronto in a new location in the city this summer, following the closure of its existing property there last month.

Speaking to Hotelier Middle East, executive vice president of worldwide development Scott Woroch revealed that the group was in discussions over a seventh property to open this year, a conversion in Tanzania, East Africa.

“We have today about 60 hotels where we have signed deals in various stages of planning, design development or construction,” said Woroch.

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“Some of those have been put on hold because of the economic circumstances,” he added referring to the chain’s Luxor and El Ghouna hotels.

“We’re planning on opening seven new hotels this year; that’s three in China, one in Baku, one in St. Petersburg in Russia, we closed down our existing hotel in Toronto at the end of March and we’re reopening a new one there later in the summer time,” he continued.

“Then we’re looking at something in Africa in Tanzania, East Africa – a conversion,” Woroch revealed.