The number of three- to five-star hotels in Ho Chi Minh City has nearly doubled in the last three years to 73 with a total of 9,700 rooms, the city Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism has said.

The three-star category saw the strongest growth, increasing in the period to 47 hotel from 21, according to the department.

As of last month, there were 13 four-star and five-star hotels, an increase from eight and 11.

Hundreds more luxury hotel rooms are expected to open this year to meet increasing demand from foreign visitors.

The 335-room, five-star Nikko Sai Gon Hotel in District 1 is scheduled to be completed in October.

The four-star Grand Hotel will complete its upgrade into a 500-room, five-star hotel this year.

With a 15 percent increase in foreign visitors a year, the demand for high-end hotel rooms was huge, Tran Hung Viet, general director of the State-owned Saigontourist Holding Company, said.

Earlier this month his company broke ground for work to expand Majestic Hotel into a new complex with 538 rooms by 2014, including 353 newly built rooms.

It will open two other hotels in the downtown area, the four-star Novotel Sai Gon Centre with 250 rooms in 2012 and the five-star Pullman Sai Gon Centre with 300 rooms a year later.

Saigontourist targets adding 2,000 luxury rooms by 2015.

The city tourism industry forecasts that the existing and new hotels could serve around 4 million foreign visitors to the city next year./.