The world’s largest hotel group has reported a sharp rebound in 2010 following the previous year’s global economic downturn.

InterContinental Hotels Group today reported a 22% rise in operating profit to $444 million on revenue up by 6% to $1,628 million.

China was the group’s strongest market with revenue per available room (RevPAR) up 25.8% for the year, including 55.9% in Shanghai which was boosted by the World Expo which took place between May and October.

Chief executive Andrew Cosslett said: “2010 was an excellent year for IHG. After a slow start to the year, the industry staged the sharpest recovery in its history, exceeding all expectations.

“By focusing on our brands and using our scale, we delivered 6% growth in RevPAR.

“We signed more rooms into our pipeline than in 2009 and despite the planned exceptional number of removals to drive up quality, we grew the number of rooms in our system, led by a 12% increase in China.”

The company has juts completed a $1 billion relaunch of the Holiday Inn brand and is now working on refurbishing Crowne Plaza properties.

“Our priority is to increase market share and improve margins in an industry set for strong growth over the next few years,” added Cosslett, who announced plans for the sale of the InterContinental New York Barclay hotel.