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UPDATE 2-Marriott profit beats estimates as travel recovery gains pace

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(Compares with estimates, adds details about the quarter, shares)

Aug 3 (Reuters) - Hotel operator Marriott International Inc on Tuesday beat Wall Street estimates for quarterly profit as a recovery in travel began to aid a battered global tourist industry.

Marriott's results come at a time when a new wave of COVID-19 cases fueled by the Delta variant of the coronavirus is striking countries worldwide, potentially upending travel plans.

The company, which owns hotel brands such as the JW Marriott and the Ritz-Carlton, said second-quarter occupancy in its key U.S. & Canada and Greater China markets rose to 56.1% and 62.4%, respectively, compared to 19.6% and 35.5% a year earlier.

While occupancy has recovered from last year's lows, it remains well below the rates seen before the pandemic.

The company's comparable RevPAR – a key performance measure for the hotel industry – fell 43.8% during the reported quarter, compared to the second-quarter of 2019.

"While we are keeping a close eye on the Delta and other variant strains, we are optimistic that the upward trajectory of the global recovery will continue," Chief Executive Officer Anthony Capuano said.

Excluding items, Marriott earned 79 cents per share, beating analysts' average estimate of 45 cents per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Revenue rose 115.1% to $3.15 billion, but fell short of Wall Street's expectation of $3.21 billion.

Shares of Marriott were up about 0.8% in premarket trading. (Reporting by Ashwini Raj; Additional reporting by Ankit Ajmera; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)