Global hotel chain, Marriott International’s commitment to expansion across Africa recently gathered momentum as its real estate partners raised $1.5 billion capital investment for strategic brand expansion on the continent. The capital investment would be used in building nine hotels offering 1,300 additional rooms that are expected to open by 2015, and also 30 new hotels due to open in 2020 with 5,500 rooms across major country capitals and cities on the continent. The expansion move by Marriott International, Africa’s largest hotel company, is following its recent strategic acquisition of Protea Hotel Group.
Speaking on the development, Alex Kyriakidis, president/managing director, Marriott International Middle East and Africa, said a raft of further openings would follow across the continent in 2015 with openings in Nigeria, South Africa, and Uganda, as well as Marriott International’s first properties in Ethiopia, Ghana and Rwanda.
Furthermore, a new Residence Inn by Marriott Kampala Kololo has just been signed, bringing the total property count under the Protea Hotels and Residence Inn brands in Uganda alone to three. “Over the next few years we plan to expand our presence even further from 10 countries to 17 with a capital investment by Marriott’s real estate partners of $1.5 billion across the continent. With it, we will create jobs and support local communities because our success is only ever possible through strong bonds of friendship, trust and cooperation in the markets we inhabit,” Kyriakidis said.
According to him, the potential of the African market is awe-inspiring and only really matched by the extraordinary people and places the hotel brand encounters every day as its brands put down roots across the continent. Meanwhile, West Africa is leading the hotel development pipeline in sub-Saharan Africa with about 87 hotels planned. Nigeria leads the West African region with 40 out of the 87 planned hotels, Tanzania leads East Africa with 33 hotels planned, while South Africa leads the Southern Africa region with a total of nine hotels in the pipeline. Speaking on sub-Saharan Africa’s Economic Outlook at the Hotel Investment Conference Africa (HICA) held recently in Johannesburg, atSouth Africa, Chris Hart, South Africa’s leading economist and chief economist for Investment Solutions, explained that a total of 51 percent of these hotels were in pre-planning, while 49 percent were in construction.
The Economic Outlook also revealed that African cities such as Accra, Abuja, Addis Ababa, Cape Town and Windhoek have been performing well in terms of hotel occupancy and increasing average daily rates (AVR). Ikechi Uko, CEO, Akwaaba Africa Travel Market, speaking on Nigeria’s leadership in the hotel development pipeline in West Africa, noted that the development further confirmed Nigeria as hospitality investors’ haven and pointed to the jobs, opportunities and impact the sector would have on the country’s economy in the nearest future if supported.