Brands rapidly expand African presence

Meliá Serengeti Lodge has recently opened its eco-friendly doors in the Serengeti National Park, the oldest National Park in Tanzania

Africa's diverse frontier markets offer opportunities in a range of industries, at different consumer income levels, driven by population growth, according to a report ‘Shifting Market Frontiers Megatrend: Africa Rising’ by Euromonitor. GDP and consumer expenditure are also expected to grow, opening up lots of opportunities.

Banking on these opportunities hospitality companies are racing each other to make their mark in the continent. Marriott International tops this year’s table for the most planned new hotel rooms under construction in Africa, according to the influential annual hotel pipeline survey by W Hospitality Group.

Details of the report will be one of the key discussions at the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF), which the Kenyan government recently announced will return to Nairobi, in October this year.



Marriott International currently has a development pipeline of 93 new hotels comprising 17,708 rooms in Africa. Almost 50 per cent of those rooms – 8,587 – are already under construction.

The Hilton chain is ranked second, with 6,352 rooms under construction, and the Radisson Hotel Group is third with 4,840 rooms currently being built.

Most of fourth-placed AccorHotel’s deals are fairly new, signed in 2016 and 2017, and therefore it is not surprising that only 36 per cent of rooms in its pipeline are under construction. Best Western has just over 91 per cent of its pipeline rooms onsite. Louvre and Meliã, both have all their pipeline rooms under construction, which prompts the question: where are they looking to go next?

The W Hospitality Group ranking for individual hotel brands has Radisson Blu with the largest number of rooms under construction – beating the Hilton brand by over 300 rooms. Hilton has two other brands in the Top 10, Hilton Garden Inn and DoubleTree by Hilton – boosted by the chain’s $50 million Hilton Africa Growth Initiative.

This year’s pipeline report, now in its 10th edition, has 41 contributors, reporting 418 deals with over 100 brands. Year-on-year performance for Africa in 2018 shows growth, but more muted than in recent years – 25 per cent growth in the number of pipeline rooms in 2015; 19 per cent in 2016, and 13 per cent in 2017, much the same as the 13.5 per cent growth in 2018.

The overall pipeline for hotel chains in Africa looks healthy for the future. Notably, Mangalis, a new hotel brand launched in 2011, has already managed to build a significant pipeline, with 1,746 rooms in 14 hotels, growing the existing portfolio of 425 rooms in 3 hotels by more than four times. Currently five of the 14 hotels in the pipeline are under construction.



Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts has unveiled a new contemporary hotel on the banks of majestic Lake Tunis, creating a business and leisure destination with a difference in a prime area of the Tunisian capital. This news comes hot on the heels of the opening of Mövenpick Hotel & Residences Nairobi, an upscale business addition to the city’s hospitality scene. 

Mövenpick Hotel du Lac Tunis, featuring 189 contemporary rooms and suites and a raft of exceptional dining, spa and meetings facilities, is conveniently located in the city’s thriving Berges du Lac business and diplomatic district. Mövenpick Hotel du Lac Tunis is Mövenpick’s third property in Tunisia and its 23rd in Africa. It was swiftly followed by the opening of the brand’s debut in Kenya.

The 276-key Mövenpick Hotel & Residences Nairobi is located in the thriving commercial, retail and entertainment hub, Westlands. The hotel and conference facility, which blends authentic African design and décor to create a sense of place with Mövenpick’s signature personalised service and culinary heritage, also paves the way for the company’s ambitious Sub Saharan expansion plans.

Marc Descrozaille, president – Middle East & Africa, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, said, “This is an exciting and timely moment to enter Kenya’s hospitality market, with the tourism sector becoming increasingly important to the country’s economy, generating 10 per cent of GDP – the same as banking – and predicted to grow by 6 per cent annually over the next decade.”

“Our debut in Nairobi also acts as a springboard to grow our footprint across East Africa as we pursue development opportunities in the region.”



Last month at ATM, Swiss-Belhotel International announced its debut in East Africa with a management agreement with Zanzibar Crown Hotel and Resort Limited. Swiss-Belresort Zanzibar, expected to open for business in 2019, is being developed at an investment of $25 million. 

Nadhim Said Hamdan Al Rawahi, the owner of Zanzibar Crown Hotel and Resort Limited, said, “Zanzibar is the jewel of the Indian Ocean where Africa meets Arabia and we are delighted to expand our attractive local hospitality portfolio with Swiss-Belhotel International. With its fascinating beachfront location Swiss-Belresort Zanzibar is perfectly situated to offer its guests a relaxing and enjoyable experience in this tropical paradise bursting with nature, culture, adventure and history. Embodying high-quality standards with world-class facilities, the hotel is being developed to provide travellers a unique opportunity to intimately connect to their surroundings, beaches, nature and the welcoming Swahili ‘Karibu’ atmosphere.”

Gavin M. Faull, chairman and president of Swiss-Belhotel International, said, “We are thrilled to debut in Zanzibar and very pleased to collaborate with Crown Hotel and Resort Limited in this exciting venture. The Swiss-Belresort Zanzibar will be among the few internationally branded resorts operating in the island to accommodate upper/midscale travellers which gives us access to one of the fastest growing market segments that we are eager to capitalize on. Our aim with this project is to provide guests all the fun, comfort and enjoyment without the hefty price tag.”

Laurent A. Voivenel, senior vice-president, operations and development for the Middle East, Africa and India for Swiss-Belhotel International, said, “We are very excited to expand our footprint in Africa with a historic and vibrant destination like Zanzibar. It is an extremely significant development for us being our first in East Africa, which is the continent’s most lucrative market for hotels. Zanzibar is a leading holiday destination. The number of tourists visiting the island has been consistently growing at 8 to 10 per cent a year for the past decade resulting in exceptional performance by hotels which places us in a very buoyant market. With its stunning coastal location, Swiss-Belresort Zanzibar is being tailored to provide its guests, outstanding comfort and value with an enriching experience.”