Global hotel chains eye Africa’s hospitality industry

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Nairobi - The hospitality sector in Africa that has defied tremors linked to political uncertainties, terrorist attacks and disease outbreaks to record positive growth, has attracted interest from global hotel chains, executives said on Tuesday.

Speaking on the sidelines of the 2018 Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) in Nairobi, the executives from leading global hotel chains said that Africa’s rapidly evolving travel and hospitality sectors promise a higher return on their investments.

Olivier Granet, the CEO of AccorHotels, Middle East and Africa said the world’s second largest continent present a huge opportunity for international hotel brands thanks to its sustained economic growth, relative stability and rapidly expanding middle class with disposable income.

“We consider Africa an attractive investment destination as positive developments in the continent changes its image. AccorHotels is keen to expand the scale of our operations in Africa where we have invested heavily,” Granet remarked.

More than 300 delegates including executives from multinational hotel chains, investors and financial experts are attending the three-day forum taking place in Nairobi.

The forum aims to showcase investment opportunities in Africa’s hospitality industry while providing a platform for major hotel brands to announce new ventures in the continent.

Alain Sebah, the president of Golden Tulip representing Francophone and the East African region, said that global hotel chains have seized on macro-economic stability in Africa to expand their footprint in the continent through franchises.

“We have a growing investment portfolio in Africa having been persuaded by the vibrancy of the continent’s hospitality industry,” Sebah remarked.

He said international hotel brands are committed to be part of Africa’s socio-economic transformation through job creation and conservation of the continent’s iconic wildlife species that are a major source of tourist dollars.

Mossadeck Bally, the CEO of AZALAI Group of Hotels based in Mali said returns on investments in Africa’s hospitality sector have tripled as the continent prioritise regulatory and policy reforms as well as good governance.

“In some cases, the return on investments for hotel investors in many African countries is three times higher than in the stable markets in the North,” said Bally.

“But we must tackle challenges like poor infrastructure, limited electricity connection and a deficit of skilled workforce to attract more investments in modern hotels,” he added.

Bally said intra-Africa travel that has grown tremendously has stimulated investments in luxury hotels and lodges in popular destinations like Kenya, South Africa, Egypt and Tunisia.

Daniel Silke, a South African risk analyst said the resilience of Africa’s tourism industry in the face of external and domestic shocks has been an encouragement to investors. - Nampa/Xinhua

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