AHIF prepares to showcase African hospitality growth

AHIF prepares to showcase African hospitality growth

A recent study conducted by Lagos-based consultancy W Hospitality Group has revealed that hotel development in Sub-Saharan Africa by international hoteliers has leapt forward, with a massive 42 per cent increase in pipeline rooms.

W Hospitality estimates that the hotel chains polled in its recent survey currently have almost 99,000 rooms operating in Africa, with around 44,300 in North Africa and 54,600 in sub-Saharan Africa.

However, when one considers that there are only five countries in North Africa (Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Tunisia and Egypt), with an average of 8,900 rooms per country, the opportunity in the other 49 countries (average 1,100) on the continent is obvious.

Nigeria, Africa’s largest country by population, the power house of West Africa (and tipped to overtake South Africa this decade as the largest economy on the continent) has almost 7,000 rooms under contract, up 2,000 on last year’s figure, with thousands more in the ‘early’ category.

New openings recently have included Radisson Blu, Four Points by Sheraton, Ibis and Legacy in Lagos, and many groups have hotels under construction there, including Accor, Hilton, IHG and Protea, the last named increasing their presence in the country from ten hotels to 16 hotels in the next three years.

Other groups hoping to enter the vast Nigerian market for the fist time, and who have signed deals, include Kempinski, Mantis, Marriott and Wyndham.

However, signed deals are one thing, actual activity is another; and this alters the picture somewhat.

Rwanda and Kenya both join the list; whilst Angola and South Africa drop off.

A Radisson Blu and a Marriott are under construction in Kigali, and Nairobi is seeing more activity than it has for many years, with Best Western, Radisson Blu, Park Inn and Three Cities-branded hotels all under construction, and a 200-room Lansmore Hotel, Lonrho’s new brand, on the drawing board.

Equatorial Guinea, one of Africa’s smallest countries, had four hotels under construction last year, three by Accor - a Sofitel (their second in the city) and an Ibis in Malabo on Bioko Island, and another Ibis in mainland Bata, and a Hilton close to Malabo airport.

All have opened, showing that signed deals do become reality, even in difficult places.

South Africa, in terms of signed deals, drops out of the rankings, partly due to the dominance of domestic chains (who are not included in this survey of international chains), and also because of the building boom that preceded the FIFA World Cup in 2010.

Jonathan Worsley, chairman of Bench Events, the company that organises several premium international hotel investment conferences, including the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) said: “A raft of economic studies show economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa to be very impressive, averaging around six per cent, which is twice the global average.

“The World Travel & Tourism Council predicts that Travel & Tourism GDP growth will be x% year on year for the next decade.

“Therefore, I expect we will see the level of interest in Africa from the international hotel investment community continuing to increase.”
Trevor Ward, Managing Director of W Hospitality Group, which carried out the hotel pipeline research, and who will be speaking at AHIF, concluded: “Admittedly, the spectacular 42 per cent growth is from a pretty small base but our consultants are busier than ever and that suggests to me that this trend is not likely to slow down in the immediate future.”

Matthew Weihs, managing director of Bench Events, talks to Breaking Travel News about the events surrounding Africa Hotel Investment Forum 2012 in Nairobi

AHIF is the premier hotel investment conference in Africa, attracting many prominent international hotel owners, investors, financiers, management companies and their advisers.

It will be held at the InterContinental Hotel, Nairobi on September 25th-26th, where the agenda will focus on how to capitalise long-term on the opportunities presented by Africa and strategies to overcome the challenges.

AHIF is organised by Bench Events, which is known for producing several top-level hotel conferences around the world.

It moves to a different African city every year showcasing high-growth destinations across the continent.

Last year the conference was held in Morocco, attracting more than 350 delegates from 34 countries.

Host Partner for 2012 is Kenya Tourist Development Corporation, while Platinum Sponsors include ACCOR, Hilton Worldwide and Marriott International.

Gold Sponsors feature AECOM Design + Planning, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Horwath HTL, Hotel Spec, IHG, Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels, Lonrho Hotels, SMIT, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, W Hospitality Group, WATG and Wyndham Hotel Group.

To register, go to the official website and grab a 35 per cent early bird discount until July 23rd.