Starwood to strengthen presence in Africa

Starwood, which currently has a portfolio of 38 hotels in Africa, has unveiled plans to increase this number by nearly 30 per cent, with ten new hotels set to open over the next three years, adding more than 4,200 guest rooms to the continent and creating thousands of local employment opportunities.

“Home to seven of the world’s ten fastest growing economies, there could not be a better time to expand our footprint in Africa,” said Frits van Paasschen, chief executive, Starwood Hotels & Resorts.

“From a vastly improving infrastructure, major investments from China, rapid economic growth, rising personal incomes and a growing middle class - we are seeing exciting changes that are driving the African future and we intend to be a part of it.”

Starwood presently operates five hotels in Nigeria, in Abuja, Ibom, Port Harcourt and two hotels in Lagos, under its Sheraton, Le Méridien and Four Points by Sheraton brands.

By 2015, Starwood will open three additional hotels in Nigeria, one property in Benin City and two in Lagos.

“Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and boasts the second-largest economy on the continent, presenting tremendous opportunities for the country to play a key role in our African expansion.

“With investor-friendly policies in place and on-going economic growth, Nigeria epitomises the economic ascent of Africa as a development destination,” said Simon Turner, president of global development and acquisition, Starwood Hotels & Resorts.

Starwood is also focused on expansion in developing and established African countries such as Nigeria, Algeria, Egypt and South Africa, as well as key emerging countries including Angola, the Ivory Coast and Ghana.

As part of this strategy, Starwood is investing in development, sales and the expansion of its Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) program in Africa.

By the end of this year, Starwood will double its dedicated development team focused on growth in Africa.

By 2015, Starwood plans to have nearly 50 hotels in Africa with new hotels confirmed to open in Nigeria, Egypt, Algeria, Libya, Senegal and Mauritius.

In addition to the new hotels in the pipeline, Starwood will re-open three of its African hotels in the next 12 months.

The Grand Mauritian, which will re-open next year after a major renovation; the Sheraton Cairo following a major renovation as part of Sheraton’s global brand enhancement strategy; and the Four Points by Sheraton Tripoli, which closed last year due to political conflict in Libya.