Major hotel chains race to expand in Africa

Hyatt Place Taghazout Bay, Morocco

By Conrad Onyango, bird story agency

Luxury hotels are expanding in Africa, with Marriott, Radisson Blu and Hyatt leading the way with new developments and acquisitions.

As international travellers troop back to Africa, some of the world’s major hotel chains are re-igniting a multi-billion dollar expansion race that began pre-pandemic.

Marriott, Radisson Blu and Hyatt are heading the race for a bigger slice of Africa’s hospitality pie as they ramp up their presence, mainly through acquisitions and property management deals and push their select-service brands across the continent.

American multinational hospitality company Hyatt Hotels Corporation recently announced it would re-establish its presence in South Africa with the Park Hyatt Johannesburg in late 2023 and expand in Morocco with the Park Hyatt Marrakech.

American hotel brand, Marriott International is eyeing over 30 hotel openings with over 5,000 rooms in Africa by the close of 2024, attributing the growth of the travel and tourism sector across the continent behind its aggressive expansion in the region.

“We continue to see opportunities to expand in major gateway cities, commercial centres, and resort destinations across Africa, while catering to the region’s ever-changing and evolving markets through our diverse range of extraordinary brands,” said Karim Cheltout, the regional vice president of lodging development for Africa.

Protea Hotels by Marriott, currently with over 60 hotels across nine countries, will add 10 more, including the brand’s first properties in Kenya, Malawi, and Angola. In South Africa, the brand is expected to open five new hotels.

Marriott’s Four Points by Sheraton brand will make a foray into Uganda, Senegal, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Cape Verde. The brand also expects to open its second property in Nigeria, the Four Points by Sheraton Ikot Ekpene.

The anticipated launch of Delta Hotels by Marriott Dar es Salaam Oyster Bay in Tanzania in 2023 will mark its foray into Africa’s luxury and premium brands market.

Marriott also plans the introduction of the Westin Hotels & Resorts brand in Ethiopia and The Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis brands in Morocco. In addition, it will introduce its first luxury safari property in Kenya.

“Marriott International’s current portfolio in Africa encompasses nearly 130 properties and more than 23,000 rooms across 20 countries,” the hotel said in a statement.

In December 2022, Radisson Hotel Group opened its first safari resort in Africa – Radisson Blu Mosi-oa-Tunya Livingstone Resort, Zambia – as part of its strategy to reach 150 hotels in the region by 2025.

“This hotel is our second property in Zambia, following the opening of Radisson Blu Hotel, Lusaka, with a third hotel, Park Inn by Radisson Lusaka, Longacres, due to open in 2023,” said Radisson Hotel Group chief commercial officer for the Middle East and Africa, Tim Cordon.

Dubai-based hotel brand LEVA is also eyeing five African countries – Ethiopia, Egypt, Morocco, Uganda and Nigeria – targeting the underserved and affordable luxury market.

According to the UNWTO tourism barometer, Africa has seen a more than doubling of international arrivals from 19.4 million in 2021 to 45 million in 2022. This has so far translated to a pre-pandemic recovery rate of about 65%.

/bird story agency