Surge in hotel development in Africa - survey


Cape Town - The number of planned hotel rooms in Africa has soared to 64 000 in 365 hotels, up almost 30% on the previous year, according to W Hospitality Group's annual Hotel Chain Development Pipeline Survey.
The increase is largely due to strong growth in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), which is up 42.1% on 2015 and is significantly outstripping North Africa which achieved a 7.5% pipeline increase this year.

In the latest rankings Angola, never before listed among the top 10, pushed Egypt out of second place, due to a major deal there signed by AccorHotels. In July last year, AccorHotels signed with AAA Activos LDA for the management of 50 hotels with around 6 200 rooms. All are under construction and many are ready to open.

Nigeria remains the country with the most rooms in the pipeline, up 20% on 2015. Together with Angola, the two countries account for 17 782 rooms between them, almost 30% of the total pipeline and 40% of the signed rooms in SSA.  

In 2009 there were 19 international and regional hotel chains in Africa contributing, with a pipeline of 144 hotels and just under 30 000 rooms.

The W Hospitality Group survey is published ahead of the African Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF), which is organised by Bench Events. The conference attracts all the major international hotel investors in Africa and is being held for the first time in Lomé on June 21 and 22. A second AHIF will take place in Kigali, Rwanda on October 4 to 6.

Trevor Ward, W Hospitality group managing director, said the evidence from the survey is clear, namely that investors remain confident about the future of the hospitality industry on the continent.

"Even when pummelled daily by low commodity prices, exchange rate problems, political challenges and poor infrastructure, Africa remains resilient,” said Ward.

The IMF forecast for economic growth in SSA is for an increase of 4% this year and 4.7% in 2017, up from 3.5% in 2015. Overall this is down on the 5% to 6% increase enjoyed over the past decade, but it’s still double or more the forecast for the world’s advanced economies, such as Europe, the US and Japan.

The survey also showed that across Africa, the north-south divide on hotel development continues. In 2011, the number of pipeline rooms in the five countries of North Africa was about 25% higher than SSA. Today, it is less than half.

“There are two reasons why development activity in North Africa is now somewhat subdued, according to Ward. Firstly, the markets there are more mature and have already seen much development, so there are fewer opportunities for new hotels. Secondly, there is the political turmoil. Libya has seen a 40% drop in the pipeline and parts of Egypt are experiencing drastic reductions in the number of tourists.

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