By Abdi Ali
Published October 7, 2016
A hotel company that first entered Africa 16 years ago is focusing on having more than 23000 rooms open or under-development across Africa in four years from today.
Speaking during the the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) in Kigali, Rwanda (October 4-6, 2016),Wolfgang M Neumann, President and CEO of the group known as Carlison Rezidor, said the group is on track to achieving its target by the end of 2020.
Saying “Africa has always been close to our hearts”, Neumann said Carlison Rezidor launched its “accelerated African growth strategy in 2014 with ambitions to double its portfolio in Africa by the end of 2020.”
Since 2000 when Rezidor first entered Africa when it opened its first Radisson Blu in Cape Town, Carlson Rezidor’s footprint on the continent has grown to include 69 hotels open and under-development in 28 countries, incorporating more than 15000 rooms.
Neumann says Carlson Rezidor has “a new hotel in Africa every 60 days over the past two years. This year, we have already opened six Radisson Blu hotels and expect to open a Park Inn by Radisson in South Africa in the next six months.”
The six hotels opened in 2016 include Radisson Blu hotels in Nairobi, Kenya; Marrakech, Morocco; Maputo, Mozambique (first residence in Africa); Abidjan, Ivory Coast (first airport hotel), Lomé, Togo; and the Radisson Blu Hotel & Convention Centre in Kigali, Rwanda, East Africa’s largest convention centre that hosted AHIF in 2016.
Andrew McLachlan, Carlson Rezidor’s Senior Vice President in charge of Business Development in Africa & Indian Ocean region, says Radisson Blu leads the way with more hotel rooms under development than any of the other 85-plus hotel brands active in Africa today, according to the W-Hospitality Report.
“Our ambition is to be the leading player in the travel and tourism sector across the continent,” says Andrew McLachlan.
Developments on the cards for Carlson Rezidor in Africa include the signing of the first Radisson RED, which is expected to open in Cape Town in the course of 2017, as well as the signing of the first Quorvus Collection to be built in Lagos, Nigeria, expected to open in 2019.
Carlson Rezidor aims to open 15 or more hotels in South Africa and Nigeria alone by the end of 2020, incorporating its full brand portfolio, ranging from the Quorvus Collection, Radisson Blu, Radisson RED, and Park Inn by Radisson.
McLachlan says Africa presents an opportunity for Carlson Rezidor to grow its resort portfolio under Radisson Blu and Quorvus Collection in locations such as Mauritius, Seychelles, Zanzibar, East African Coast of Kenya and Tanzania and the Cape Verde Islands.
“Water and electricity are the two most expensive running costs in African hotels today and we are constantly looking at ways to design and operate our hotels with a view to saving costs and improving results, as part of our responsible business strategy,” says McLachlan.
He says 77% of Carlson Rezidor’s hotels worldwide have been eco-labelled and that the hotel group has recorded a 22% energy saving since 2011 and a 29% water saving since 2007 across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
“The hotel group,” McLachlan says, “is particularly focused on conserving the planet’s scarce water resources and its Blu Planet initiative is aimed at providing safe drinking water for children in disadvantaged areas in partnership with international water aid charity, Just a Drop.”
Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group also partners with IFC, a member of the World Bank Group that focuses on private sector development, to promote the design and construction of green buildings in emerging markets. Through the partnership, Carlson Rezidor will use the EDGE eco-analysis software for all of its future hotel projects in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
As construction and operation of buildings is said to generate 40% of the world’s carbon emissions, designing green hotels supports the industry’s responsibility to meet COP21 targets.