By Bench Events
Published October 7, 2015
The hotel and tourism industry in Africa is beginning a period of sustained growth.
According to the sectorâ€™s leading experts gathered at the Africa Hotel Investment Forum in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa (September 30-October 1, 2015), inward international flights were recovering after being hit by the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. And the hotel sector reported significant expansion, as well as increased visitor numbers, boosted by demand from African business.
Now in its fifth year, AHIF brought together leading international hotel investors, local operators, ministers, government officials and industry experts from around 40 countries.
The immediate good news came from ForwardKeys, which monitors future travel patterns by analysing 14 million reservation transactions each day. Its analysis showed there was an increase of 6.4% in international arrivals in September in Sub-Saharan Africa. The upturn marked a turning point after the ebola outbreak, which had wiped out four years of strong growth.
Flight bookings for the next six months suggest a sustained recovery. The data shows arrivals on-the-book (bookings for travel in future) from October 2015 to March 2016 are now running 4% ahead, compared with the same period the previous year.
The growing opportunities for investment in hotels on the continent were revealed in the African Hotel Report 2015. Hotel Partners Africa identified the top ten opportunities. Nigeria heads the list with the strongest economy, but with only 34 branded hotel bedrooms per million population. This compares with 6,754 branded hotel bedrooms per million population in North America and 2,432 bedrooms per million in Europe. Ghana with 59 bedrooms and Cote dâ€™Ivoire with 61 bedrooms also present great opportunities with very strong unmet demand.
AHIF also heard announcements of several new hotel development projects in Africa:
Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide plans to grow its portfolio by more than 50% in the next five years.
Movenpick will open three hotels in Kenya, Nigeria and Cote dâ€™Ivoire over the next four years.
Carlson Rezidor will welcome guests to the first Radisson Blue Residence in Nairobi in late 2016.
Hilton Worldwide has announced the Awassa Resort and Spa which is expected to open in 2020 in Addis Ababa.
Marriott has already opened Africaâ€™s first Marriott Executive Apartments in Addis Ababa.
The 2015 African Hotel Valuation Index, released at the conference by HVS, revealed that the African hotel sector was becoming less reliant on foreign visitors with increased demand from local businesses.