Hotel company Marriott International today announced rapid expansion plans across Africa.
The plans are buoyed by five new hotel franchise signings in Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, South Africa and, for the first time, Mozambique.
It plans to increase its African portfolio by 50% by 2023, bringing the total to 200 hotels and 38,000 rooms.
Economic growth and political stability are leading to growing demand for rooms, while a new interest in converting buildings to hotels is opening opportunities, the company’s managing director for the region told an investment forum in Nairobi, Kenya, today.
"African economies have sustained unprecedented rates of growth, which have mainly been driven by a strong domestic demand, improved macroeconomic management and increased political stability," said Alex Kyriakidis.
"The continent is still under capacity as far as branded hotel supply is concerned, presenting us with a fantastic opportunity to grow our brands and enhance our footprint," he added.
Marriott’s reach in Africa was boosted by its 2014 acquisition of Protea Hospitality, of South Africa, the continent’s largest hotel chain, and by its 2016 acquisition of the hospitality behemoth, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide.
Marriott brands are currently present in 21 countries in Africa, and the company wants to expand into new markets including Benin, Botswana, Ivory Coast, Mauritania, Mozambique and Senegal.
Kyriakidis said property owners are now looking to convert their buildings to hotels. "We’ve developed a conversion-friendly strategy, which allows us to deliver value to our partners through a flexible, cost-efficient process that yields almost immediate results," he said.
Recent conversions to the Marriott brands include Sheratons in Nairobi and Arusha, Tanzania, and Mena House, Cairo.
New conversion deals include the Marriott Marrakech Hotel in Morocco.
Later this year, Marriott will debut the AC by Marriott brand into Africa with the opening of the 188-room AC by Marriott Cape Town, Waterfront (pictured)
The company has also signed its second AC by Marriott hotel in Africa, AC by Marriott Umhlanga Ridge, Kwazulu Natal, Durban.
Image: The AC Hotel by Marriott Cape Town, Waterfront, will open later this year (Marriott International)