Growing demand drives African hotel development

Cape Town South Africa

Last year, Sub-Saharan Africa had 365 hotels in the chain development pipeline for a total of 64,231 rooms, according to a report by the W-Hospitality Group.

This is a record 29.2-percent increase from 2015's numbers at 270 hotels and 49,715 rooms in the pipeline. Even better, JLL is predicting an investment of $1.7 billion in the region's hotels this year, with another $1.9 billion in 2018.  

With solid economic growth and increased tourism, Africa's hotel industry is attracting both domestic and international investors. The domestic investors are key, as a growing middle class is making it easier than ever for people in African countries to travel. By 2030, Africa’s top 18 cities could well have a combined spending power of $1.3 trillion. The urban African demographic is clearly one worth keeping an eye on. 

That doesn't mean that the international traveler should be ignored, of course. According to UNWTO, Africa received 58 million international arrivals in 2016, with the number expected to grow further in coming years. The growth is not only influenced by the rush for investment, provision of affordable travel by travel agencies and flexible visa requirements but also the fact that major airlines have expanded their direct flights to most African countries. 

As such, the biggest challenge could be in finding a balance between quantity and quality, as travelers—both domestic and international—seek out unique experiences across the continent.