Africa's hotel scene just got another vote of confidence: Sweden's Rezidor Group AB has announced its plans to increase the number of hotels it operates in sub-Saharan Africa by 60 percent by 2020. The hotel company plans to operate 120 hotels to take advantage of the spike in business travel to the region, Reuters reported.
Travelers to Africa have been seeking out branded hotels, such as Radisson Blu hotels. These brands make up about a third of the available room capacity in the region. The rest are independently-operated hotels. Other global brands, such as Marriott and Kempinski, have opened properties in markets, such as Kenya, in recent years to meet these demands.
The number of employees at Rezidor's regional support office in South Africa has increased from just three a decade ago to several dozen. The company has also been opening a new hotel in Africa every 60 days for the last two years. "We really felt that there was an imbalance between supply and demand in a lot of African countries and a lot of African cities," Andrew McLachlan, Rezidor's SVP for Africa, said in a statement.
Rezidor opened the mid-scale 140-room Park Inn by Radisson Nairobi Westlands, its second hotel in the Nairobi suburb, last month. The company opened its first hotel, the five-star Radisson Blu Hotel, Nairobi Upper Hill, last year. The company will also open a third hotel, another Radisson Blu, next year near the Nairobi Arboretum.
McLachlan added that Rezidor wants to have five hotels in both Tanzania and Ethiopia in the expansion phase of development. "We have 16,500 rooms in Africa today. By the end of 2020 we would like to get to 23,000 rooms in Africa," he said.
According to McLachlan, Rezidor's strategy in Africa was about 80-percent focused on business travel. This will help to cope with the occasional challenge to the leisure market, including the outbreak of diseases, such as Ebola, or militant attacks.