Africa's inbound visitor numbers drive hotel investment

Image: ©Creative RF / Ben1183.

Africa's hotel scene keeps getting stronger, and with inbound visitor numbers on the rise, the scramble for prime development opportunities across the continent could get hotter. The latest data from ForwardKeys, a company that monitors future travel patterns by analyzing flight reservations, suggests that those visitor numbers aren't slowing down any time soon.

For the East African Community–Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania–arrivals were up 16.4 percent from September 2016 to January this year. 

Forward bookings for the region from February to July for the region are currently 16.5 percent up from the same period last year. Overall, forward bookings for international arrivals throughout Africa, February to July, are 17.3 percent ahead of last year, with Egypt in the lead at 48.5 percent.

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"We have been making strategic investments in Africa in line with our accelerated growth strategy for our most important emerging market," Wolfgang Neumann, president & CEO of The Rezidor Hotel Group, said in a statement. "This exceptionally positive report is most affirming and if the air traffic growth is sustained, further investment in hotel development will surely flow." 

Eight out of the top ten Africa destinations saw good year-end performance, although some were rebounding from the Ebola crisis and Egypt and Tunisia were recovering from safety and security concerns. Morocco's strong performance could be credited to the visa waiver announced for Chinese tourists beginning in June 2016. 

Ethiopia and Nigeria, however, faced setbacks, with both seeing a fall in intra-Africa international visitors. Ethiopia also saw fewer tourists from Northern Europe and the Middle East compared to the same period last year.

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