International hotel brands look to expand in Ethiopia

This past week, several hotel companies met at the African Hotel Investment Forum in Addis Ababa to bring major chains to Ethiopia's capital city. According to AllAfrica.com, the Accor Group created a contract agreement with Enyi General Business PLC, which is currently constructing a 330-room Pullman Hotel.

The UK-based Wyndham Hotel Group signed with ADM business PLC, a newly-formed local business and a subsidiary of Get-As International, to open the Ramada Addis - a four-star hotel in Addis Ababa. The Ramada Addis will be sited on Bole road.

Most of the hotels signed for Ethiopia during the conference are expected to open between 2015 and 2017.

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Meanwhile, Best Western International is making headway in Ethiopia, signing two new deals. Great Abyssinia Business PLC has inked agreements with Best Western for the latter to operate Best Western Plus Abyssinia Hotel and Best Western Noah Hotel, which are expected to be opened in 2015 and 2016 respectively. The 168-room Best Western Plus Abyssinia will serve the upper midscale brand.

In recent years, the Horn of Africa has seen increased stability, and African companies are already looking to build there. A Kenyan-owned hotel management company, Icon Hotel Group Africa, is planning to set up a property in Ethiopia, and in an interview with Kenya’s Standard Media several months ago, Icon Hotel Group founder Fred Maina said that Somalia would be the company’s next spot for development. 

A recent report by Bench Events, a London-based event organizer, said that Ethiopia is “well among the ten top African nations experiencing an unprecedented rise in development of hotel chains in the region,” with six international standard hotels in the pipeline for an addition of 990 rooms to the infrastructure. Carlson Rezidor, Hilton and Sheraton are already represented there, and the country currently has six international-standard hotels in the pipeline. Upon completion, these hotels could add 990 rooms to the country's stock.