Africa’s hotel room numbers surge


13 April 2016

The number of planned hotel rooms in Africa has soared to 64 000 in 365 hotels, up almost 30% on the previous year, according to figures from the annual W Hospitality Group Hotel Chain Development Pipeline Survey, published on 11 April.

The increase was largely the result of strong growth in sub-Saharan Africa, which was up 42.1% on 2015 and was significantly outstripping North Africa, which achieved only a modest 7.5% pipeline increase this year, the survey found.

In a major shake-up in the rankings by country, Angola, never before listed in the top 10, pushed Egypt out of second place, as a result of a major deal there signed by AccorHotels.

The W Hospitality Group survey is published ahead of the African Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF). The conference attracts all the major international hotel investors in Africa and is being held for the first time in Lome, in Togo on 21 and 22 June. A second AHIF will take place in Kigali, in Rwanda from 4 to 6 October.

“The evidence from our survey is clear – investors remain confident about the future of the hospitality industry on the continent,” said Trevor Ward, W Hospitality Group managing director. “Even when pummelled daily by low commodity prices, exchange rate problems, political challenges and poor infrastructure, Africa remains resilient.”

The International Monetary Fund forecast for economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa is for an increase of 4% this year and 4.7% in 2017, up from 3.5% in 2015, according to a press release from conference organisers Bench Events. “Overall this is down on the 5% to 6% increase enjoyed over the past decade, but it’s still double or more the forecast for the world’s advanced economies, such as Europe, the USA and Japan.”

“Africa is still on the up. For business, trade and capital investment, the continent remains an attractive proposition, leading to continuing demand for accommodation and other hospitality services,” said Matthew Weihs, managing director of Bench Events.

Detailed analysis

This is the eighth annual pipeline survey, which looks at hotel industry growth in Africa, particularly international chains signing new deals. The 2016 survey provides a full picture of hotel development across the continent – 36 hotel chains and 86 brands with more than 64 000 rooms in 365 hotels.

The inaugural survey was completed in 2009. In that year, there were 19 international and regional hotel chains contributing, with a pipeline of 144 hotels and just under 30 000 rooms.

Angola dominated the 2016 report. In July 2015, AccorHotels signed with AAA Activos LDA for the management of 50 hotels with about 6 200 rooms. All were under construction and many were ready to open, according to the survey.

Across the continent, the north-south divide on hotel development continued. In 2011, the number of pipeline rooms in the five countries of North Africa was about 25% higher than that in sub-Saharan Africa. Today, it was less than half.

“There are two reasons why development activity in North Africa is now somewhat subdued,” Ward explained. “Firstly, the markets there are more mature and have already seen much development, so there are fewer opportunities for new hotels. Secondly, there is the political turmoil – in Libya, which has seen a 40% drop in the pipeline, and also Egypt, parts of which are experiencing drastic reductions in the number of tourists.”

Nigeria remained the country with the most rooms in the pipeline, up 20% on 2015. Together with Angola, the two countries accounted for 17 782 rooms, almost 30% of the total pipeline and 40% of the signed rooms in sub-Saharan Africa. South Africa came in ninth, with 2 058 rooms and 11 hotels in the pipeline.

Source: Africa-