Business and high-end
hotels are sprouting up across Africa, from Nigeria to Kenya, Libya to Gabon, buoyed
by business travellers flocking to the continent’s rich stores of natural
resources, including minerals, oil and gas.
The face of African hospitality also looks
set to change due to the continent’s growing middle class. According to the African Development Bank, the middle class is
expected to increase from 300 million people in 2012 to one billion in 2050. This
will mean more people travelling within the continent for both business and
leisure – and they will need more places to stay.
“Africa is a region with a vast and
diversified tourism potential,” explained Sandra Carvao, spokesperson for the United Nations World Tourism Organisation. She
added that international arrivals to Africa are expected to more than double
for both business and leisure travel, from 50 million in 2011 to 134 million in
2030. During the first six months of 2012, international tourism to Africa
increased by 7%, compared to a 5% growth overall in the world.
Factors such as political stability, increased
access by air to Asia, Europe and the Middle East and a fertile investment
climate have also influenced this rapid growth.
If you compare Africa -- and particularly
Sub Saharan Africa -- with the rest of the world, there is still a dramatic
shortage of international branded hotels -- but this is set to change in the
years ahead. According to a
survey by W Hospitality Group, a hotel consultancy company, international
hotel chains are planning 208 new hotels across the region, accounting for more
than 38,000 rooms, with Egypt, Nigeria, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria seeing the
Currently room prices are relatively high in
African capital cities due to the low number of international standard hotels
available -- the mainstay of many business travellers. It is difficult to find
a four-to five star hotel room in Luanda, Angola’s capital for under $300, while
a twin room in the InterContinental
in Lusaka, Zambia will set you back around $250.
“The boom will brings more four and five
star hotels to Africa, hence prices will become more competitive and this will
make some expensive cities more affordable,” said Markus Lueck, general manager
for the Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast City
in Accra, Ghana, set to open in early 2013. “Due to the increasing number of
international hotel operators entering the continent, the quality of products
and services is improving. This, combined with other factors such as
accessibility, stability and security, is making business travel in Africa easier.”
The boom in business hotels will be good
for locals too. Already eight million people are directly employed in the
travel and tourism business according to the World
Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), mainly centred in southern and northern Africa,
with pockets in the east and west focused on beach and safari holidays. The
industry generated nearly 9% of Africa’s Gross Domestic Product in 2011, exceeding
that of the chemicals, automobiles and communications sectors, accounting for
$164 billion. The WTTC predicts that this will increase as more air routes, hotels
and businesses open up.