Just as the Middle East was for several years the region where the likes of Marriott, Hilton, Starwood and InterContinental Hotels Group fought for market share, so sub-Saharan Africa is now the setting for the latest rollout of their global brands.
Africa is the next big thing but it is absolutely clear it won’t be easy and won’t be done in the short term. For decades, Africa has attracted foreign tourists to game reserves, fuelling the construction of safari resorts. But tourists are not the travellers exciting the big international hotel groups. The big audience is domestic and regional business travellers.
The emergence of business travellers hopping between Lagos, Nairobi, Johannesburg, Luanda and other African commercial capitals is a clear reflection of the continent’s recent period of strong economic growth and relative political.
The International Monetary Fund forecasts that the economy of sub-Saharan Africa will grow 6 per cent in 2019 – second only to the 6.5 per cent growth rate in the developing Asia region, which includes China and India, and well above the global rate of 3.6 per cent.
The hospitality market has great potential because [until now] is under served. Hotel industry executives are flying around the continent to explore how to meet this growing demand. The merger and acquisitions route looks difficult.
With little else in terms of takeover targets to satisfy the global hotel group’s predatory instincts, further growth in the region will be organic. All of the global players now have dealmakers based in sub Saharan Africa, and the payback is evident from the growing number of signed branding and management deals.
Oil-rich Angola is the location that every executive talks about as having the ideal combination of a booming economy and natural resources to attract business travellers. But the country remains a difficult place to do business and developments had been very slow.
Angola has spotted the opportunity and plans to use its sovereign wealth fund to invest in the hospitality sector, both locally and regionally. African executives are also trying to profit alongside international chains.
Tourists mainly visit because of Angola’s natural beauty including its rivers, waterfalls, beautiful coastline, parks and wildlife (such as lions, giraffe, hippos and elephants) but business trips are still the main reason to visit the country. Here is a list of Luanda hotels to stay during visits.
Angola’s government have designed a plan called Partenon to boost the country’s touristic demand by 2020 (aiming to obtain about 4.5 million tourists).
The targets are first to increase domestic tourism and then expand into countries having economic and cultural links such as South Africa, Portugal and Brazil and finally target the globe reaching the whole international market.
One of the impediments to tourism at present is the bureaucratic Visa process which the government intend to make tourist friendly.
Angola is lacking in high quality hotels. The market consists mostly of 3 and 4-star hotels and guest-houses (highly priced and lacking in quality), and there is just one 5 star hotel.
There are no 4 to 5 star international hotel brands of repute operating in Angola, but it is known that many are seeking an opportunity to enter the market as it is considered highly profitable.