VENTURES AFRICA – World leading hotelier and owner of Sheraton and Le Méridien Hotels -Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., has announced plans to strengthen its position in Africa by adding 10 new hotels in the next three years.
The company already has an existing portfolio of 38 hotels, representing more than 10,000 rooms under its Sheraton and Le Méridien® brands but it is aiming to increase its African portfolio by nearly 30 percent while adding more than 4,200 guest rooms to the continent and creating thousands of local employment opportunities.
“From a vastly improving infrastructure, major investments from China, rapid economic growth, rising personal incomes and a growing middle class – we are seeing exciting changes that are driving the African future and we intend to be a part of it,” Starwood said.
With the assertion that the region is one of the world’s fastest-growing hotel and travel markets; Starwood President cum CEO Frits van Paasschen and members of Starwood’s senior executive team are visiting Africa this week by travelling to key growth markets including Nigeria, Angola and Gabon.
“Home to seven of the world’s 10 fastest growing economies, there could not be a better time to expand our footprint in Africa. From a vastly improving infrastructure, major investments from China, rapid economic growth, rising personal incomes and a growing middle class – we are seeing exciting changes that are driving the African future and we intend to be a part of it,” van Paasschen said.
At a press conference in Lagos yesterday, van Paasschen revealed that Starwood will open three additional hotels in Nigeria, one property in Benin City and two in Lagos.
Nigeria represents the company’s largest growth market on the African continent. Starwood presently operates five hotels in Nigeria -one in Abuja, Ibom, Port Harcourt and two hotels in Lagos, under its Sheraton, Le Méridien and Four Points by Sheraton brands.
“Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and boasts the second-largest economy on the continent, presenting tremendous opportunities for the country to play a key role in our African expansion. With investor-friendly policies in place and on-going economic growth, Nigeria epitomizes the economic ascent of Africa as a development destination,” said Simon Turner, President of Global Development & Acquisition, Starwood Hotels & Resorts.
Other countries it plans to expand to include Algeria, Egypt and South Africa where it is already established. It will also look into entering key emerging countries like Angola, the Ivory Coast and Ghana.
Starwood currently operates 38 hotels in 15 African countries, including: Algeria, Cameroon, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Libya, Mauritius, Morocco, Nigeria, Seychelles, South Africa, Tunisia and Uganda. By 2015, Starwood plans to have nearly 50 hotels in Africa with new hotels confirmed to open in Nigeria, Egypt, Algeria, Libya, Senegal and Mauritius.
Key highlights of its expansion includes a debut of Starwood’s ultra-luxury St. Regis Hotels & Resorts brand in the Africa/Indian Ocean region which opened earlier this month. This will be followed by the debut of the St. Regis brand in Cairo, Egypt scheduled to open in 2014.
Also, a new hotel under The Luxury Collection brand will be open in Lagos – marking the introduction of the brand into Nigeria while three new Four Points by Sheraton will be added – two in Nigeria and one hotel in Oran, Algeria.
Three new Sheraton hotels will also be open in Dakar (Senegal), Annaba (Algeria) and Tripoli (Libya) while a new Le Méridien hotel will be established in Cairo.
In addition to the new hotels in the pipeline, Starwood will re-open three of its African hotels in the next 12 months: The Grand Mauritian, which will re-open next year after a major renovation; the Sheraton Cairo following a major renovation as part of Sheraton’s global brand enhancement strategy; and the Four Points by Sheraton Tripoli, which closed last year due to political conflict in Libya.