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 new figures from the annual W Hospitality Group Hotel Chain Development Pipeline Survey.
The increase is largely down to strong growth in sub-Saharan Africa, which is up 42.1% on 2015 and is significantly outstripping North Africa which achieved only a modest 7.5% pipeline increase this year.
A major shake-up in the rankings by country saw Angola, never before listed among the top 10, push Egypt out of second place, due to a major deal there signed by AccorHotels.
The W Hospitality Group survey is published ahead of the African Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) which is organised by Bench Events. The conference attracts all the major international hotel investors in Africa and is being held for the first time in Lomé on June 21-22. A second AHIF will also take place in Kigali, Rwanda on October 4-6.
“The evidence from our survey is clear – investors remain confident about the future of the hospitality industry on the continent. Even when pummelled daily by low commodity prices, exchange rate problems, political challenges and poor infrastructure, Africa remains resilient,” Trevor Ward, the W Hospitality Group managing director, said.
The IMF 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. Overall this is down on the 5-6% 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.
Matthew Weihs, managing director of Bench Events, said: “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.”
This is the eighth annual pipeline survey, widely recognised as the most authoritative source on hotel industry growth in Africa, particularly in revealing data on 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.
In comparison to figures from the inaugural survey in 2009, it’s possible to see how far hotel development in Africa has come. In 2009 there were 19 international and regional hotel chains contributing, with a pipeline of 144 hotels and just under 30,000 rooms.
Overall in the 2016 report, it’s Angola that dominates. In July last year, AccorHotels signed with AAA Activos LDA for the management of 50 hotels with around 6,200 rooms. All are under construction and many are ready to open.
Across the continent, the north-south divide on hotel development continues. In 2011, the number of pipeline rooms in the five countries of North Africa was about 25 per cent higher than that in sub-Saharan Africa. Today, it is less than half.
“There are two reasons why development activity in North Africa is now somewhat subdued. 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,” Mr Ward explained.