Hilton has announced $50m in investment over the next five years toward its Africa growth initiative to sustain the continued expansion of its sub-Saharan African portfolio. The move is seen as further evidence of a general upward trend in business travel expenditure within emerging markets.
The latest proposals will support the conversion of about 100 hotels in multiple African markets into Hilton-branded properties, including the Hilton Hotels & Resorts brand, the DoubleTree by Hilton, and the group’s more recent Curio Collection.
Patrick Fitzgibbon, Hilton’s senior vice-president of development for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, noted Hilton’s commitment to growth in Africa after more than 50 years of operating on the continent. “The model of converting existing hotels into Hilton-branded properties has proved highly successful in a variety of markets and we expect to see great opportunities to convert hotels to Hilton brands through this initiative,” he said.
Research director at the World Trade and Tourism Council (WTTC), Rochelle Turner, told fDi that Hilton had been “quite clever” about increasing its activity, given “the surge in business travel growth in Africa”. The WTTC recorded the largest business travel growth within the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with upwards of 32% between 2011 and 2016. “Hilton has seen this scale of growth, attributed to increased international arrivals and infrastructural investment from the Chinese and Japanese markets,” said Ms Turner.
Mr Fitzgibbon added: “The range of brands we have at our disposal allows owners the flexibility to pick the right fit for their property. We have already deployed this initiative in signing two hotels: our first DoubleTree by Hilton property in Kenya and our first hotel in Rwanda.” The hotel chain expects to announce further additions before the end of 2017.