Marriott International has announced plans to open 30 new hotels and more than 5000 rooms in Africa by 2024.
“We continue to see opportunities to expand in major gateway cities, commercial centres and resort destinations across Africa,” Karim Cheltout, Marriott International’s regional vice president for development in Africa, said in a statement on November 2.
The company said its select-service brands, Protea Hotels and Four Points by Sheraton, will make up more than half of its planned expansion in Africa, with debut openings in major sub-saharan economies like Kenya, Angola, Senegal, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda.
It also plans to expand its portfolio of luxury brands with five anticipated openings in Africa by the end of 2024, mostly in Morocco and Kenya.
Kwakye Donkor, CEO at Africa Tourism Partners, tells fDi that the expansion is a “positive sign” for Africa. He adds that the Marriott expansion “helps sharpen the skills across the hospitality industry in Africa and build more capacity across the continent in terms of international standards and quality assurance”.
Also, he notes that it shows the company’s “confidence” that African countries are ready for people to visit. “If you don’t have a supply [of tourism infrastructure], it is very difficult to accommodate the demand when it comes.” He also argues that Marriott International’s expansion would play a significant role in attracting “business travellers from big corporates and international organisations,” considering that they prefer branded hotels, such as Marriott, over Airbnb or traditional hotels.
Marriott International has 30 brands globally as of 2022. Currently, the company has 130 properties across 20 countries in Africa. It has the strongest presence in South Africa with 47 properties, according to company’s figures.
According to fDi Markets, a greenfield investment tracker, Marriott was the second-largest investor in African hotel and tourism sector between 2016 and September 2022 with total committed foreign direct investment of $521mn, following US-based, Chinese-owned Radisson ($1.04bn)
In 2020, another major hospitality investor, Radisson, announced a big African push in 2020, when it unveiled plans to open 10 new properties per year across the continent until 2025.