Africa has been identified as the next frontier of opportunities for international hotel chains seeking for growth.
A study by University of Johannesburg scholar Jayne M. Rogerson entitled ‘Unpacking the Growth of Hotel Chains in Africa: Enterprises and Patterns’, reckons that Africa offers enormous opportunities for hotel chains seeking internationalisation due to an expanding base and diverse tourism economy.
“Over the past two decades Africa has been one of the most rapidly expanding regions of the global tourism industry. This growth has triggered the entry and expansion of both international and regional hotel chains,” states the study.
It adds that despite the global economic downturn and decline in international tourism arrivals, Africa continues to show tourism arrivals which are expanding faster than the world average.
According to the study, Africa now receives more tourists than the Caribbean, Central America and South America regions combined. During the period between 2003 and 2009, tourists’ arrivals in the continent mushroomed from 37 million to 58 million.
The largest number of tourism arrivals is recorded for the region of North Africa followed by Southern Africa and East Africa. Countries that record consistently the largest receipts of tourists are South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Mauritius.
France is the leading source of tourists travelling to Africa followed by the United Kingdom, the USA, Germany and Portugal.
“This expanding base and diverse tourism economy provides the essential context for unpacking the growth of hotel chains in Africa,” notes the study.
Its adds that although the hotel industry is globally highly fragmented, it is estimated the leading hotel groups account for 52 per cent of global sales and thus are the dominant players in the international hotel economy. In Africa, South Africa’s hotel industry is the largest and most mature.