Following 142 new hotel development constructions in Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) in 2014, Ethiopia is ranked among the top 10 largest markets for international chain hotel developments. North Africa has the largest hotel development pipeline with a lion share of 41.4% while West Africa with 34.1% closely follows.
Nigeria ranks the highest in terms of the number of hotels with almost 40%, larger than Morocco which is a favourite of celebrities. South Africa has the lowest proportion of developments with just 6.1%. Egypt and Libya have fewer hotels but larger properties close to double the average hotel sizes in Nigeria and Morocco. However, this has been significantly deteriorating due to the social unrest which scared away investors.
Carlson Rezidor, Hilton Worldwide and Marriott are the most active in Africa with 81 hotels planned says the African Tourism Monitor. The number is expected to increase as several investors are eyeing the lucrative potential in the continent. More importantly, global tourism arrival to the continent grew from 37 million into 2003 to 65 million in 2013. Stunning beaches, mountains, wildlife, ancient historical and cultural heritages continue to make Africa an attractive destination.
As countries focus on development and local and regional peace, tourism is bolstering socioeconomic development thus creating job opportunities for 8.2 million people. In the SSA, this sector is expected to add 3.8 million jobs in the coming decade. Strong commitment to hotel development and tourism from heads of state also brought 4% average economic growth in 2013. SSA is performing well with the fastest expansion registering 6.8% GDP growth in 2014.
Tourist arrivals in Africa increased by a staggering 300% between 1990 and 2012 according to the World Bank Group. The industry has been creating a direct economic impact. In Ethiopia, the industry’s contribution to GDP was 4.2% in 2013 and it has rose by 4.5% in 2014. The figure is predicted to rise by 4.8% in 2024. This primarily reflects the economic activity generated by stakeholders in the industry.
Ethiopia’s tourism has created close to 100,000 jobs in 2013 contributing 3.8% to the total employment as reported by the 2014 World Travel and Tourism Council . This includes employment by hotels, travel agents, airlines and other passenger transportation services. It also comprises, the activities of the restaurants and other leisure industries. The industry is estimated to generate over one million employment in 10 years.
Marketing strategies linking the sector with the broader development agenda has become the priority of governments and investors. Taking its investment share from the technological revolution, Jovago Africa’s leading hotel booking site, is a company engaged in online hotel booking service with over 20,000 hotels in its inventory. It aims to make the continent embrace the advanced services of online booking by establishing a reliable global network.
“The continent has become strong competitor in terms of developing the hotel industry and tourism sector” said Estelle Verdier, Managing Director of Jovago East and Southern Africa. Several new hotel constructions continue to add substantial value on Africa\’s economy, she said.
African governments gave enduring promise to hotel development and tourism to reap the full advantage of the sector reducing infrastructural deficits.
By Eden Sahle