First Hilton Hotel In Botswana Will Cater To The Neglected Middle Market

Avatar
Written by Dana Sanchez

Hilton Worldwide plans to open a mid-market Hilton Garden Inn in Gaborone — its first in Botswana and 13th Garden Inn in Africa — the company said in a prepared statement.

Expected  to open in 2017, the 150-room hotel will be located 13 kilometers (8 miles) from Gaborone’s Sir Seretse Khama International Airport in the city’s fast-growing business district.

There is a need in Botswana for mid-market hotels, according to Fitch’s BMIResearch, a company providing financial information services with offices in London, New York, Singapore and Pretoria.

Botswana has the natural beauty and resources to compete with many of the other, better established tourist destinations in Southern Africa, BMI reports.

Botswana’s resources include its natural beauty, diamonds and coal, attracting leisure and business travelers. Gaborone is a gateway to Botswana national parks such the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and the Okavango Delta.

The majority of visitors to Botswana are looking for highly specialized wildlife packages, or they are young backpackers travelling Southern Africa, according to BMI. This has led to the development of high-end game lodges and low-end budget hostels, with very little in between.

“Our forecast shows that the (tourism) sector will not experience particularly strong growth however, as severely inadequate transport facilities and a lack of investment in the hotel market continue to hinder the possibilities,” BMI Research reported on July 8.

Hilton’s announcement is a sign that could be changing.

Hilton signed a management agreement to open the mid-market Hilton Garden Inn with Fleming Asset Management Botswana on behalf of Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund.

Founded in 1994, Fleming is the longest established independent asset manager in Botswana, according to its website. The Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund claims to have experienced phenomenal growth since its 2001 inception when the Botswana government decided to change it from a benefit pension scheme to a contribution pension scheme.

The mid-market hotel will have a health club and outdoor swimming pool, all-day  restaurant, bar, 24-hour business center, free Wi-Fi and more than 400 square meters (4300-square-feet-plus) of meeting space.

“With 13 Hilton Garden Inn locations now confirmed across Africa, I am delighted that we have agreed our first hotel in Botswana,” said Patrick Fitzgibbon, senior vice president of development, Europe & Africa for Hilton Worldwide, in a prepared statement. “Botswana has one of the fast growing economies in the world and an impressive visitor offering resulting in an excellent opportunity for hotel development as we exceed 70 Hilton Worldwide properties either trading or under development across Africa.”

The U.S.-based Hilton will be joining other hotel brands already in Botswana including AccorHotels, Cresta Hotels, Peermont, SunInternational and Lonrho Hotels.

One of the most recent new global-brand hotels to open in Botswana, the Lansmore Masa Square Hotel just opened last week in Gaborone, targeting the high-end market, Mmegi reports. The hotel is a member of the global Lonrho Hotels brand.

Among hotels in Botswana, Lansmore is the third largest with 153 rooms. The five star Grand Palm hotel has 188 rooms while the four star Gaborone Sun International has 194 rooms.