Marriott International, already the largest hotel chain in Africa, is continuing to expand on the continent and plans to build its first hotels in seven African countries between now and 2025, the company said in a press release.
New African countries where Marriott hotels are planned or under construction include Benin, Gabon, Kenya, Libya, Mauritius, Rwanda and Tunisia.
In 2014, Marriott, the world’s second-largest publicly traded hotel company, acquired South Africa’s Protea Hospitality Holdings for around $200 million. This almost doubled the Bethesda, Maryland-based company’s rooms in Africa to about 23,000 and it said it planned to continue expanding in Africa, Bloomberg reported.
“We have 25 Marriott brand hotels under construction in seven countries in Africa that will come on stream over the next four years,” Kyriakidis told Bloomberg in 2014. The new hotels “are going to bring us into Benin, Gabon, Ghana, Ethiopia and Mauritius. With our existing hotels plus those in the pipeline and those Protea operates today we will be in 16 countries in Africa by 2017.”
Since that statement in 2014, Marriott hotels have opened in Ghana and Ethiopia.
Marriott now has hotels in 10 African countries: Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia, according to the company website.
In January, Marriott announced it was merging with competitor Starwood Hotels and Resorts in a $12.2 billion deal that will make the U.S.-based corporation the largest hotel chain in the world, AFKInsider reported.
The buyout is expected to be complete in mid-2016.
Also based in the U.S., Starwood has a dominant footprint internationally, especially in luxury lodging, and the acquisition will increase Marriott’s upscale accommodations.
It’s part of a trend for consolidation across the global hotel industry, and these global mergers are likely to impact on African hospitality significantly, HotelPartnersAfrica reported in November.
“This domination by the new merger company will lessen over time, as other companies start to understand the appeal of the African market,” said David Harper, head of property services for Hotel Partners Africa. “New operating companies are coming into the market all the time, and the options for developers are expanding to new levels on a monthly basis.”
Marriott said it wants to be represented in all major gateway cities, commercial centers and established resort destinations and cater to a wide variety of market segments. Each of Marriott International’s brands, including those in the pipeline, target a specific segment and support increased visitors in that segment, the company said.
“We have ambitious plans for growth internationally, and the Middle East and Africa will play a large role in helping us achieve both our short-term and long-term targets,” said Alex Kyriakidis, Africa and Middle East president and managing for Marriott International. He spoke at the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference underway through April 28 in Dubai.