Global hotel chains invest millions in Kenya’s hospitality industry

Kenya AfricaThe Kenya Tourism Board projects tourist numbers to reach 3mn by 2015 with earnings of US$2.4bn. (Image source: Christopher T Cooper)

International hotel chains are investing millions of dollars in Kenya and the wider East African region to cash in on the expanding hospitality industry

Hotel brands such as Kempinski, Emaar, Radisson Blu, Marriot, Park Inn Hilton and Lonrho have plans in place to construct hotels in Nairobi as Kenya positions itself as the financial, travel, and business hub of the East and Central African region.

Analysts have said that this is an indication of confidence in the growing hospitality sector in Kenya as international investors seek a slice of the action.

“It is a very good thing to the industry. As a country, we are in a position to attract foreign direct investments,” said Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers CEO Mike Macharia, during the recent Africa Hotel Investment Forum held in Nairobi.

Kempinski, a luxury hotel group, is currently constructing the Villa Rosa Kempinski hotel on Chiromo road in Nairobi, which is due to be opened within a few months.

The hotel chain’s portfolio is comprised of 74 five-star facilities in 32 countries and it has continued to add new properties in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Another hotel chain, Marriott, plans to open a hotel in Kenya by 2015. On its part, the Hilton plans to open two hotels in Nairobi, Rwanda and DR Congo, while global hotel firm Rezidor is set to open two hotels in Nairobi by 2014.

Accor plans to construct 30 new hotels in Kenya, South Africa, Angola, Nigeria, Ghana, Morocco and Algeria bringing its total room network on the continent to 22,000 by 2016.

Dubai-based Emaar Hospitality Group has signed a deal under its hospitality division to operate a property developed by The African Dream Collection under its premium brand, The Address Hotels and Resorts.

Last year, Rezidor Hotel Group announced they would construct a second hotel in Kenya. The proposed hotel at Westlands, just outside downtown Nairobi, would have 126 rooms and would welcome its first visitors in December 2013.

Despite travel bans issued by the US and the UK governments, tourists that have taken to Kenya’s beaches and national park topped 1.26mn in 2011, a 15.4 per cent increase from the previous year. Earnings also rose by 32 per cent to US$1.2bn.

The Kenya Tourism Board projects tourist numbers to reach 3mn by 2015 with earnings of US$2.4bn annually.

The number of tourists coming from China, India and the Middle East has also risen following the launch of direct flights to these regions by Kenya Airways.

Mwangi Mumero

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