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Africa hotel development: It’s Egypt, Morocco, Accor & Marriott

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This year’s annual survey, which is widely acknowledged as the industry’s most authoritative source, has, as of Q1 2022, a record 42 global and regional (African) contributors.

TAGHAZOUT, MOROCCO - Just four words are needed to sum up the main findings of this year’s African hotel chain development pipeline survey conducted by W Hospitality Group, in association with the Africa Hospitality Investment Forum (AHIF); those words are Egypt, Morocco, Accor and Marriott.

This year’s annual survey, which is widely acknowledged as the industry’s most authoritative source, has, as of Q1 2022, a record 42 global and regional (African) contributors, reporting on a pipeline of hotel development activity totalling around 80,300 rooms in 447 hotels, in 42 of Africa’s 54 countries.

Looking first at the number of rooms physically under construction, Morocco and Egypt are ahead of the pack, with 5,577 and 6,142 rooms respectively. They are followed by: Ethiopia, 3,871; Cape Verde, 3,016; Nigeria, 2,544; Kenya, 2,450; Algeria, 2,337; Tunisia, 2,280; South Africa, 1,948 and Senegal, 1,919. In Tunisia, Kenya and Morocco, over ¾ of the pipeline is “onsite”, whereas in Egypt, 71% is just at the planning stage, reflecting its relatively “young” pipeline (a lot signed in the last 3 years). While Nigeria has 45% onsite; eight of the 15 hotels (with half of the total rooms) that have started construction have stalled, and the sites are closed.

Hotel Chain Development Pipelines in Africa 2022

Top 10 Countries by Pipeline Status
 
  

Hotels
 

Rooms
 

 

Total
 

Onsite Construction
 

 

1
 

Egypt
 

85
 

21,281
 

6,142
 

28.9%
 

 

2
 

Morocco
 

50
 

7,209
 

5,577
 

77.4%
 

 

3
 

Ethiopia
 

29
 

5,206
 

3,871
 

74.4%
 

 

4
 

Cape Verde
 

17
 

4,639
 

3,016
 

65.0%
 

 

5
 

Nigeria
 

33
 

5,619
 

2,544
 

45.3%
 

 

6
 

Kenya
 

24
 

3,155
 

2,450
 

77.7%
 

 

7
 

Algeria
 

15
 

3,202
 

2,337
 

73.0%
 

 

8
 

Tunisia
 

14
 

2,918
 

2,280
 

78.1%
 

 

9
 

South Africa
 

21
 

3,133
 

1,948
 

62.2%
 

 

10
 

Senegal
 

13
 

2,693
 

1,919
 

71.3%

The picture changes somewhat when one looks at rooms being planned as well as those under construction. In this approach, Egypt is the star. It doesn’t just lead the country table, with over 21,000 rooms in 85 hotels in development, up 20 per cent on last year; but it is streaking ahead of the pack. It has almost three times the number of new rooms planned as Morocco, and almost four times Nigeria, which was top of the table for many years. What’s more, with continued signing activity (20 hotels with about 5,250 rooms last year), Egypt now accounts for over 25 per cent of the total hotel development pipeline. Morocco has 7,209 rooms in development, spread across 50 new hotels; Nigeria has 5,619 rooms in 33 hotels, Ethiopia has 5,206 rooms spread across 29 hotels and Cape Verde has 4,639 rooms in 17 hotels. The next five places are taken by Algeria, 3,202 rooms, Kenya, 3,155 rooms, South Africa, 3,133 rooms Tunisia, 2,918 rooms and Senegal 2,693 rooms.

Hotel Chain Development Pipelines in Africa 2022

Top 10 Countries by Number of Rooms
 
  

Hotels
 

Rooms
 

Average Size
 

1
 

Egypt
 

85
 

21,281
 

250
 

2
 

Morocco
 

50
 

7,209
 

144
 

3
 

Nigeria
 

33
 

5,619
 

170
 

4
 

Ethiopia
 

29
 

5,206
 

180
 

5
 

Cape Verde
 

17
 

4,639
 

273
 

6
 

Algeria
 

15
 

3,202
 

213
 

7
 

Kenya
 

24
 

3,155
 

131
 

8
 

South Africa
 

21
 

3,133
 

149
 

9
 

Tunisia
 

14
 

2,918
 

208
 

10
 

Senegal
 

13
 

2,693
 

207
 

 Total
 

301
 

59,055
 

196

Notably, four out of the five North African countries are in the top ten; and the top ten countries represent 67% of the total hotels, and 74% of the rooms, in the survey.

While Africa’s hotel development pipeline is at its strongest ever, 80,291 rooms being planned or constructed, the top-line number masks a reduction in Sub-Saharan Africa, where there has been a greater amount of hotel investment in recent years. Of the six sub-Saharan countries in the top 10, only Cape Verde has seen an increase in planned rooms, 33%, whilst the “power houses”, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya and South Africa have between them seen a decline of 29%; Nigeria is down 41%. There are three main reasons for the reduction: fewer new opportunities in the region; opening of some 2,700 rooms in 15 hotels last year, and a pipeline “cleansing” which the hotel chains do periodically to remove various projects which are unlikely to go ahead.

Hotel Chain Development Pipelines in Africa 2022

Regional Summary
 
 

2018
 

2019
 

2020
 

2021
 

2022
 

 Hotels
 
Rooms
 
Hotels
 
Rooms
 
Hotels
 
Rooms
 
Hotels
 
Rooms
 
Hotels
 
Rooms
 
North Africa
 
118
 
28,303
 
122
 
28,702
 
119
 
29,050
 
134
 
31,547
 
166
 
35,280
 
Sub-Saharan Africa
 
294
 
46,731
 
270
 
44,395
 
283
 
47,684
 
289
 
47,855
 
281
 
45,011
 
TOTAL
 
412
 
75,034
 
392
 
73,097
 
402
 
76,734
 
423
 
79,402
 
447
 
80,291

Looking at the development activity of the hotel chains, both Accor and Marriott are nearly as dominant as Egypt and Morocco, each representing just over 25% of the entire pipeline! Accor has 20,857 rooms in development, spread over 107 properties; Marriott has 20,248 rooms spread over 103 properties. Hilton, in third place, has around half as many rooms, 10,505 in 55 hotels. Radisson, 4th, has 6,248 rooms in 35 hotels. The next six places are taken by IHG, 3,136 rooms, Barceló, 2,488 rooms, Hyatt, 1,995 rooms, Meliá, 1,743 rooms, Louvre, 1,273 rooms, and Minor, 1,203 rooms.

Hotel Chain Development Pipelines in Africa 2022

Top 10 Hotel Chains by Number of Planned Hotels
 
Rank by Hotels
 
  

Units
 

Rooms
 

Change on 2020
 

Average Size
 

1
 

Accor
 

107
 

20,857
 

8.4%
 

195
 

2
 

Marriott International
 

103
 

20,248
 

8.1%
 

197
 

3
 

Hilton
 

55
 

10,505
 

1.5%
 

191
 

4
 

Radisson Hotel Group
 

35
 

6,248
 

-3.3%
 

179
 

5
 

IHG
 

17
 

3,136
 

10.8%
 

184
 

6
 

Barceló Hotel Group
 

8
 

2,488
 

0.0%
 

311
 

7
 

Hyatt Hotels & Resorts
 

12
 

1,995
 

-9.4%
 

166
 

8
 

Meliá Hotels & Resorts
 

5
 

1,743
 

-10.8%
 

349
 

9
 

Louvre Hotels Group
 

11
 

1,273
 

-4.2%
 

116
 

10
 

Minor Hotels
 

6
 

1,203
 

-
 

201

Trevor Ward, Managing Director, W Hospitality Group said: “The chains anticipate that 200 new hotels are expected to open this year and next, although their expectations can sometimes be over-optimistic! After a positive trend in 2019, the actualisation of hotel deals (ie: the proportion that actually opened, compared to what the chains expected to open) was less than 30 per cent in both 2020 and 2021 – however, that was quite understandable with pandemic travel restrictions killing the demand for hotel rooms.” 

Trevor continued: “I am not surprised by the slow-down in the number of deals signed in sub-Saharan Africa, as the past couple of years have seen not only the pandemic, making it more difficult to travel and meet new partners, but also less appetite from investors for major markets such as Ethiopia, Nigeria and South Africa. However, what does surprise me is that the majority of investment is going into upscale, upper upscale and luxury hotels, when there is very strong demand across Africa for decent quality branded budget and midscale hotels.”

Matthew Weihs, Managing Director of The Bench, which organises AHIF, concluded: “While the hospitality industry has just been through the bleakest period in my professional career, it is fascinating to see that the pandemic has done nothing to dent long-term investor confidence in hospitality. If anything, the savviest financiers have seen it as an opportunity. They have been encouraged by enlightened governments, such as Morocco’s, which have spent $ billions on new infrastructure to incentivise investment in tourism. What’s more, judging by our other conferences this year that have sold out, we are seeing how keen people are to travel again and how valuable it is to meet face to face, rather than over a video link. I am confident that when AHIF takes place on 2-4 November, in Taghazout, close to Agadir, we will see the atmosphere buzzing, with highly productive networking and with more deals announced than ever before.”

An update to the pipeline development survey, along with in-depth insights, will be presented by Trevor Ward at AHIF. The event is the leading conference of its kind in Africa, connecting business leaders and fuelling investment in tourism projects, infrastructure and hotel development across the continent.

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