Several African economies like Nigeria and Mozambique are among the fastest growing in the world but that is hardly related to its potential for increased tourist arrivals, as Carlson Rezidor's CEO argues. Given recent terror attacks in Europe and Asia and backlash from last year's Ebola outbreak, the mostly unknown continent is sadly being lumped into the danger category even if many of its destinations are safe and ready for tourists.
Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, which manages 1,370 hotels in more than 110 countries, is building 35 outlets in Africa as it bets on economic growth rates forecast to be among the fastest in the world, Chief Executive Officer Wolfgang Neumann said.
The company officially starts operating the Radisson Blu Hotel in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, on Friday. The hotel was developed by a Kenyan investor and three Scandinavian funds at a cost of 9 billion shillings ($88 million), Neumann said in an interview in the city. The other outlets will be built by 2020, he said.
“We see Africa as the continent of opportunity,” Neumann said. “We have been focusing on Africa for some time and we are now recognized for having the largest amount of hotel rooms under development” in sub-Saharan Africa.
Growth in sub-Saharan Africa is forecast to accelerate to 4 percent this year and 4.7 percent in 2017 from an estimated 3.5 percent last year, according to the International Monetary Fund. That is faster than any other region in the world except the Emerging and Developing Asia region that includes China and India, according to data on its website.
Carlson Rezidor will open a second hotel in Kenya under the Park Inn brand in the Nairobi suburb of Westlands at the end of this year and a third one under the Radisson Blu Residences brand next door to the official residence of Kenya’s president in 2017, Neumann said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Eric Ombok in Nairobi at [email protected] To contact the editors responsible for this story: Christopher Kingdon at [email protected] Paul Richardson, Helen Nyambura-Mwaura.
This article was written by Eric Ombok from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
Photo credit: Tourists sail on dhows around Lamu island in the Indian Ocean off the northern coast of Kenya. Goran Tomasevic / Reuters