Many parts of Africa are in dire need of quality hotels and smart brands are making ambitious moves rather than playing it safe.
Accor SA, which plans to double its hotels in Africa by 2020, said it won’t slow its expansion on the continent after al-Qaeda led attacks on West African hotels.
The assaults haven’t had a “significant” impact on reservations at the company’s 96 African hotels, although security at the sites has been boosted, Antoine Guego, chief operating officer of Accor Hotels in Africa and the Indian Ocean, said Tuesday in an interview in Abidjan, Ivory Coast’s commercial capital. None of Accor’s hotel brands, which include Novotel, Sofitel and Ibis, have been targeted by militants.
“We’re going through extremely troubled times,” Guego said. “It doesn’t hurt only Africa. It’s a global situation. I don’t think we’re more in danger in an African capital than in Europe or elsewhere.”
Raids by Islamist militants on hotels in Mali, Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast have left more than 70 people dead in the past six months, raising concern about the risks of travel to West Africa. Operators including Azalai Hotel, with lodging in Mali, have said that business travel rebounds quickly after the attacks, though leisure travel is unlikely to come back in parts of West Africa that have been targeted by militants.
Paris-based Accor operates in 18 African countries and its clients are mostly businessmen. The company plans to open 10 hotels in Angola this year and seeks to run at least 50 in the southern African nation by 2020, Guego said. The company will also open units in Morocco, Algeria and Democratic Republic of Congo in 2016, he said.
“The development of the African continent is so important that the activity remains sustained,” Guego said.
This article was written by Olivier Monnier from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
Photo credit: The Novotel Dakar Hotel, an Accor property. AccorHotels