Radisson adds six hotels in Africa in bet on future growth

The Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako, Mali. [Reuters]

Radisson Hotel Group has added six hotels to its African portfolio, the company said on Tuesday, as it pushes ahead with its expansion strategy on the continent despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

Global hotel chains, including Marriot International and Hyatt Hotels have increased investments in Africa, which has some of the world’s only growing economies even after the impact of the pandemic, and a rising middle class.

The addition of the new properties in Mali, Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia and two in South Africa means Radisson manages nearly 100 hotels in 32 African markets.

“We aim to further accelerate our presence across the continent through conversions, especially as liquidity remains a critical challenge,” said Ramsay Rankoussi, Radisson’s vice president for development in Africa and Turkey.

“We have revisited our brand architecture to enable us to quickly integrate existing hotels to our network.”

He did not give any figure for the amount invested.

The first of the new hotels will open in Bamako, Mali within the next six months with the last - a 258-room facility in Nigeria’s capital Abuja - expected to launch in 2024.

Grounded airlines and tight travel restrictions meant to curtail the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes Covid-19 have hit the hospitality sector hard.

In Africa, the safari and wildlife tourism sector - a major draw for international travellers - has seen widespread job losses.

African countries have lost almost $55 billion (Sh5.8 trillion) in travel and tourism revenues in three months due to the coronavirus pandemic, the African Union commissioner for infrastructure and energy said earlier this month.

Amani Abou-Zeid told a news conference the economic impact of lockdowns and border closures to curb the spread of the virus would be severe, with the continent’s air industry hit particularly hard. 

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