Momentum builds across Africa

After a pandemic slowdown, branded hotel development is on the rise again, with major international chains accelerating their signings through 2023, with more openings planned in 2024

A new report on the hotel market in Africa has revealed an improvement in the development pipeline across the continent. Egypt, Nigeria, Morocco and Ethiopia are the leading country markets, while the big five global hotel chains account for 66% of the hotels, and 71% of the rooms planned to be delivered in the continent, over the coming years. 

Egypt continues to dominate the hotel supply pipeline in Africa, with 15% of the entire continent’s pipeline coming to the greater Cairo region, notes the annual market study from W Hospitality Group. And Marriott International has a significant lead, compared with its peers, with almost twice as many rooms in the pipeline as its nearest rival, Hilton

Increased signings

Major hotel chains signed over 100 new projects in 2023, and opened 29 new hotels, as pace accelerated after the pandemic. There has been increasing interest in larger resort properties, which now make up 39% of the pipeline, from 24% a year ago. Those additions mean Africa now has a pipeline of 361 hotels signed across the continent, of which more than half, 54.1% are under construction. 

The leading hotel chain group, when adding up pipeline signings across Africa, is Marriott with 138 hotels to come. Second is Hilton, with 72 signed, just ahead of Accor with 70. Making up the top five are Radisson, with 35 signings, and tour group TUI, with 30 African hotels in planning. 

By individual brand, Hilton leads with 28 hotels, ahead of Marriott’s local Protea brand. The Marriott and Four Points by Sheraton brands both have 18 signings, as does the Radisson brand. Making up the top ten are Hlton’s Doubletree, Accor’s Novotel and Fairmont, then Hilton Garden Inn, and in tenth place, the luxury Ritz-Carlton brand. 

Third party specialists

The continent is also seeing the rise of third party hotel management specialists, alternatively known as white label operators. Aleph Hospitality, Index and Valor are all mentioned in the report as being active in Africa, signing and managing both internationally branded hotels, and locally named properties. 

One group making a growing impact in African resort development is TUI. It will open two TUI Blue branded resorts in Gambia during 2024, the 64 room Kotu Point and 1400 room Tamala hotel. That will be followed in 2025 by the launch of TUI Blue Jalaw Beach in Senegal, with 224 rooms. 

Among Hilton’s pipeline properties is the upcoming Hampton by Hilton in Johannesburg, launching in the city’s Sandton district in late 2024.