An accelerated African growth for Carlson Rezidor, one of the world’s largest hotel groups, is on track to achieve its target of more than 23,000 rooms open or under development in Africa by the end of 2020.
Wolfgang Neumann, Rezidor’s president and CEO who is a speaker at the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) in Kigali, says the hotel group launched its accelerated African growth strategy in 2014 with ambitions to double its portfolio in Africa by the end of 2020.
“Africa has always been close to our hearts. We were the early movers on the continent in 2000 when we established our dedicated business development base in Cape town,” Mr Neumann said.
Africa Rezidor’s biggest growth market
He added: “Today, Africa is our biggest growth market with a fully functional Area Support Office in Cape Town since 2016. We also converted our joint venture company with the four Nordic Government Development agencies, AfriNord, from a mezzanine debt funding facility to a minority equity investment vehicle to support our strategy and owners.”
Rezidor first entered Africa in 2000 when it opened its first Radisson Blu Hotel in Cape Town. Today, Carlson Rezidor’s footprint in Africa has grown to include 69 hotels open and under development in 28 countries, incorporating more than 15,000 rooms.
Neumann says in the past 24 months Carlson Rezidor has signed a new hotel deal in Africa every 37 days. “Of course we are aware that it’s not just about signing. It’s really about delivering the pipeline. We have opened a new hotel in Africa every 60 days over the past two years. This year we have already opened six Radisson Blu Hotels and expect to open a Park Inn by Radisson Blu is South Africa in the next six months. We intend to keep up momentum for the signings followed by successful openings.”
The six hotels opened in 2016 include Radisson Blu Hotels in Nairobi, Kenya; Marrakech, Morocco; Maputo, Mozambique (first residence in Africa); Abidjan, Ivory Coast (first airport hotel); Lome, Togo; and Radisson Blu Hotel and Convention Centre in Kigali, Rwanda, which is East Africa’s largest convention centre and host to the 2016 Africa Hotel Investment Forum.
Radisson Blu leads the way
Carlson Rezidor Senior Vice President Business Development Africa and Indian Ocean Andrew McLachlan says Radisson Blu leads the way with more hotel rooms under development than any of the other 85-plus hotel brands active in Africa today, according to the W-Hospitality report.
“Our ambition is to be the leading player in the travel and tourism sector across the continent,” says McLachlan.
Exciting new developments on the cards for Carlson Rezidor in Africa include the signing of the first Radisson RED, which is expected to open in Cape Town in the course of 2017, as well as the signing of the first Quorvus Collection to be built in Lagos, Nigeria, expected to open in 2019.
Carlson Rezidor aims to open 15 more hotels in South Africa and Nigeria alone by the end of 2020, incorporating its full brand portfolio, ranging from the Quorvus Collection, Radisson Blu, Radisson RED, and Park Inn by Radisson.
McLachlan says Africa presents an opportunity for Carlson Rezidor to grow its resort portfolio under Radisson Blu and Quorvus Collection in locations such as Mauritius, Seychelles, Zanzibar, East Coast of Kenya and Tanzania and the Cape Verde Islands.