Hilton, Legacy hotels eye sub-Saharan Africa

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Audrey D’Angelo

Both Hilton International and the South African-based Legacy Hotels group, which is a partner in SAA’s frequent flyer programme, are increasing their presence in sub-Saharan Africa.

Marc Schumacher, the new general manager of the Hilton International in Cape Town, and Michael Rowley, the marketing manager of Legacy Hotels, said in separate interviews this week that the companies were opening more hotels based on expectations that business travel would continue to grow and leisure travel expand into new markets on the continent.

Schumacher said Hilton had hotels in 11 countries on the continent already and planned to be “in every big city in Africa within the next five to 10 years”, with brands suited to the different markets. “We believe in Africa. The growth in its prosperity is fantastic.”

The Legacy group has 16 hotels in South Africa ranging from the five-star Michelangelo and Raphael and four-star DaVinci in Sandton and the Commodore in Cape Town to upmarket game lodges in the Pilanesberg, Kruger National Park and Addo Elephant Park. It also has hotels in Namibia, Ghana and Nigeria and has just opened its first hotel in Francophone Africa, in Gabon.

Rowley said Legacy’s Labadi Beach Hotel outside Accra in Ghana had won awards as “the best hotel in west Africa” during the past four years and attracted guests from elsewhere in the region, including Nigeria.

He noted that Legacy was not yet one of the best known hotel brands because it was only now being marketed as a group.

Founder Bart Borrestein launched into the hotel business after developing Sun City and realising the attraction of the Pilanesberg.

Legacy had “a substantial share of corporate travel – it is our bread and butter”, but demand from leisure travel was growing, Rowley said.

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