CAPE TOWN - Nigeria is still holding its top position for hotel development in West Africa, despite a slight reduction on last year.

This is according to a recent regional focus by the influential annual hotel pipeline survey from Lagos-based W Hospitality Group which provides a complete range of services to investors in the hotel, tourism and leisure industries.

The survey showed Nigeria, one of the economic giants of Africa, has the largest hotel pipeline in West Africa and the second largest on the continent, with the concentration being in Lagos and Abuja, the commercial and political capitals, respectively.  

There is, however, an increasing number of deals being signed in other cities, such as Enugu, Port Harcourt, Onitsha and Benin City.  The pace of deal-making in Nigeria has noticeably slowed down, with only six deals signed in 2017, compared to 10 in both 2015 and 2016, a reflection of the economic situation in the country. 

Hotel pipeline development in terms of total planned rooms for Nigeria is down 5.1% on last year, but it still has 4,146 rooms actually under construction, out of a total of 9,603 in 57 hotels.

The survey further showed that “impressive strides” have been made by Cote d’Ivoire, moving into the top five West African countries with 10 new hotels in the pipeline, a 205.7% increase on last year, while 549 of the total 1,830 rooms are on site. 

All the planned hotels are in Abidjan, driven by multiple deals signed by AccorHotels and by Marriott. This reflects the confidence in the country as the return to democracy, after several years of civil war, have brought economic and political stability, with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasting gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 7.4% this year, one of the highest on the continent.

Cape Verde is sustaining growth with 2,710 rooms now on site, up 15.3% on last year. Sao Vincente accounts for 28% of the country’s pipeline. Other developments are in Boa Vista, Mindelo, Praia, Sal and Santiago.

Senegal, with 17 hotels in the pipeline is another strong performer, up 16.2% per cent on last year in terms of rooms. A total of 80% are in Dakar, while the remainder is in Cap Skirring and Mbour.

Marriott still heads the chains in the region, with 26 planned hotels with 5,354 rooms, up 25% on last year. Louvre Hotels Group is moving up, with seven hotels with 807 rooms, an 83% increase.

In total, the chains show a 10% increase on 2017 with 22,680 pipeline rooms in West Africa.

W Hospitality Group’s managing director, Trevor Ward said: “The majority of projects in Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire are city centre, business hotels, while in Cape Verde, the majority are beach resorts, where Melia has no fewer than five deals in its pipeline there, and an average of almost 400 rooms per hotel. Cape Verde benefits from its location quite close to the main generating markets in Europe, and from the volume of accommodation stock there which makes charter flights viable.”

The Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF), which is supported by the Kenyan Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife, takes place in Nairobi in October. The AHIF is attended by leading international hotel investors, business leaders and politicians. It has a proven track-record of driving investment into tourism projects, infrastructure and hotel development across Africa.

Matthew Weihs, managing director of Bench Events, AHIF’s organiser, said: “This is the latest in a series of regional reports from W Hospitality Group. It, and other analyses from numerous expert advisers to the industry, will be part of the core content that makes AHIF such an important event with unrivalled networking opportunities.”

In October, Kenya will show itself to the world with an unprecedented week of tourism promotion. As well as hosting AHIF, it will stage a number of events including the Magical Kenya Tourism Expo (MKTE), the largest travel trade show in East Africa, and it will announce a package of measures to incentivise investment.

- African News Agency (ANA)