Accor set for Lagos opening; plans 30 hotels in Africa 2016

Posted: October 17, 2012 in travel & tourism

During the Africa Hotel Investment Forum, held in Nairobi, Accor will reaffirm its ambitious expansion plan in Africa, with nearly 5.000 new rooms spread over 30 hotels to be opened by 2016.

Since the opening of its first hotel in Congo in 1975, Accor has strongly developed its network in Africa to become market leader with 114 hotels, over 17,000 rooms, in 18 countries. The Group is present on all segments, from luxury to budget, with its Sofitel, Pullman, MGallery, Novotel, Mercure, ibis, ibis budget and Formula 1 brands.

In the first semester of 2012 alone, Accor opened more than 1,000 rooms, 9 hotels, on the continent. Openings included an ibis in Bata, Equatorial Guinea, and 2 hotels, ibis and Novotel, in Constantine in Algeria, a market where the Accor network is experiencing a quick growth. Accor re-entered in Tunisia with the opening of an ibis and a Novotel in Tunis.

The Group also consolidated its market leadership in Morocco with the opening of Sofitel Agadir Thalassa Sea & Spa and Sofitel Casablanca Tour Blanche as well as the launch of its ibis budget brand.

In addition, an ibis has just opened in Dakar and a second one will soon open in Lagos, Nigeria. The Group has recently signed a management contract to take over under the Sofitel flag, the Hotel Ivoire in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. All together, almost 2,000 rooms will have opened through the year.

With its dynamic expansion plan, the Group will reach a network of more than 22,000 rooms by 2016. Key markets for the Group expansion include Morocco, Algeria, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Angola, and Kenya.

“Our network in Africa is facing a dynamic expansion, with 5,000 rooms to open in the next few years”, declares Jean-Jacques Dessors, Chief Operating Officer Africa & Middle East.

“Indeed, our strong historic presence along with the economic growth experienced on the continent, offers many opportunities of expansion for all our brands with a special emphasis on ibis to meet growing domestic and regional demand”.

On a social standpoint, the Group is reinforcing local recruitment and in-house training process. Accor Africa has 12,000 employees, with less than 2% of expats. With the Group expansion, Accor will create over 3,000 jobs by 2016, 99 per cent of which will be local contracts.

Accor hotels in Africa have been committed to promote social and environmental responsibility for many years. Hotels are for instance working with local suppliers for construction and refurbishment, using low-consumption light bulbs and water-flow regulators, and promoting fair trade. Since 2003, Accor Africa has been engaged in combating HIV/AIDS through programs to train employees, raise awareness among guests and actively involve the tourist industry.

In a related development, the Hotels Rezidor Group has announced that long-time chief executive Kurt Ritter will retire at the end of 2012 and will be succeeded by Wolfgang Neumann, who joined the company in May 2011 after a 20-year career with Hilton hotels and more recently a short stint as CEO of Arabella Hospitality Group in Munich.

This news comes just a few days after Rezidor’s head of development Puneet Chhatwal announced he was leaving to take the CEO position at Steigenberger, and it has been much more than a month since former CEO Hubert Joly abrupt departed from Carlson – Rezidor’s majority stakeholder and strategic development partner.

Neumann, who currently serves as Rezidor’s executive vice president and COO, told HOTELS this transition has been in the works for several months and that he has been working closely with Ritter, the head of Rezidor since 1989, to plan for the future. “It is great to take over in such a coordinated manner from one of the greatest leaders in the hotel industry,” Neumann said. “Kurt and I have been involved in driving the strategy formulated over the past year. We recognize Rezidor has had a great growth record and has a great pipeline. A big focus going forward will be to lift EBITDA margins.”

Through Route 2015 – a comprehensive program launched by Carlson last December – Rezidor’s aim is to increase its EBITDA margin by 6 per cent to 8 per cent by the year 2015.

Rezidor Group has a number of hotel properties in Lagos and Apapa areas of the country with another planned for Benin, the Edo State capital.

The highbrow Radisson Blu Anchorage which opened last year was celebrated as the hospitality chain’s flagship facility in Nigeria and West Africa.

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