Starwood plans 3 more hotels in Nigeria by 2015

Posted: November 25, 2012 in travel & tourism

Global hotel chain, the Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc, has concluded plans for three additional hotels in Nigeria by 2015 to complement its already five existing properties in the country.

Starwood presently operates five hotels in Nigeria, in Abuja, Akwa Ibom, Port Harcourt and two hotels in Lagos, under its Sheraton, Le Meridien and Four Points by Sheraton brands. By 2015, Starwood will open three additional hotels in Nigeria, one property in Benin City and two in Lagos.

Starwood made the revelation in Lagos, recently, when its senior executives including newly-appointed Chief Executive Officer, toured the country in pursuit of development opportunities and in support of Starwood’s UNICEF Fundraising Programmes in Africa.

Emphasizing the importance of the region as one of the world’s fastest-growing hotel and travel markets, the Starwood’s team explained plans to further expand its portfolio in Nigeria, the company’s largest growth market on the African continent.

Starwood is strengthening its position as a leading international hotel operator in Africa with an existing portfolio of 38 hotels, representing more than 10,000 rooms, the majority of which are operated under Starwood’s world-renowned Sheraton and Le Meridien brands.

The company also announced at the media briefing in Lagos, of plans to increase its African portfolio by nearly 30 per cent with 10 new hotels set to open over the next three years, therefore adding more than 4,200 guest rooms to the continent and creating thousands of local employment opportunities.

“Home to seven of the world’s 10 fastest growing economies, there could not be a better time to expand our footprint in Africa,” said Frits van Paasschen, President and CEO, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, adding: “From a vastly improving infrastructure, major investments from China, rapid economic growth, rising personal incomes and a growing middle class – we are seeing exciting changes that are driving the African future and we intend to be a part of it.”

On his part, Simon Turner, President of Global Development & Acquisition, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, said: “Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and boasts the second-largest economy on the continent, presenting tremendous opportunities for the country to play a key role in our African expansion. With investor-friendly policies in place and on-going economic growth, Nigeria epitomizes the economic ascent of Africa as a development destination,”

With more than 70 per cent of the world’s economic growth coming from fast-growing markets over the next few years, Starwood is focused on expansion in developing and established African countries such as Nigeria, Algeria, Egypt and South Africa. The company is also looking to enter key emerging countries including Angola, the Ivory Coast and Ghana.

As part of this strategy, Starwood is investing in development, sales and the expansion of its Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) program in Africa. By the end of this year, Starwood will double its dedicated development team focused on growth in Africa, underscoring the company’s commitment to continued growth in the region.

By 2015, Starwood plans to have nearly 50 hotels in Africa along with those already planned to open in Nigeria, Egypt, Algeria, Libya, Senegal and Mauritius.

In addition to the new hotels in the pipeline, Starwood will re-open three of its African hotels in the next 12 months: The Grand Mauritian, which will re-open next year after a major renovation; the Sheraton Cairo following a major renovation as part of Sheraton’s global brand enhancement strategy; and the Four Points by Sheraton Tripoli, which closed last year due to political conflict in Libya.

With the largest footprint among Starwood’s portfolio and one of the world’s most recognized hotel brands, Sheraton is often the first international hotel brand to enter markets paving the way for the introduction of other Starwood brands. This holds true in Africa where Starwood first opened the Sheraton Cairo in 1971. Sheraton also led the way for Starwood’s entry into other important African countries including Nigeria, Uganda and South Africa. While Starwood is committed to the growth of all of its brands throughout the African continent, Sheraton continues to play a critical role in its development strategy.

It would be recalled that in 2011, Starwood and UNICEF joined forces to put a focus on education through UNICEF’s “Schools for Africa” programme, supporting quality primary education for more than eight million vulnerable children across 11 Sub-Saharan African countries (Angola, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, South Africa, Madagascar, Mozambique, Rwanda and Zimbabwe).

“We believe that every child has the right to go to school. That is why, together with UNICEF, we have chosen to focus on providing children in need with access to education. We are convinced that for these children education is the door that opens opportunities and will enable them to become fully independent members of society,” Roeland Vos, President of Starwood Hotels & Resorts for Europe, Africa & Middle East said.

Starwood’s chief executive officer van Paasschen was accompanied on the Lagos leg of the Africa tour by seven members of Starwood’s senior executive team who also met with hotel owners, customers, government officials and investors in Nigeria, Gabon and Angola with the goal to further understand, appreciate and ultimately leverage different cultural perspectives and approaches to business.

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