With more than 78,000 rooms in 408 hotels in the pipeline for Africa at the start of 2020, analysts are inclined towards the fact that this year is likely to shatter the ambitions of many hotel developers on the continent.
According to the 12th annual survey by W Hospitality Group the growth of the chains’ presence in Africa has been a very positive story since the company started its analysis in 2009.
“Our industry has been devastated by the impact of COVID-19, possibly more so than most other economic sectors, mainly because of the almost total shutdown of borders and of the aviation sector — no flights means no guests,” said W Hospitality Group’s Managing Director, Trevor Ward.
With so many of the players locked down, it is expected that fewer deals will be signed, and it is inevitable that some of the planned openings in 2020 will be delayed, due to closed or slower-paced construction sites, restrictions on funding and a lack of market demand.
“According to our latest data, there are 90 hotels with 17,000 rooms scheduled to open in 2020, but we estimate that at least half of these will be delayed, bringing the actualisation rate down to no more than 40%,” he added.
2019 was a record year for the industry with 68 chain hotels opening, representing 75% of those which were scheduled to open with 11,000 rooms added.
Marriott, the world’s largest hotel chain, has the largest pipeline in Africa, with 22 per cent more hotels and 6 per cent more rooms than its main rival Accor. However Accor has been pushing up the competition, signing 25 new deals last year compared to Marriott’s 17 new projects.
If Accor is poised to overtake Marriot as the largest hotel operator on the continent if it manages to maintain its hotel opening rate at 2019 levels according to the report.
“We have to wait and see what will happen in the second half of 2020, and in 2021, as we emerge from lockdown and other restrictions.Tourism is such an important industry in Africa, because of the direct and indirect jobs that it creates and sustains, as well as its strong foreign currency earnings.We are anxious to see hotels reopen and get back to contributing to the African growth story,” Trevor Ward said.