Twenty-seven global hotel brands have announced plans to open new or additional hospitality facilities in Kenya over the next four years, cementing the country’s position as East Africa’s business hub.
The new hotels will bring to the market 4,232 new hotel rooms by 2023, according to disclosures made in the 2019 report of Hotel Chain Development Pipeline in Africa.
“Over in East Africa Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia continue to be the stars, much of their growth driven by international and domestic tourism,” reads part of the report.
Tourism data shows there were two million visitors arriving in Kenya in 2018 compared with 1.5 million international check-ins the previous year.
In addition to this, domestic bed nights for the year 2018 grew to 3.9 million, a 9.03 percent increase compared to 3.6 million in 2017.
“Ranked among Africa’s top-10 fastest growing economies, Kenya represents exciting opportunities for our industry,” said Marriott International Vice President for Middle East and Africa Ibrahim Barghout early this month.
He spoke during the official unveiling of Sankara Nairobi, Autograph Collection, a partnership between Marriott International and the Sankara Hotel Group.
According to the Pipeline report, 67 percent of the proposed hotel rooms are already under construction with the remaining 33 percent in the planning stage.
Nairobi remains the key investment destination for global hoteliers, with 3,167 rooms -- representing 74.8 percent of the total number of rooms slated for the Kenyan capital.
Mr Barghout described Nairobi as Kenya’s heartbeat and East Africa’s most cosmopolitan city.
"It is a good thing that we have international brands showing confidence in Kenya as a destination through their investments. We now have the bed capacity in Nairobi to allow those who bid for conferences to get them," said Kenya Tourism Federation CEO Susan Ongalo.
French hospitality chain Accor has Nairobi as part of the ten key cities in Africa for hotel chain investment.
"Dakar, Abidjan, Douala, Luanda, Nairobi, Dar-es-Salaam and Addis Ababa are cities where we aim to have between three and five hotels due to the size of the economy, market, long-term fundamentals and supply and demand opportunities," said Andrew Mclachlan, Radisson Hotel Group’s Senior Vice President for Development, Sub-Saharan Africa.
The Radisson Hotel Group is set to open its second Radisson Blu hotel this year.
Radisson, Accor, City Lodge, Hilton, Swiss International, City Blue and Marriott are some of the brands expected to grow their local footprint with new properties in the country.
Kenya is currently estimated to have a total of 68 global branded hotels, a figure that is expected to increase with the current investment trend.
"The international chains must have seen potential in Kenya’s tourism segment. This is something that local players can look and tap into," said Ms Ongalo.
The bulk of the hotels in the pipeline are expected to open in 2021, with 1,155 rooms scheduled to enter into the market. 2019 will see 746 rooms which will include Radisson Blu Hotel and Residences as well as Pullman by Accor.
In 2020 and 2023, another 455 and 350 rooms will open respectively although the timelines of the other 428 rooms is still not set.