McLean, Virginia, USA : Hilton Worldwide Holdings (HLT.N) plans to more than double its hotels in Africa in the next five years by mainly striking deals with existing hotels for conversion into its brand, its chief executive said.
Hilton plans to introduce its Curio Collection, an upscale hotel brand, on the continent, starting with a hotel at Lagos airport in Nigeria, Chris Nassetta, the company’s president and CEO, said.
“This hotel is a part of our strategy to connect guests to key cities and airport locations across the region,” he said in a statement issued on the sidelines of a hotel industry meeting in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital.
The continent continues to undergo rapid urbanization, with the United Nations forecasting that the world’s 10 fastest-growing cities will all be in Africa by 2035, he said.
“Hilton is seeing strong demand for its brands across the continent and expects to open eight hotels in total across Africa this year,” the company said.
The Mclean, Virginia-based firm has operated in Africa, where it has 41 open hotels and 53 in development, since 1959.
The pipeline of new facilities is part of its Africa growth initiative, launched last year, which involves the investment of $50 million over five years.
It will result in Hilton starting operations in countries where it does not have a presence such as Botswana and Rwanda.
Other big international hotel groups, including Radisson and Kempinski, are estimated to have about a third of the available room capacity on the continent.
The rest are independently-run hotels, offering opportunities to global operators to strike deals with their local counterparts, industry executives say.
Hilton yesterday opened the Legend Hotel Lagos Airport, Curio Collection by Hilton the company’s first Curio Collection by Hilton Hotel in Africa.
Legend Hotel Lagos Airport is located at Murtala Muhammed International Airport, which serves more than eight million passengers each year.
The stylish hotel is adjacent to the airport’s private jet terminal and has an exclusive immigrations and customs desk in the hotel for private jet passengers.
Handpicked to be part of the exclusive collection of one-of-a-kind hotels and resorts celebrated for their individuality, the hotel joins more than 60 Curio Collection hotels around the world.
This is Hilton’s first hotel in Lagos and its second in Nigeria, with an additional seven hotels in its development pipeline for the country.
Ahead of the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) in Nairobi, Hilton’s President and CEO, Chris Nassetta, said: “We continue to innovate in Africa with new brands and products, and we are pleased to introduce our Curio Collection brand here with the opening of Legend Hotel Lagos Airport.
“As the continent continues to undergo rapid urbanisation, with the UN forecasting that the world’s 10 fastest-growing cities will all be in Africa by 2035, this hotel is a part of our strategy to connect guests to key cities and airport locations across the region.”
Hilton expects to open at least 16 Hilton Garden Inn hotels in the coming five years, including brand entries in Kampala, Ghana, Malawi, eSwatini (formerly Swaziland) and many other strategic locations across sub-Saharan Africa.
Last year, Hilton launched the Hilton Africa Growth Initiative, which will support the conversion of existing hotels to Hilton brands with an investment of US$50 million over five years. During that period, Hilton expects to secure 100 conversion opportunities with some 15-20,000 rooms added to its portfolio to meet the growing need for quality branded hotels across the continent.
Hilton has been a continuous presence on the continent since 1959. With 41 open hotels and 53 in its development pipeline in Africa, Hilton expects to double its footprint across the continent in the next five years. This includes market entries in 13 countries where it does not currently operate including Botswana, Ghana, eSwatini (formerly Swaziland), Uganda, Malawi and Rwanda.
International chains, including Marriott International (MAR.O) and Hyatt Hotels (H.N), have been increasing their investments in Africa, which has some of the world’s fastest growing economies and a rising middle class.