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Hospitality Projects Update: Africa

As the world is cautiously following the latest COVID-19 news and tries to predict its impact on the hospitality and travel sectors, it is important to keep track of the status of the projects currently undergoing development or scheduled to launch in the nearest future. This might be the one metric that allows industry professionals to get a glimpse of the investors’ and developers’ sentiment and align the collective expectations of market performance. As such, here is a roundup of the latest updates.

The good

In general, Africa’s hotel pipeline looked quite promising in the beginning on 2020. According to Top Hotel News, a total of 91 properties with 16,955 rooms were planned to launch on the continent this year, with another 68 hotels (14,775 rooms) scheduled for 2021. The latter number is likely to increase as some projects will inevitably have to be postponed due to the COVID-19 impact on the industry as a whole. Such a view is unfortunately supported by the fact that only one major opening was announced recently – Swiss International The Vistana in Lagos, Nigeria, a four-star beachfront property.

The not so good

Sol Oasis Marrakech by Melia – an upscale four-star resort by a known Spanish brand – has delayed its opening till July 3rd for now, which will hopefully allow it to scoop initial profits when the market opens up. Other major pushbacks are the two Ritz-Carlton hotels: Ritz-Carlton Dar es Salam and Ritz-Carlton Tamuda Bay, both in Morocco, are postponed till further notice.

The prospects

While experts are cautious in making any claims about the market performance in the nearest future, some of them see the rise of value-driven tourism quite likely. As such, the aparthotel projects, alongside traditional hotels that are flexible enough to expand their service scope to non-essentials, are presumed to attract more attention from the demand side of the market, and subsequently, from the investors. Such claims are perhaps justified, given the raise of intracontinental business travel and the increasing disposable incomes of domestic travelers. However, it is also important to remember that, unlike for many countries in the Global North, the impact and scale of current pandemic are not yet fully understood in Africa, and need close monitoring in order to be able to spot the emerging trends and demand-supply dynamics.

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