Ethiopia: More global brands to join local hospitality industry

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Ethiopia: More global brands to join local hospitality industry

By Birhanu Fikade
Source: The Reporter
Parallel to the upcoming Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) 2015, scheduled to be held on Wednesday and Thursday in Addis for the second time, four more international hotels are expected to join the Ethiopian hospitality industry, it was learnt by The Reporter.

Organized by Bench Events, a globally renowned hospitality events organizers, this year’s AHIF is expected to see the announcement of four more new brands that will join the Ethiopian hotel business. According to Neway Berhanu, managing director of Calibra Hospitality Consultancy firm, the coming of these additional hotels brings the total number of international hotels operating in Ethiopia to more than a dozen in only five years’ time.

However, Neway declined to name which brand hotels are finalizing deals. Yet, The Reporter has learnt that the UK-based Wyndham Hotel Group is one of the four new comers with a new brand in addition to the Ramada – a project Wyndham and the ADM Business PLC are working on.

It is to be recalled that Wyndham Group, which operates seven brands and 7,500 hotels across the globe, inked a deal with ADM business PLC, a newly-formed local business and a subsidiary of Get-As International, to open the Ramada Addis – a four-star hotel in Addis Ababa. The Ramada Addis will be sited on Bole road. The hotel will have 136 rooms which are branded via Ramada Hotels and Resorts and it is expected to be functional this year. The Ramada Addis, which is nearing completion, has cost some 25 million USD. This property is expected to employ a staff of 250.

InterContinental Group is the other multinational hotel group that is set to come with more additional brands. Tsemex Hotels and Business PLC was the first to strike a deal with the British multinational hotels company InterContinental Group for a four-star hotel under the brand ‘Crowne Plaza’. Tsemex was able to secure some USD 20 million from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) – the private sector arm of the World Bank Group for the development of Crowne Plaza. The Reporter has learnt that IFC has disbursed the equivalent of some USD 19 million in local currency.

Last year the French-based Accor Group, another big player in the global hospitality business, signed a contract agreement with Enyi General Business PLC, which is currently constructing a 330-room Pullman Hotel, one of the brands Accor runs as an upscale establishment. According to information obtained by The Reporter, Accor Group is facilitating a loan amounting to USD 20 million from French creditors. That financing is still a work in progress, according to sources. Western International Inn, which operates Best Western, Best Western Plus and Best Western Premier with some 4,000 hotels in 100 countries, signed to add two more hotels in its list. Great Abyssinia Business PLC has inked agreements with Best Western for the latter to operate Best Western Plus Abyssinia Hotel and Best Western Noah Hotel, which are expected to be opened in 2015 and 2016 respectively. Best Western plus Abyssinia, which is planned to have the upper midscale brand, is to be located in the Bole Medhanealem area. It will have 168 rooms.

According to statements The Reporter has received, the opening of Marriott Executive Apartments Addis Ababa is expected to be announced on Wednesday.

Neway told The Reporter that since last year, Calibra was involved in ten hotel investment and management projects. The consultancy firm has some thirty hotel projects which include international restaurants where the South African Spur Corporation is the latest known to join the local business typically focused on serving the middle class and expatriates working in Ethiopia.

In an interview via email, Matthew Wheis, managing director of Bench Events, told The Reporter that Addis needs more brand hotels to meet the growing demands travelers have.

Talking about the benefits of embracing brand hotels in Ethiopia, Wheis said that “Local business gets the direct knock-on effect from the brands business. Of course, it initially provides good perception to a market – like any renowned brand (in whatever sector), it provides prestige and shows a market as capable as appealing to their typical customer. In this case, it shows the local market as accessible and approachable. The knock-on effect is that more tourism and investment comes from it – which, in turn, creates more jobs and wealth for the local market.” Last year AHIF was attended by Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn and some 500 participants. This year, it is expected that President Mulatu Teshome and some ministers from Africa will attend the forum.

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