The tourism sector in Africa is growing by leaps and bounds with the continent welcoming 57 million international tourist arrivals in 2016 according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
With a current population of around 1.2 billion people, UN projections suggest that this figure will more than double by 2050 and that it will pass 4 billion by the end of the century. Africa is increasingly attracting global tourists in search of unique experiences found nowhere else in the world.
The UNWTO projects the number of tourists visiting Africa will reach 134 million by 2030.
At present, Morocco is the top destination with over 10 million arrivals every year, followed by South Africa but future growth is forecast to be strongest in the East, West and Central regions of Africa.
Tunisia follows with arrivals of 5.7m and then Egypt with 5.4m tourists in 2016.
Over the long term, the UN World Tourist Organization forecasts that international tourist numbers in Africa will grow at one of the fastest rates globally.
With projected increased arrivals of tourists and a growing population, hotel chains are making investments on the continent.
“Global and local hotel chains have targeted Africa as a growth region, due to both its relative undersupply of international-quality hotels, and the expectation of increased demand for rooms,”
Africa’s fast-growing, economically developing cities will need increased numbers of hotel rooms to accommodate both business travellers and rising tourist demand.
Currently South Africa has the highest collection of hotel brands and chains, with almost 30% of the continent’s chain hotels. The largest hotel markets in South Africa are Johannesburg and Cape Town, but chain hotels are spread widely across the country, due in large part to the extensive hotel networks of local brands such as Protea Hotels, Tsogo Sun and City Lodge.
Outside of South Africa, the largest concentration of chain hotels is in the North African countries of Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia. Resort locations such as Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada and Marrakesh where demand is driven by business travellers in addition to tourism.
In contrast, some of Africa’s largest cities, including Kinshasa, Khartoum and Addis Ababa, have only a handful of international branded hotels. Across Africa, more than half of the continent’s capital cities have fewer than five chain hotels each with Kampala woefully supplied.
The East Africa region also accounts for a significant share of pipeline projects, with 26% of the projects under development. Hotel development hotspots in East Africa include the major cities of Kenya, Ethiopia and Tanzania.
Currently, Kenya sits fifth in the list of top 10 African countries with the highest number of chain and branded hotels—excluding lodges, safari camps, chalets and cruise-hotels—according to data compiled by Knight Frank Research for up to December 2017.
The Hotels Africa 2018 report shows Kenya had 68 chain and branded hotels, as South Africa led with 430, followed by Egypt (300), Morocco (153) and Tunisia (103). Mauritius, Nigeria, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Algeria are the other countries in the top 10 list.