Marriott International continues its investment into the African continent

Marriott International, Inc. (NYSE:MAR) continues its investment into the African continent by following up the proposed 209-room Accra Marriott Hotel, with the announcement of two new hotels in Ethiopia.   The two properties are a Marriott Executive Apartments for extended stay travellers and a quality tier Courtyard by Marriott branded hotel. Both will be located in Addis Ababa and are scheduled to open in 2013 and 2015 respectively. The Courtyard by Marriott alone is expected to bring US$ 65million into the local economy over five years.
This marks Marriott International’s first foray into Ethiopia, after a number of similar announcements throughout the continent and is a sign of the company’s confidence in the growing African market.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Addis Ababa, Alex Kyriakidis, President and Managing Director of Marriott International Middle East and Africa, said that there is a direct correlation between a country’s ability to grow and the entrance of hotel providers into the market. “Hotels bring new untapped revenue into the market by boosting tourism numbers and dollars, building infrastructure and creating jobs, which all resonate throughout the economy as a whole.”
Marriott International has projected that by 2018, the new Courtyard by Marriott branded hotel’s total revenue will be ETB 242 million (US$ 13 million) per year – equating to ETB 1 billion (US$ 65million) injected into the economy over five years from only one 209- room hotel.
“The fundamental demand generators that drive our industry are alive and well on this continent,” Kyriakidis said. “Marriott International’s investment into this region represents the economic realisation for the need for hotels – countries need to invest in infrastructure, accommodation and airports to create jobs to grow the economy.
“By adding these two properties to its growing investment in Africa, Marriott International is demonstrating its confidence in the market – that it will grow and that the economy will move forward at a staggering pace.”
Tourism is the fourth largest foreign exchange earner in Ghana and the government recently implemented a Strategic Tourism Development Plan. The plan aims to highlight the importance of the sector to private companies and government agencies involved in the development of infrastructure to improve skills in the industry and to identify opportunities and programme developments necessary for the sector.
Demand for hotel rooms has also increased since the announcement of the discovery of oil off the Ghanaian coast and the subsequent granting of oilfield licenses
“All of these factors ensure we have a very high confidence in the Accra market,” Kyriakidis said. “There is an excellent supply of local talent and strong interest from Ghanaians overseas to return to work in International companies in Accra. The quality of graduates from the Accra based universities is also excellent.”
Marriott International is focusing its growth on Ethiopia, Benin, Gabon, Ghana, Nigeria and Rwanda, with a number of new properties scheduled to open over the next five years. “We are thrilled by the robust expansion of our African hotel portfolio,” said Kyriakidis.

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