Botswana earmarked for Marriot’s expansion

Botswana has been earmarked for Marriot International Inc.’s ambitious expansion exercise on the African continent.

The brand is planning to have more than 200 hotels with 37 000 guestrooms open by 2022, The Voice can reveal.

Marriott, the parent company of African hotel chain, Protea Hotels, has channeled approximately P85 billion of capital investment through its real estate partners in a move where Botswana alongside Benin, Senegal, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania have been identified as new markets.

Marriott acquired Protea Hotels for P2.1 billion in 2014, and the company now operates 140 hotels with about 24 000 guestrooms across 12 brands in Algeria, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia.

After launching in South Africa, the brand has expanded in recent years to Zambia, Nigeria, Namibia, Malawi, Uganda, Tanzania and Ghana.

Last Friday, President and Managing Director, Middle East and Africa for Marriott International, Alex Kyriakidis told Voice Money on the sidelines of a regional tourism Indaba in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe that Botswana is on Marriot’s expansion radar.

“Botswana is a young nation with its population expected to grow four times in the next 35 years,” said Kyriakidis, adding that there is a lot of potential in Botswana thanks to its magnificent flora and fauna.

Kyriakidis said Protea Hotel Gaborone is scheduled to welcome its first guests at the beginning of 2018. The city hotel, he said will be located in the new central business district of Gaborone surrounded by recently developed offices, retail facilities and offices.

This follows the signing of a deal to open in this diamond rich nation being its ninth country on the continent – a development that paved for the envisaged opening of the 160-roomed hotel.

Announcing the development mid last year, Kyriakidis said, “This latest development reflects our ongoing commitment to doing business in Africa.”

In 2016 alone, 10 new hotels were scheduled to open in Africa alone, bringing an additional 1 623 guest rooms to the market.

“With this sort of economic success and the positive outlook for the country, we certainly see strong value in this venture in Botswana,” Kyriakidis said.

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