The Rezidor Hotel Group plans to open 25 hotels in Africa and 10 in SA by 2010 valued at $1bn to take advantage of the strong demand for internationally branded and operated full-service hotels and resorts on the continent.
Senior vice-president and chief development officer Puneet Chhatwal said yesterday Africa had emerged in the past few years as an important market for Rezidor.
"We have been focusing all our resources in Africa because the continent is more stable today than it was 10 years ago. There are huge opportunities for us to grow our brands," Chhatwal said.
Rezidor, which is based in Belgium, controls a chain of 323 hotels under the brand names Radisson, Carlson, Park Inn and Regent.
It employs more than 25000 staff and has 66000 rooms in 48 countries, mainly in Europe.
In the first six months of this year, Rezidor signed for six new hotels in Africa, four were under construction and would open in the next few months, and in Mali last week the Radisson Hotel Bamako opened its doors.
Hotels under construction were the Radisson Hotel Lagos (Nigeria) and Radisson Hotel Dakar (Senegal), scheduled for completion in the fourth quarter of this year and first quarter of next year respectively.
In SA, three hotels were under construction and last week, the group announced a new R360m hotel in Blaauwberg, a property with 144 rooms and scheduled to open in the fourth quarter of 2010.
The group is planning to open the 290-room Radisson SAS Sandton hotel in the Sandton central business district, and the 173-room Radisson SAS Port Elizabeth, in the last quarter of this year.
Rezidor's mid-market brand, Park Inn, would be opening in Sandton in the first quarter of 2010. It will be directly across the road from Sandton's Gautrain rapid rail station, and will have 190 rooms.
Continental expansion includes the construction of two Radisson hotels in east Africa: the 209-room Radisson in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) and the 245 room Radisson in Nairobi (Kenya).
The group announced its sixth hotel in Egypt, the Radisson Hotel Cairo, Heliopolis, featuring 427 rooms, and located in the emerging residential and commercial area of Heliopolis, next to Cairo's international airport.
The latest announcement is the Radisson Resort & Spa Saïdia in Morocco.
"With these development signings, we are now present in 53 countries across Europe, the Middle East and Africa," said Andrew McLachlan, who is responsible for the group's growth on the African continent and Indian Ocean islands.
Recognising Africa's growing potential and the drastic lack of quality hotels in many countries, the Rezidor Hotel Group signed a à35m financial joint venture agreement with four Nordic government funds to expand its presence on the continent.
"As part of our development strategy for Africa, a business development office was established in SA 18 months ago," McLachlan said.
"As a hotel management company, the Rezidor Hotel Group has identified a strong demand for internationally branded and operated full service hotels and resorts in Africa," he said.
"We can confirm our aggressive growth in Africa with both the Radisson and Park Inn brands ... We have significant hotel management expertise in areas like branding, international sales and marketing, technical, training of personnel and other aspects of operating a quality hotel chain."