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Kenya, SA to lead in luxury hotel growth in Africa

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KENYA and South Africa have been named the projected continent leaders in luxury hotel growth – this according to Euromonitor International’s Top 100 Cities Destination Ranking 2017, recently released at World Travel Market (WTM) London.

The report, founded on research carried out in 100 countries, is based on international arrivals who spend 24 or more hours in a city, capturing insights into the traveller’s mindset, supporting factors and key drivers in the travel, accommodation preferences and individual interest in destination experience. In this light, South Africa is again projected as a key market entry point for investors and developers venturing into Airbnb rentals, as the sector is expected to see a 32 percent growth in 2017.

Noting that Johannesburg is the only sub-Saharan African city named in the top 100 City Destinations, Estelle Verdier, COO for Jumia Travel and the company’s former managing director points to the need for Kenya and the East African region to build on key factors that contribute positively on the numbers. ‘Opening up the skies to aviation industry players, showcasing our hotels and flights, as well as targeted destination marketing, are some of the key factors that players can explore.’

A parallel report by United Nations World Travel Organisation (UNWTO Tourism Highlights 2017) notes that despite the above-named challenges, Africa made a strong rebound in 2016, with an estimated increase of 8 percent in tourist numbers after a much weaker performance in the preceding two years.

Furthermore, sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) observed a 10 percent increase, leading in the overall recovery. Kenya took up the lead position at 17 percent, and Tanzania at 16 percent, also boasting double-digit growth in 2016 rebounding from weaker figures in 2015. South Africa, seen as the region’s lead destination enjoyed 13 percent growth in international arrivals.

A closer look at Kenya hospitality industry reveals a growing interest by international hotel chains such as Accor Hotels, Hilton brand, Carlson Rezidor and Acacia Premier, among others. According to a report by W-Hospitality Group, Kenya presently counts 19 upcoming hotels, with a total of 3,453 new rooms in the pipeline.

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