Radisson investment decision a boost for Africa’s tourism marketers
By our News Team | 2021
International hotel group’s decision to invest heavily in West and Central Africa should create confidence and help to lure visitors back.
In what must be good news for Africa’s tourism and hospitality industry marketers, who have been struggling with the impact of Covid-19 on their businesses, one of the world’s biggest hotel chains has given a vote of confidence to the continent.
The giant Radisson Hotel Group announced that it has identified West & Central Africa as key markets in its African development strategy. Its aim is to double its portfolio of properties in this market by 2025 and bring the total number of hotels to 25.
“We have identified six countries for growth in West and Central Africa, with a clear strategy to have scaled growth in the key African capital cities, financial hubs and resort destinations,” said Erwan Garnier, Senior Director, Development, Africa at Radisson.
“We have also identified eight pro-active cities in West and Central Africa in which we are focusing our efforts for scaled expansion. The focus destinations are Abuja, Lagos, Accra, Abidjan, Dakar, Yaoundé, Douala, and Kinshasa.”
Catering for a variety of customer needs
He continued: “Our development strategy for West and Central Africa focuses on business hotels, resorts, serviced apartments and mixed-use developments.
“What sets us apart is our owner-centric approach with dedicated teams and relevant brands with the lowest development cost and access to development solutions, plus our adaptive solutions to meet local needs from compact offering, midscale to luxury, serviced apartments, lean operational model and clustering efficiencies.”
According to tourism researcher and academic, Dr Tafadzwa Matiza, the African tourism sector has, as a result of Covid, shed an estimated $83-billion in GDP contribution (down by 49.2%) and lost up to 7.2-million industry jobs compared to 2019 levels.
To help get the sector back on track, he believes marketers must promote African destinations as attractive but socially responsible locations. They must share information such as measures put in place to protect tourists to help travellers make their decisions.
Most importantly, tourism product owners must innovate and adapt their tourism offerings to meet the demand for safe domestic tourism. This would kick-start the tourism sector and prepare it for international tourism, Matiza says.