Kempinski AG, the luxury hotel chain, will open properties in three African countries this year and is looking at projects in five more, the company’s president said.
The hotelier, based in Geneva, is adding locations in Ghana, Angola and Kenya as it seeks to expand across the continent, Kempinski President and Chief Executive Officer Reto Wittwer said in an interview today in Nairobi.
“Our focus is in Nairobi as the gateway to the sub-Saharan region as we seek to unlock opportunities,” he said. “We are looking at opportunities in Zimbabwe, Zambia, South Africa, Central African Republic and Democratic Republic of Congo.”
Africa attracted 50 million tourists last year and that number is expected to grow as much as 6 percent in 2012, the World Tourism Organization said in January. Tourism earned the continent $4 billion in 2010, according to the seyhState of Tourism in Africa report published in September.
Kempinski already owns or operates hotels in Djibouti, Egypt, Namibia, Chad and Seychelles. Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast City in Accra, Ghana’s capital, is scheduled to open by the end of the year, according to Kempinski’s website. Wittwer did not give details on the Angola property.
In Kenya, Kempinski will operate the 202-room Villa Rosa Kempinski in Nairobi and the Olare Mara Kempinski tented camp in the Masai Mara game reserve, located 255 kilometers (158 miles) southwest of the Kenyan capital.
Simba Corp., a Nairobi-based automotive conglomerate that sells new vehicles through its flagship Simba Colt Motors Ltd., has spent $35 million to build both properties and hired Kempinski on a long-term contract, Simba Chief Executive Officer Adil Popat told reporters in Nairobi. Popat declined to give the contract’s length.
Hotel and restaurant revenue in Kenya, East Africa’s largest economy, grew by 5 percent in 2011 because of higher international arrivals and conferences, up from 4.2 percent the previous year, the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics said in a report released on May 15.
Tourism earnings rose 33 percent to 97.9 billion shillings ($1.1 billion) in 2011, according to the report.
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