International luxury hotel brands are looking to put money into East Africa’s hospitality industry, with America’s Marriott announcing plans to set up shop in Kampala and Nairobi.
The firm is constructing the Ksh10 billion ($98.8 million) JW Marriott Hotel next to Villa Rosa Kempinksi, in Nairobi’s Westlands area, after it signed an agreement with Chinese firm Avic.
It is also acquiring two properties in Uganda, where it has been operating the Protea Hotel for the past two years, after acquiring South Africa-based Protea Hospitality Holding. Marriott is already in Kigali.
East Africa remains attractive to investors, which has pushed up the demand for accommodation and hospitality products.
In Kenya, more than 10 firms have completed or announced their entry into the hospitality industry in the past one year, with plans to build some 2,956 rooms.
In Uganda, nine international hotels plan to build 1,397 rooms. Tanzania has 15 hotels in the pipeline, which are projected to increase the bed capacity by 1,491.
Sudan has one hotel coming up which will have 220 rooms while South Sudan has three hotels coming up, with a capacity of 593 rooms. Burundi has two brands coming up with 140 rooms.
East Africa is, however, facing stiff competition from West Africa, which has more than double the number of hotels in the pipeline in East Africa.
Nigeria leads with more than 8,500 rooms in 51 planned new hotels. That is more than the entire capacity in East and Central Africa combined.
Kenya Tourism Board acting chief executive Jacinta Nzioka Mbithi said that marketing strategies were in place to help the country compete favourably with North and West Africa.
“For example, we have been staging visibility campaigns in South Africa, Nigeria, the Gulf Co-operation Council countries and India, and also making efforts to partner with airlines for advertisement,” said Ms Mbithi.