Tourism to increase in Africa by 2030, branded hotel chains to follow

04 June 2018 4 min. read

Real estate and property consultancy Knight Frank has released its ‘Africa Hotels 2018’ report, which predicts an increase in the amount of tourism into the continent, and a corresponding influx of the world’s top branded hotel chains. As per the report, Africa will be receiving nearly 135 million international tourists annually by 2030.

The volume of tourists that frequent a region is often a key indicator of its overall prosperity. The willingness of families to visit signals safety and security, while a flow of executives indicates a flourishing economy with high potential. Within this metric of evaluation, Africa appears to be firmly on the road to prosperity.

Statistics compiled in Knight Frank’s report reveal that the overall economy in Africa is projected to grow by a staggering 60% in just over a decade up to 2030 to reach a value of nearly $4 trillion. As is often the case, economic prosperity will bring about an increase in urbanisation, to the extent that the urban population on the continent will grow by 63% over the same period to reach 770 million.

Top ten African countries for tourism

handful of large cities are already responsible for a substantial portion of the continent’s economic activity, and the urbanisation drive is set to take the number of cities on the continent with 5 million+ populations from 7 to 15 by 2030. Over the same period, the number of tourists flowing into the continent will increase by as much as 134 million.

Most of these tourists will gravitate towards the cities and business centres, although the specific areas of popularity remain ambiguous. A report from HTI Consulting earlier this year – which studied hotel occupancy rates across Africa’s top cities – revealed that Lagos and Accra appeared to be the most popular cities.

Knight Frank’s analysis breaks the tourism data down by country rather than city, although the results are still fairly different from those of HTI. As per the report, Morocco is currently the country with the highest levels of tourism, with 10.3 million arrivals annually, followed closely by South Africa with 10 million.

Number of branded hotel chains across African countries

Tunisia and Egypt place in third and fourth places with 5.7 million and 5.3 million annual arrivals respectively. Zimabwe comes in fifth with 2.2 million, while Algeria, Mozambique, Botswana, Cote d’Ivoire and Namibia complete the top ten, each with between 1 and 2 million tourists each year.

These numbers are set to increase by over 100% by 2030, and the high-profile hotel brands across the world have recognised the opportunity. In correspondence with the distribution of tourists, the current pool of international hotel chains is similarly concentrated in the Northern African region, with the exception of South Africa, which has the largest number of branded hotels in the continent at 430.

The North African countries of Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia follow in terms of brands, with 300, 153, and 103 hotels respectively. Kenya is in fifth place with 68 hotels, while Mauritius is in sixth with 60. The latter’s presence on the list is not surprising, not only because of its renowned aesthetic appeal, but also due to its free exchange agreements with a number of European countries, which gives its citizens one of the strongest passports in Africa.

Africa hotel numbers by chain

Nigeria, which is the largest economy on the continent, follows in seventh with 46 hotels, while Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Algeria round off the top ten with between 20 and 50 hotels each.

As per the report, these numbers are set to soar over the next decade, as the largest hotel chains devise their strategies for Africa. The Hilton chain, for instance, has launched an Africa Growth Initiative late last year, which involves the establishment of 100 hotels across the continent, valued at $50 million.

Marriott International plans to open over 200 hotels across Africa by 2022, while Accorhotels plans to open 50 new properties in Angola itself. The Radison Hotel Group, the Louvre Hotels Group and the Intercontinental Hotels Group all have similar expansion plans over the next few years.