Photograph — hospitalitynet

Hilton Worldwide Holdings is planning to build more hotels in Africa as part of its expansion plans on the continent. Its plans include opening more of its Curio Collection brand hotels after it debuted the first hotel under the brand earlier this week.

The Curio Collection Brand is a soft brand from Hilton Holdings; every hotel signed to the brand will be supported by Hilton Worldwide Holdings but will be allowed to keep its individual brand.

The first African hotel under the Curio Collection Brand is Legend Hotel, Lagos. The hotel is located within the Murtala Mohammed International hotel in Lagos and is the first of seven hotels to be opened under the brand in Nigeria alone. Legend Hotel is also Hilton’s second hotel in Nigeria.

The company plans to invest $50 million in the next five years to add more hotels in 13 countries where it does not currently operate including Botswana, Ghana, eSwatini, Uganda, Malawi, and Rwanda, to the Curio collection brand.

Hilton Worldwide Holdings announcement becomes the fourth of such from some of the biggest global hotel chains. Radisson Hotels announced on Tuesday that it would be opening 10 new hotels across the African continent in the coming nine months. “We are thrilled to be announcing 10 new hotel deals in just nine months, which equates to a new signing every month,” Radisson’s sub-Saharan Africa senior vice president for development Andrew Mclachlan told Reuters. It will be building a luxury hotel in Lagos, Nigeria, a lifestyle hotel in Ivory Coast, and a Radisson Blu in Morocco. Marriot hotels and Hyatt hotels also have plans to expand in Africa, the former wants to increase operations by 50 percent across the continent, including to Mozambique, while the latter wants to double its hotels in Africa by 2020.

Africa is seen as investment worthy, due to its emerging economies and its growing middle class. Though there have been setbacks in terms of government policies, business-friendly environment, and debts with local partners like in the case of Intercontinental hotels in Nigeria, many hotel brands are still choosing to invest on the continent. A key attraction could also be the continent’s (especially sub-Saharan Africa) rising tourism industry, which experienced an 11 percent increase in tourist arrivals in 2016, with international tourist arrivals to the continent increasing from 24 million in 1995 to 56 million in 2014. Tourism revenues have tripled within that period too, from $14 billion to $47 billion.

Airbnb, the online marketplace and hospitality service provider, has already spread around the continent and securing its own market share of Africa’s tourism sector. It has been able to shift its services from “novelty accommodation to a mainstream tourist option” in Africa, seemingly taking the place of hotels on the continent.

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