Just four words are needed to sum up the main findings of this year’s African hotel chain development pipeline survey conducted by W Hospitality Group, in association with the Africa Hospitality Investment Forum (AHIF); those words are Egypt, Morocco, Accor and Marriott.This year’s annual survey, which is widely acknowledged as the industry’s most authoritative source, has, as of Q1 2022, a record 42 global and regional (African) contributors, reporting on a pipeline of hotel development activity totalling around 80,300 rooms in 447 hotels, in 42 of Africa’s 54 countries.
Looking first at the number of rooms physically under construction, Morocco and Egypt are ahead of the pack, with 5,577 and 6,142 rooms respectively. They are followed by: Ethiopia, 3,871; Cape Verde, 3,016; Nigeria, 2,544; Kenya, 2,450; Algeria, 2,337; Tunisia, 2,280; South Africa, 1,948 and Senegal, 1,919. In Tunisia, Kenya and Morocco, over ¾ of the pipeline is “onsite”, whereas in Egypt, 71% is just at the planning stage, reflecting its relatively “young” pipeline (a lot signed in the last 3 years). While Nigeria has 45% onsite; eight of the 15 hotels (with half of the total rooms) that have started construction have stalled, and the sites are closed.

Hotel Chain Development Pipelines in Africa 2022
Top 10 Countries by Pipeline Status

Hotels

Rooms

Total

Onsite Construction

1

Egypt

85

21,281

6,142

28.9%

2

Morocco

50

7,209

5,577

77.4%

3

Ethiopia

29

5,206

3,871

74.4%

4

Cape Verde

17

4,639

3,016

65.0%

5

Nigeria

33

5,619

2,544

45.3%

6

Kenya

24

3,155

2,450

77.7%

7

Algeria

15

3,202

2,337

73.0%

8

Tunisia

14

2,918

2,280

78.1%

9

South Africa

21

3,133

1,948

62.2%

10

Senegal

13

2,693

1,919

71.3%

The picture changes somewhat when one looks at rooms being planned as well as those under construction. In this approach, Egypt is the star. It doesn’t just lead the country table, with over 21,000 rooms in 85 hotels in development, up 20 per cent on last year; but it is streaking ahead of the pack. It has almost three times the number of new rooms planned as Morocco, and almost four times Nigeria, which was top of the table for many years. What’s more, with continued signing activity (20 hotels with about 5,250 rooms last year), Egypt now accounts for over 25 per cent of the total hotel development pipeline. Morocco has 7,209 rooms in development, spread across 50 new hotels; Nigeria has 5,619 rooms in 33 hotels, Ethiopia has 5,206 rooms spread across 29 hotels and Cape Verde has 4,639 rooms in 17 hotels. The next five places are taken by Algeria, 3,202 rooms, Kenya, 3,155 rooms, South Africa, 3,133 rooms Tunisia, 2,918 rooms and Senegal 2,693 rooms.

Hotel Chain Development Pipelines in Africa 2022
Top 10 Countries by Number of Rooms

Hotels

Rooms

Average Size

1

Egypt

85

21,281

250

2

Morocco

50

7,209

144

3

Nigeria

33

5,619

170

4

Ethiopia

29

5,206

180

5

Cape Verde

17

4,639

273

6

Algeria

15

3,202

213

7

Kenya

24

3,155

131

8

South Africa

21

3,133

149

9

Tunisia

14

2,918

208

10

Senegal

13

2,693

207

Total

301

59,055

196

Notably, four out of the five North African countries are in the top ten; and the top ten countries represent 67% of the total hotels, and 74% of the rooms, in the survey.
While Africa’s hotel development pipeline is at its strongest ever, 80,291 rooms being planned or constructed, the top-line number masks a reduction in Sub-Saharan Africa, where there has been a greater amount of hotel investment in recent years. Of the six sub-Saharan countries in the top 10, only Cape Verde has seen an increase in planned rooms, 33%, whilst the “power houses”, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya and South Africa have between them seen a decline of 29%; Nigeria is down 41%. There are three main reasons for the reduction: fewer new opportunities in the region; opening of some 2,700 rooms in 15 hotels last year, and a pipeline “cleansing” which the hotel chains do periodically to remove various projects which are unlikely to go ahead.

Hotel Chain Development Pipelines in Africa 2022
Regional Summary

2018

2019

2020

2021

2022

Hotels Rooms Hotels Rooms Hotels Rooms Hotels Rooms Hotels Rooms
North Africa 118 28,303 122 28,702 119 29,050 134 31,547 166 35,280
Sub-Saharan Africa 294 46,731 270 44,395 283 47,684 289 47,855 281 45,011
TOTAL 412 75,034 392 73,097 402 76,734 423 79,402 447 80,291

Looking at the development activity of the hotel chains, both Accor and Marriott are nearly as dominant as Egypt and Morocco, each representing just over 25% of the entire pipeline! Accor has 20,857 rooms in development, spread over 107 properties; Marriott has 20,248 rooms spread over 103 properties. Hilton, in third place, has around half as many rooms, 10,505 in 55 hotels. Radisson, 4th, has 6,248 rooms in 35 hotels. The next six places are taken by IHG, 3,136 rooms, Barceló, 2,488 rooms, Hyatt, 1,995 rooms, Meliá, 1,743 rooms, Louvre, 1,273 rooms, and Minor, 1,203 rooms.

Hotel Chain Development Pipelines in Africa 2022
Top 10 Hotel Chains by Number of Planned Hotels
Rank by Hotels

Units

Rooms

Change on 2020

Average Size

1

Accor

107

20,857

8.4%

195

2

Marriott International

103

20,248

8.1%

197

3

Hilton

55

10,505

1.5%

191

4

Radisson Hotel Group

35

6,248

-3.3%

179

5

IHG

17

3,136

10.8%

184

6

Barceló Hotel Group

8

2,488

0.0%

311

7

Hyatt Hotels & Resorts

12

1,995

-9.4%

166

8

Meliá Hotels & Resorts

5

1,743

-10.8%

349

9

Louvre Hotels Group

11

1,273

-4.2%

116

10

Minor Hotels

6

1,203

201

Trevor Ward, Managing Director, W Hospitality Group said: “The chains anticipate that 200 new hotels are expected to open this year and next, although their expectations can sometimes be over-optimistic! After a positive trend in 2019, the actualisation of hotel deals (ie: the proportion that actually opened, compared to what the chains expected to open) was less than 30 per cent in both 2020 and 2021 – however, that was quite understandable with pandemic travel restrictions killing the demand for hotel rooms.”
Trevor continued: “I am not surprised by the slow-down in the number of deals signed in sub-Saharan Africa, as the past couple of years have seen not only the pandemic, making it more difficult to travel and meet new partners, but also less appetite from investors for major markets such as Ethiopia, Nigeria and South Africa. However, what does surprise me is that the majority of investment is going into upscale, upper upscale and luxury hotels, when there is very strong demand across Africa for decent quality branded budget and midscale hotels.”
Matthew Weihs, Managing Director of The Bench, which organises AHIF, concluded: “While the hospitality industry has just been through the bleakest period in my professional career, it is fascinating to see that the pandemic has done nothing to dent long-term investor confidence in hospitality. If anything, the savviest financiers have seen it as an opportunity. They have been encouraged by enlightened governments, such as Morocco’s, which have spent $ billions on new infrastructure to incentivise investment in tourism. What’s more, judging by our other conferences this year that have sold out, we are seeing how keen people are to travel again and how valuable it is to meet face to face, rather than over a video link. I am confident that when AHIF takes place on 2-4 November, in Taghazout, close to Agadir, we will see the atmosphere buzzing, with highly productive networking and with more deals announced than ever before.”
An update to the pipeline development survey, along with in-depth insights, will be presented by Trevor Ward at AHIF. The event is the leading conference of its kind in Africa, connecting business leaders and fuelling investment in tourism projects, infrastructure and hotel development across the continent.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Bench Events.