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Carlson Rezidor further expands its strong presence in Africa

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Written by editor

Carlson Rezidor, one of the largest and most dynamic hotel groups worldwide, continues to strengthen its presence in Africa, the company’s most important growth market.

Carlson Rezidor, one of the largest and most dynamic hotel groups worldwide, continues to strengthen its presence in Africa, the company’s most important growth market. At the African Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF), the group announced the first Radisson Blu Residence in Nairobi/Kenya: the property with 123 units will be located adjacent to the State House and welcome the first guests in late 2016. It is Carlson Rezidor’s third project in Nairobi and at the same time the group’s fifth Radisson Blu residence in Africa – a growing segment that will be deployed further in capital cities across the continent.

Carlson Rezidor’s total portfolio in 27 countries in Africa now features 65 hotels (30 hotels with 6,700 rooms in operation and 35 hotels with 7,600 rooms under development). The group steadily delivers its leading pipeline: in 2015, eight hotels were opened in Africa; three of them even on the same day. Carlson Rezidor also made its entrance to the Indian Ocean with two resort openings in Mauritius. Five further openings are expected till year-end – among them Radisson Blu flagships in Lomé/Togo, Maputo/Mozambique and Nairobi/Kenya as well as the first Park Inn by Radisson in Nigeria.

A leading player in travel & tourism

“Africa is a powerhouse, and we are committed to unlock the continent’s potential. Driven by economic growth, rapid urbanisation and favourable demographics, and facing an undersupply of quality hotel rooms, Africa offers huge opportunities for growth. It plays a key role in our long-term strategy targeting asset-light and sustainable growth in EMEA and particularly in emerging markets. We want to be a leading player in the travel & tourism sector across the continent – constantly driving value for our owners, guests and employees”, said Wolfgang M. Neumann, President & CEO of Rezidor at AHIF.

Carlson Rezidor aims to establish its core brand Radisson Blu as the leading upper-upscale brand in Africa, present in capital cities and economic hubs. Radisson Blu has the largest pipeline of hotels and rooms under development on the continent (source: W Hospitality, 2015). Its sister brand Park Inn by Radisson ranks fourth – this young and dynamic mid-market offer is set for scaled growth in high potential primary and secondary markets. Additional segments are covered through the new luxury Quorvus Collection and the lifestyle select brand Radisson Red. “In 2015, we have signed the first Radisson Red hotel in EMEA in Cape Town/South Africa: the property will be very prominently located at V&A Waterfront and open in 2017 – attracting the highly connected, design-savvy Millennial traveller, and leading the way for a further roll-out of Radisson Red in African urban destinations”, said Elie Younes, Executive Vice President & Chief Development Officer of Rezidor.

A contributor to local communities

The group’s engagement in Africa goes far beyond hotel development and operation: as one of the most ethical companies worldwide, Carlson Rezidor has an industry-leading Responsible Business programme including group-wide energy and water saving initiatives and area-specific offers such as the Youth Career Initiative in Africa opening training and job opportunities to underprivileged young talent. Carlson Rezidor also supports selected hotel projects and owners in Africa, and provides equity financing through a collaboration agreement with several Nordic Development Funds. “Our joint vehicle ‘AfriNord’ was created in 2005 and extended in 2014. It has already successfully supported hotel developments in South Africa, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone and Mali, and created 1,500 new permanent jobs. It enables us to drive developments and to help our regional owners and business partners to reach project completion in time and on budget. Among the target countries for future projects are Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Angola, Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa”, commented Andrew McLachlan, Vice President Business Development Africa & Indian Ocean Islands at Rezidor.

Carlson Rezidor opened its first hotel in Africa in 2000, the Radisson Blu Waterfront Hotel, Cape Town/South Africa. Cape Town serves also as base for the group’s current Africa Area Support manned with a highly experienced, innovative and hands-on team of which 90% are African nationals.