Marriott to Become Africa’s Largest Hotel Chain

Marriott International is about to become Africa’s largest hotel chain with its planned acquisition of Cape Town-based Protea Hospitality Holdings.
Protea Hotels
The deal allows Marriott to buy the Protea Hotels’ brands and its management business that franchises 116  hotels across three brands with 10,184 rooms in South Africa and six other Sub-Saharan African countries.

The transaction would nearly double  Marriott’s distribution in Africa to more than 23,000 rooms, and would also provide the hotel chain with a plan to expand across the continent.

Protea Hotels was founded in 1984. Its hotels include the lifestyle boutique Protea Hotel Fire & Ice and the deluxe African Pride Hotels collection.  In addition to its 80 hotels in South Africa, Protea Hotels has a significant presence in Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

“Africa has significant untapped potential for travel and tourism, both as a destination and source of new global travelers,” said Arne Sorenson, president and chief executive officer of Marriott International, in a statement.

“The continent’s GDP is anticipated to grow at over five percent annually over the next several years which we expect will raise more people into the emerging middle class.  With the Protea Hotels acquisition, our expanded footprint should allow us to become the first choice of Africa’s rapidly growing population of young, sophisticated travelers, and drive loyalty to our Marriott Rewards program both within Africa and globally.”

Accordingt to Alex Kyriakidis, president of Marriott International for the Middle East and Africa, the development cycle for opening new hotels in Africa is typically long due to the challenges posed by emerging infrastructure. “Joining forces with Protea Hotels and their highly respected management team is the strongest way to jumpstart Marriott’s footprint in Africa,” Kyriakidis said.

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