Protea Hotels would invest about R627m developing two hotels in Uganda, it said at a signing ceremony in Dubai.
The two new hotels in Kampala will be in addition to the two hotels Protea already operates in Uganda. It will also soon open a hotel in Rwanda.
The South African hotel chain is now part of multinational group Marriott, which intends adding 91 hotels in the Middle East and Africa region by 2020. This will bring more than 18,000 hotel rooms to market and expand Marriott’s reach to eight new countries.
“Signing in Dubai affirms the company’s confidence in the strength of the Ugandan economy and in prospects for growth on the African continent,” Marriott International president for Middle East and Africa Alex Kyriakidis said.
The new Protea Hotel Naguru Skyz and the Protea Hotel Pinnacle are both situated in Kampala’s suburb of Naguru, an area popular for upmarket residential and commercial property, which has become a sought-after location for company headquarters and diplomatic missions in recent years.
“The development of the two new hotels comes at a time when Kampala is ripe for the expansion of its hotel sector. The last hotel development dates back to 2007,” Mr Kyriakidis said. “The demand for additional, quality accommodation establishments is evident in the high occupancy levels experienced by existing hotels and the consistently high average room rates.”
South African visitor numbers for the December to January holiday period were higher than in the previous year, and prospects look positive for the industry this year. Hotel occupancy figures were looking positive for the group, according to Mr Kyriakidis.
Protea Hotels Uganda MD Stuart Cook said the tourism sector was one of the Ugandan government’s major focus areas of growth.
The two new hotels will directly create more than five hundred new jobs. Protea has teamed up with Makerere University Business School’s Hospitality Management Programme to identify and develop the next generation of industry leaders through its experiential training programmes.
East Africa in general has seen impressive economic expansion — significantly higher than global figures — and with its newly discovered oil deposits soon to be commercially exploited, Uganda, in particular, offers great prospects.
“Africa is part of the strategic growth plan for Marriott International,” Protea Hotels and African Pride Hotels marketing manager Nicholas Barenblatt said. “Africa is the continent where most of the growth in the hospitality industry is likely to occur over the next few years.”
source" Business Day