Francophone Africa – The Continent’s Hottest Hospitality Market

Published on : Tuesday, October 9, 2018

unnamed (1)Identified as a strategic growth point for major international hotel brands, Francophone Africa has become one of the world’s most competitive and lucrative deal making environments. In a market first, the FrancoReal Summit taking place in Dakar, Senegal on 16 and 17 October 2018, will provide the platform for hospitality leaders from the Radisson Hotel Group, Mangalis Hotel Group and Accorhotels to engage with regional investors and developers.


According to global authority, Horwath HTL France’s managing partner, Philippe Doizelet, there has been a measurable uptick in activity due to the historically low penetration of international operators in the market.


“Investment opportunities within the hotel sector in French-speaking Africa are on the rise. This rise in sentiment is predominantly explained by the lack of quantitative and qualitative supply in some regions, with many hotels not being able to respond to the increasing demand.”


With 50 % of its Africa deals in 2018 taking place in the Francophone Region, one international operator focussed on the region is the Radisson Hotel Group, as its director of business development, Erwan Garnier explains.


“The Radisson Hotel Group has identified Francophone Africa as a key market, and we’re aggressively expanding within the region to become the market leader. Our objective is to double our current Francophone presence to 40 hotels with over 9,000 rooms in the market by 2022.”


Currently operating in 12 markets, Radisson’s growth strategy is matched by AccorHotels and Mangalis and other international and regional chains, who are upping the ante in the region says Doizelet.


“The market is currently dominated by Accor and the Radisson Hotel Group which continue their development in the region. Other international groups actively looking for new development opportunities in the region, are namely Hyatt, Hilton, Marriott, Kempinski, as well as regional groups including Azalaï, Mangalis and Onomo.”


Considered a regional specialist brand, but with a robust international management team, the Mangalis Hotel Group hopes to become the preeminent brand in the region says its chief executive officer, Olivier Jacquin.


“By 2022, Mangalis will be the regional hotel operating leader with 20 properties in operation and under development offering 2 600 over rooms in the various segments of the industry.” And with such ambitious plans to scale, 2019 is set to be a significant year for the nimble and fast-growing brand as they launch four of their Noon branded hotels in Benin, Niger and Ivory Coast.


With a significant number of brands entering the market, growth at this juncture remains constrained to the midscale pricing bracket, as there remains only a few locations for high-end developments says Doizelet.“So far, only a handful of destinations in French-speaking Africa are suitable for top end hotel development, such as Ivory Coast or Senegal.”


The major international groups seem to agree with Doizelet’s assessment especially in Senegal – with Radisson Hotel group particularly active in the Dakar market and using the city as a launchpad for regional growth.


As Garnier explains, “Senegal is the number one market for international investors because of its long-term economic stability. We already have two of the country’s leading internationally branded hotels; Radisson Blu Hotel, Dakar Sea Plaza and Radisson Hotel Dakar Diamniadio, however, we now want to introduce the rest of our African brands to Senegal, i.e. Radisson Collection, Radisson RED and Park Inn by Radisson.”

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