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Radisson Blu eyes Uganda as Africa portfolio grows to 100 hotels

The hotel’s growth has been balanced between green field projects and take-overs

Kampala, Uganda | RONALD MUSOKE | Radisson Hotel Group is keenly eyeing the Ugandan market as it ramps up expansion across the African continent.

Ramsay Rankoussi, Radisson Hotel Group’s Vice President in charge of development (Africa and Turkey) told The Independent in an email on July 21 that the East African nation is one of the markets that is of interest to the Group.

“We are currently assessing opportunities in both Entebbe and Kampala and we certainly hope to accelerate our presence across the country,” he said.

He told The Independent that Radisson had originally secured a Radisson Blu Hotel in Kampala but the project has been delayed and construction is yet to start.

Rankoussi made the comments as the hotel chain announced the addition of six new properties to its portfolio, bringing the group’s overall number of properties to 100 across 32 African markets.

Among the new properties are Radisson’s debut in new markets, the introduction of additional brands and the strengthening of the hotel chain’s presence in cities the group had earlier identified for scaled growth.

Elie Younes, the Radisson Hotel Group’s executive vice president and chief development officer, said the acquisition of six new hotels shows Radisson’s commitment to the continent, adding that Radisson believes in the “vast potential of Africa.”

New rooms in Mali, South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana

The six new hotel deals include; the 200-room Radisson Collection Hotel Bamako in Mali which is scheduled to open within the next six months following a re-branding plan. According to a statement The Independent has seen, this hotel will be the first Radisson Collection hotel to open in the continent.

In South Africa, Radisson Hotel & Convention Centre Johannesburg, which is near the O.R. Tambo International Airport, is scheduled to open before the end of 2020. The hotel consists of 289 modern and timelessly designed rooms, of which 248 are newly built and 41 have been converted from an existing hotel.

On South Africa’s east coast is the Park Inn by Radisson, Durban Intl. Airport, Dube, a
new-build hotel which strengthens Radisson Hotel Group’s current portfolio of 15 hotels (3,007 rooms) in operation and under development in the country.

This property is expected to complement the national business circuit with a Park Inn by Radisson in the cities of Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg.

In Nigeria, Radisson Blu Hotel Abuja City Centre, which was scheduled to open in 2024, is the Group’s first hotel in the city, complementing the existing nine hotels in operation and under development in Nigeria.

Located in the heart of the central business district of Nigeria’s federal capital, the 258-room hotel will boast five different food and beverage outlets from a specialty restaurant and all-day-dining restaurant to a lobby bar and café, a picturesque pool terrace and a premium business class lounge.

In nearby Ghana, Radisson Hotel & Apartments Accra is scheduled to open in 2023. It has seen a full renovation of an existing 121 room hotel and construction of an additional tower which will offer 54 hotel apartments, creating a mixed-use development.

In Ethiopia, Radisson Hotel Group is also scheduled to open Radisson Hotel Addis Ababa, the fifth hotel in the country in 2021. The hotel is located just 4km from Ethiopia’s newly expanded Bole International Airport.

The 114-room hotel will boast a wide variety of food and drink outlets; the hotel will offer guests a truly local experience in a traditional Ethiopian specialty restaurant and bar and appease international taste buds in a bespoke all-day-dining restaurant which leads out into a pool bar. In addition, the hotel will also have a third bespoke panoramic bar.

Early this year, the Radisson Hotel Saint Denis in the Indian Ocean territory of Reunion came on board placing the group firmly on track to reach over 150 hotels in operation and under development across the continent within the next five years.

Rankoussi, the group’s vice president, development for Africa and Turkey, said the Radisson Blu’s growth has been well balanced between green field projects and strategic take-overs of existing hotels.

“We aim to further accelerate our presence across the continent through conversions, especially as liquidity remains a critical challenge. We have revisited our brand architecture to enable us to quickly integrate existing hotels to our network.”

He said the group’s strategy will be reinforced as the group’s brands continue to demonstrate a better value proposition to our owners.

“Following our revised strategy, we believe we are now geared in providing solutions to the investment community for every type of asset, every segment and at every stage – from funding, to construction and repositioning.”

Local tourism industry executives have in the past told The Independent that attracting global hotel chains like Radisson Blu is a boon for Uganda as such hotels appeal to high-end visitors.

Amos Wekesa, the executive director of Great Lakes Safaris told The Independent recently that when a country attracts global hotel brands such as Radisson Blu, it exposes Uganda to spenders who prefer to stay in such hotels.

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