Straight from the African Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) in Nairobi, AccorHotels, the world’s leading travel & lifestyle group, announced a record year of development in Africa. Beginning with the 50% stake in the Mantis Group in April, followed by the announcement in late July of a dedicated Investment Fund with a targeted reach of USD $1 billion devoted towards sustainable development in Sub Sahara Africa, the journey continued with the acquisition of Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts in September. All this culminated with the very recent announcement of hospitality stalwart Mark Willis, to take the helm of the Middle East and Africa as the Group continues to set the pace and grow from strength to strength.
AccorHotels is the largest operator in Africa with a network of over 150 hotels in operation, representing close to 27,000 rooms across 23 countries. Moving forward the Investment Fund, in partnership with Katara Hospitality, will underscore growth and development for the region, providing a platform for a combined network of organic and acquisition reach of 250 hotels by 2025.
Following the acquisition of Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, which added over 50 hotels to the Group’s Middle East and Africa portfolio, including the Mövenpick Ambassador Hotel Accra and Mövenpick Hotel & Residences Nairobi, C-suite leadership was announced with Mark Willis as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for AccorHotels Middle East & Africa. With more than three decades of operational experience with leading hospitality groups, Willis spent over 12 years in the Middle East and Africa.
Speaking at the Regional Leaders panel at AHIF, Willis outlined the Group’s vision for Africa based on organic growth and development and a renewed focus on rebalancing AccorHotel’s presence in Africa with a focus on key cities and destinations in East and Southern Africa. He drew emphasis on the need for collaboration with local partners and to mobilize their expertise, intuitive knowledge and passion for community outreach, citing the Mantis Group as the perfect example of a hospitality leader in South Africa with genuine credentials in eco-tourism combined with wildlife conservation.
Over the course of the year, the Group also opened flagship properties and signed key projects, including the first Fairmont flag in Morocco with the opening of the Fairmont Royal Palm Marrakech and the conversion of the ibis Styles Nairobi, complete with energetic design and a vibrant open-air rooftop lounge. Key signings included the combination Novotel and Adagio residences in Abidjan, Novotel Algiers, and two strategic projects in Lagos with the MGallery Ikoyi and Pullman Ikoyi. The Group also announced the first Pullman brand in Ghana to open in 2021 – Pullman Accra Airport City – a mixed use complex with Pullman Living, a compelling extended stay solution in the premium market
Hand-in-hand with these achievements is a dedicated team of operators located across regional offices in Johannesburg, Dakar, Cairo, Dubai and Casablanca ensuring the success of each opening. From Design & Technical Services, Talent and Culture (Human Resources), Operations, Food and Beverage, Sales and Marketing to a fully-fledged pre-opening team and task force, AccorHotels builds confidence with owners by delivering the brand successfully to the market.