It has been a busy first quarter for the new Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group.

Formed in January through a partnership between US-based Carlson and Belgian-based Rezidor, the group opened the doors of a $42m Radisson Blu hotel in Addis Ababa that same month, then in March announced plans to establish two more hotels in Africa.

The first will be a $40m renovation of the Okoume Palace Hotel in the Gabonese capital Libreville, set to open in 2013.

The second, a $70m new-build in Conakry, Guinea, is scheduled to open in 2014, just in time for the Africa Cup of Nations tournament to be held in the city.

Stability equals demand

Leagues of businesspeople coming to Africa are increasing the demand for high-quality hotel rooms on the continent.

Andrew McLachlan, Carlson Rezidor’s vice president of business development for Africa and the Indian Ocean, says the group’s strategy is to “target politically stable countries with natural resources”.

Between them, Carlson and Rezidor – in which Carlson has a 50.3% majority shareholding – had just eight hotels open or under development in Africa five years ago.

Now the new group boasts 45 hotels in 19 countries, 20 of which are open and 25 under development. In November the group plans to inaugurate a hotel in Freetown, Sierra Leone, where McLachlan expects Carlson Rezidor will be the only player for the next five years.

Mozambique’s Maputo Radisson Blu is due to open its doors in May, though the opening was originally scheduled for the end of 2011.

The company is holding discussions about plans for developments in Kinshasa, Brazzaville and Cameroon.

Further south, McLachlan says an oversaturated Southern Africa means the group will only consider a takeover, rather than new-builds, in the region in the near future●

Source: The Africa Report