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Month: September 2015

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts is developing a new 270-room luxury hotel in the Nigerian capital city of Abuja.

With a planned opening in 2019, Fairmont Abuja will be situated in the heart of the city’s central business district and only 30 km from the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport. A close proximity to the new International Conference Centre, due to open in 2018, will make the hotel an ideal venue for corporate groups, conferences and social events.

“We are very excited to bring the Fairmont brand to the Nigerian capital, fulfilling a growing demand for luxury, genuine hospitality in addition to helping shape an exciting cultural and culinary landscape,” said Jennifer Fox, president, FRHI International and Fairmont Brand. “As the continent’s largest economy and biggest oil producer, Nigeria is experiencing robust and stable growth making it a world-class destination and enticing location for both business and leisure travel.”

In an African city recognized for its beautiful rolling terrain, modern architecture and expansive road network, Fairmont Abuja will provide easy access to the diplomatic and government quarter, including the Presidential Complex, National Assembly and the Supreme Court. As Nigeria’s purpose built and planned city, Abuja also houses divisions of the United Nations, World Bank and major international embassies and consulates.

The project is being developed by Asset Management Group (AMG), a leading firm in Nigeria that was incorporated in the early 1990s to acquire and develop real estate assets and provide financial and advisory services to businesses. Key projects in the company’s portfolio include Harbor Point, a mixed use facility including the Fairmont Lagos, the first announced FRHI property in the country which is scheduled to open in 2017.

“Fairmont’s history in managing luxury hotels and its positioning of being truly connected to the destinations where it operates makes it the ideal brand to manage our Abuja development,” said Aisha Oyebode, Group CEO of AMG. “We are pleased that Fairmont Abuja will join a growing collection of iconic and legendary hotels across the globe.”

Fairmont Abuja will feature 270 guestrooms and suites, Fairmont Gold – the brand’s signature ‘hotel within a hotel’ concept – and approximately 50 branded residences. It will also boast more than 2,400 square meters (25,800 square feet) of meeting and event space, including a state-of-the-art ballroom, ideal for regional and international corporate travel and groups.

Appealing to the local community and international guests, the hotel’s leisure offerings will include 850 square meters (9,100 square feet) of spa and fitness facilities, with tennis courts, a gymnasium and outdoor swimming pools. Leisure facilities and services will also be available to local residents through various membership programs.

As a renowned leader on the global culinary scene, Fairmont will extend its food and beverage expertise to this exciting city. Guests of Fairmont Abuja will be able to choose from an expansive selection of restaurants and lounges, including an all-day dining concept, lobby lounge, boutique café, pool bar, entertainment bar as well as two specialty restaurants featuring world-class cuisine.

The project’s whole-ownership Fairmont Residences complex, which will open for purchase in early 2017, will feature spacious luxury apartments ranging in size from one to five bedrooms. Home owners will enjoy their own private entrance, lobby and dedicated residence services, while also benefiting from the amenities and facilities provided by Fairmont Abuja.

The addition of Fairmont Abuja complements a growing portfolio of Fairmont hotels currently under development in the region, including Fairmont Lagos, which will feature 220 guestrooms and suites, 3,800 square meter (41,000 square foot) meeting and conference space, a wide selection of food and beverage options and a Willow Stream Spa.

Article source: BreakingTravelNews

Growth in the African hotel sector has reached a new level of maturity with less reliance on foreign visitors and increased demand from local businesses, according to a new report from global hotel consultancy HVS.

The 2015 African Hotel Valuation Index, published to coincide with the Africa Hotel Investment Conference* [Sheraton Addis Ababa, 30 Sept-1 Oct 2015], reports that African hotel brands such as Azalai, City Lodge and Protea are trading well, with a number of hotel investors showing faith in the continent.

Several international hotel brands are viewing Africa for expansion, while Marriott purchased Protea in 2014 and Accor announced plans to open 50 hotels across Angola.

“These are exciting deals and proof that it is not just operators but also investors that are growing in confidence in Africa,” commented report co-author Tim Smith, managing partner, HVS Cape Town.

“Africa’s travel and tourism industry has the potential to generate further growth and development, and the discovery of oil and gas in many African countries will also help economic performance.”

Heading the valuation league tables in the African HVI for the second year running were hotels in the luxury resorts of the Seychelles, with values per room of US$476,000 – up 2.2% on last year.

Hotel values in the Egyptian resorts of Cairo and Sharm el Sheikh registered particular growth in this year’s African HVI, up 49% and 41% respectively. Tourism in Egypt has made a strong recovery following recent political challenges although hotel values are not back to previous levels and this growth comes from a low base. Further value growth is expected until the country makes a full recovery.

Cape Town showed a 4% increase in hotel values in US$, as South Africa starts to show a slow but steady recovery. In local currency the improved performance is more significant, the difference highlighting the weakness of the rand against the US$.

The biggest percentage fall in hotel values were in the Nigerian cities of Abuja and Lagos where the impact of the Ebola epidemic is still being felt. This, coupled with a fall in oil prices, has had an impact on hotel RevPar [rooms revenue per available room], which fell by 26% in Lagos in 2014.

“While hotel investment in Africa carries high risk, it also comes with higher reward, but the change in hotel values in some of these markets show that the reward can be substantial,” said report co-author Sophie Perret, director, HVS London.

“With improved airlift, confidence in democracy and economic growth all providing corporate and tourism demand, hotel investment in existing and new markets across the continent should be strong in the medium to long term. There will continue to be short-term challenges, but in the longer term, the future looks bright,” she said.

Article source: AfricaBusiness.com

Belinda Ayamgha, GNA special correspondent, Courtesy Kenya Airways

Maasai Mara (Kenya), Sep. 28, GNA – Ms. Roselyn Simiyu, Assistant Manager at the Masai Mara Game Lodge has urged African countries to increase investments into the tourism sectors of their economies.

She said it was important that African governments focused on greater investment in and marketing of tourists sites in their respective countries as that would ensure greater number of tourists visiting their countries.

Speaking to some Ghanaian Journalists at the Sarova Mara Game Camp, located in Kenya’s world famous Maasai Mara Game Reserve, Ms. Simiyu said tourism, when effectively developed and marketed, had the potential to contribute greatly to the development of nations, through the creation of jobs as well as by bringing in foreign exchange.

She noted that although Africa had beautiful tourists attractions, most of them were not well known, hence the need to invest more into marketing such destinations.

‘We are really lagging behind on that front. I urge African governments to put aside more funds for tourism and to market these destinations better, as is done in places like Asia, Europe and other tourist destinations,’ she stated.

Ms Simiyu also stressed the importance of investments in tourism infrastructure and facilities such as hotels and transport facilities as these would facilitate the growth of tourism.

She bemoaned the low levels of intra-Africa tourism; saying Africans have taken African destinations for granted, while tourists from western countries flocked into the continent.

Using the annual Wildebeest migration from the Serengeti to the Mara, which is sometimes referred to as the seventh wonder of the world as an example, she challenged Africans to visit tourist sites on the continent, including Kenya.

She debunked claims that the destinations were expensive, adding, ‘Most people think the destination is expensive, it is not, and you can come at a season that you can afford. Also you can take advantage of early bird prices when you book early,’ she said.

Partnership with Kenya Airways
Kenya Airways as the national airline of Kenya plays a very significant role in tourism. The airline is the main transporter of tourists from various parts of the world into Kenya.

Ms. Simiyu said the Sarova Group, which is the second largest hotel chain in Kenya, partnered with KQ in order to bring tourists from other countries into Kenya. Kenya Airways also served as an ambassador of Kenya’s tourists destinations in the various countries it operates, including Ghana while providing direct and affordable means for tourists to get into Kenya.

Security in Kenya
On security in Kenya and its impact on tourism, Ms. Simiyu maintained that although there had been pockets of terrorist incidents in the country, Kenya was still very safe and peaceful as the incidents happened close to the border areas of the country.

She said the fact that the Sarova Mara Game Camp continued to receive international tourists at the full capacity (75 rooms, hosting about 150 people) proved that Kenya was safe for tourism.

She added that the camp, as well as all other hotels in the reserve had gates being manned by security personnel 24 hours each day. It was also surrounded by an electric fence which helped to keep out wild animals from the camp.

Contribution to Kenyan economy
The Sarova group of hotels and game lodges, she noted, contributed a lot to the economy of the country through payments of taxes and job creation. The Group paid almost 30 percent of its profits in taxes to government annually. It also employed over 1500 Kenyans with about 60 percent of the staff at the Sarova Mara being local Maasai people.

Through its Corporate Social Responsibility, the Lodge also offered training to some of the young Maasai who could then find employment elsewhere. It also supports the local school in the community by providing maintenance for the school building.

Read more at: http://www.modernghana.com/news/645574/1/african-countries-urged-to-increase-investments-in.html

Article source : ModernGhana

After 80 years, Hotel & Restaurant is closing. The final printed issue of the magazine is October 2015, out later this week, and the website will no longer be updated after Wednesday, 30 September. Promotional mailers will continue to be emailed throughout October.

It is a very sad day for management, staff members and contributors, past and present. The decision to close the brand was taken after various business models were investigated by current publishers, RamsayMedia, which is wholly owned by Caxton. Outgoing team members editor Susan Reynard and advertising sales executive Karen Prumm, plus the entire shared services teams in the art department, digital support, subscriptions and related services at RamsayMedia and Caxton, plus group publisher Neil Piper, thank our readers in the hospitality and tourism industries, and our loyal advertisers of products and services for their support.

Andrew Moth, long-time editor of Hotel & Restaurant who retired in October 2014, shares his thoughts below, in the manner of his much-read and highly respected Opinion page:

The news that Hotel & Restaurant is to close as a print magazine and website is disappointing but not really a surprise, says Andrew Moth, who was editor of the magazine from 1986 to 2014. “Over the past 10 years or so specialist and business-to-business magazines like Hotel & Restaurant which rely almost exclusively on the sale of space to generate income and cover ever-increasing paper, production, distribution and administration costs have been coming under increasing pressure.

“This pressure has been made worse by the decline in the value of South Africa’s currency, the unreliability of the electricity supply and of course frequent and unpredictable disruptions to the postal service. Everyone with insight to publishing will know that nothing upsets readers as much as not receiving their favorite magazine on the date on which they normally expect it.

“And much the same applies to advertisers who pay a lot of money to distribute important product information to potential customers in the hotel, restaurant, conference and allied industries.

“These suppliers have also been hit hard by the failure of the South African economy to grow. Tourism should be the fastest growing industry in South Africa but it is hamstrung by stupidity at the top levels of government and general incompetence in the civil service. Although South Africa offers a business and leisure tourism experience which is among the best in the world, travelers find it difficult to get here because of red tape over visas.

“South Africa is a long-haul destination but policy makers must get out of the way and allow tourism professionals to make it easy to fly here and do business or have a holiday.

“This is not the place to harp on again about crime and grime, because everyone in the tourism industry sees the problems everyday, but only last week the Spur restaurant just 50-metres from the longtime head office in Pinelands of Hotel & Restaurant was raided by armed robbers.

“South Africa and Africa in general are tough places in which to do business but with some real effort by the forces of law and order, investors would soon develop confidence in the future,” Moth said. “There is also too much red tape everywhere. Poor levels of education, poverty, the trade unions and general corruption and incompetence make it difficult for business people to invest and develop with an eye on the future.”

The history of Hotel & Restaurant can be traced back 80 years. As a monthly magazine in the stable of magazines owned and published by Ramsay Son & Parker, it enjoyed its most profitable times in the 1980s. Under the editorship of Bruce Heilbuth in the early 1980s and then Moth for 28 years it was the voice of the rapidly changing and growing hospitality industry. With Harold Eedes as publisher the magazine – then known as Hotelier & Caterer – thrived, regularly publishing issues packed with news, views and information for and about an industry developing and thriving.

It enjoyed a close association with Fedhasa, a powerful employer association which represented the needs of the hospitality and drinks industries and was able to influence policy and thinking at all three levels of government. Selling space to advertisers keen to reach businesses in the hospitality industry was fairly simple: With Buyers Guide and Alcoholic Beverage Review, Hotelier & Caterer and Hotel & Restaurant were indispensable tools offering a guaranteed audience of keen buyers for any product or service that could be used in a hotel, restaurant, conference centre or licensed club.

About 15 years ago the magazine changed its name to Hotel & Restaurant to better reflect the growth of the restaurant industry in South Africa. Then came the internet and websites. “This clearly had an impact on the profitability of the print magazine, but this was alleviated by income from marketing campaigns conducted through the website for suppliers who wanted quick access to the audience served by Hotel & Restaurant.”

Moth says he could see the writing on the wall then but “we were determined to continue serving the industry we loved even though advertising volumes and profitability declined for all print publications.

“Our readers were fiercely loyal. They liked the website but they loved the magazine. They liked the feel of a product in their hands but it is a simple fact that publishing Hotel & Restaurant is no longer commercially viable.”

When Moth retired last year, Susan Reynard, who had been Gauteng editor of the magazine since May 2001, took over the reins as editor of both the magazine and website as various plans were explored by the giant Caxton publishing and printing business to ensure the future of Hotel & Restaurant. In the current business environment, it however has become clear that Hotel & Restaurant is not sustainable and the October print issue will be the last to be distributed. The Hotel & Restaurant website will also close and the brand will become a memory.

Moth said: “Susan Reynard did a great job for Hotel & Restaurant in her year as editor but she was fighting a battle that was probably impossible to win – even in a better business environment. Print publications all over the world are enduing hard times. Hotel & Restaurant is not the first great magazine to close and it will not be the last.”

For any queries related to the closure of the brand, please call group publisher Neil Piper in Cape Town on 021 530 3100 or email: Neil@ramsaymedia.co.za.

Article source: Hotel&Restaurant

Recent figures stemming from South Africa’s tourism industry have been grim when compared to previous years, and even the country’s positive entrepreneurs operating in the sector are finding their perennial optimism strained.

This is according to Business Partners Limited, a specialist risk finance company for formal, small, and medium enterprises (SMEs) in South Africa – whose client base include a range of entrepreneurs in the tourism industry, ranging from tour group operators to accommodation owners and suppliers.

Gerrie van Biljon, executive director at Business Partners Limited, says there is much to be hopeful about when looking past the recent storm clouds created by the new regulations that require visitors to South Africa to apply in person for a visa.

Discussing the issue of the regulations, he says that these new barriers are a setback to the tourism industry. “These effectively require many prospective visitors from countries, such as China and India, to travel hundreds of kilometers in their own countries to one of the isolated offices that handle South African visa applications.”

The impact on the industry is clear in the latest figures. International Air Transport Association (IATA) showed a 21% year-on-year decline in air ticket revenue for tickets purchase to South Africa this July. It is also estimated that South Africa will receive 100 000 fewer overseas tourists this year (*Grant Thornton). A research report by Tourism Business Council of South Africa suggests that the lower tourist numbers could result in as many as 9 300 jobs losses in the tourism industry and a total net loss to the South African GDP of approximately R4.1 billion in 2015.

Van Biljon says that for local businesses connected to international tourism to remain hopeful under such conditions, entrepreneurs need to do what they do best: take a long-term view of things and swing into action immediately.

PART 2

Article source: ThePlanner