Marriott International and Sunshine Construction Announce Agreement
Marriott International, Inc. and Ethiopian developer Sunshine Construction have announced a deal that will inject ETB 1 billion into the local economy over five years. READER COMMENTS
Under the agreement, Marriott International will manage two properties currently being built by Sunshine Construction—a Marriott Executive Apartments for extended stay travellers and a quality tier Courtyard by Marriott branded hotel. Both will be located in Addis Ababa and are scheduled to open in 2014 and 2015 respectively. This marks Marriott International’s first foray into the country .
“Hotels bring new untapped revenue into the market by boosting tourism numbers and dollars, building infrastructure and creating jobs, which all resonate throughout the economy as a whole,” said Alex Kyriakidis, president and managing director of Marriott International Middle East and Africa, in an announcement at the World Economic Forum (WEF).
As Africa's second most populous country, Ethiopia has 85 million inhabitants and a population forecast to grow at over 2 percent per year to 95 million by 2015. This is matched by a fast growing economy due to improved agricultural performance. Investments into infrastructure, aimed at increasing tourism numbers that have been hindered in the past by limited hotel capacity, are a featured component of the government’s poverty reduction strategy paper.
Travel and tourism currently contribute $2.8 billion, around 10 percent, to the annual GDP and this is predicted to rise by 5.4 percent.
“By taking on these two properties Marriott International is demonstrating its confidence in the market – that it will grow and that the economy will move forward at a staggering pace,” said Kyriakidis.
These two hotels are expected to create 208 local jobs over the next five years. Marriott International has a full training program and plans to focus on up-skilling and hiring the local population to run its properties. Recruits will be trained and immersed in Marriott International’s culture through a partnership with a local training provider that is yet to be named—similar to the Akilah Women’s Institute program that is currently underway in Kigali, Rwanda, where Marriott International will open a new hotel in 2013.
As well as Ethiopia, Marriott International is focusing its growth on Benin, Gabon, Ghana, Nigeria and Rwanda, with a number of new properties scheduled to open over the next five years.
“Africa remains a key market for tourism development because of its increasing economic dynamism and worldwide exposure created by the 2010 FIFA Football World Cup in South Africa," said Kyriakidis. "The economic realities indicate further growth potential for the hotel industry, and with these signings and more to come in 2012, Marriott International will be perfectly placed to accommodate the increasing number of visitors to this great continent.”
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