Hilton Hotel is upbeat about its Africa business and the group says it is gearing for further expansion in the region.
“Africa is very much higher on the agenda for Hilton Worldwide. We are happy and keen to grow further; we will enter two more new countries in the next 12 months,” Jan van der Putten, Hilton worldwide vice president of operations told CNBC Africa.
“We are going to enter into Chad and Uganda to open Hilton in Kampala; it is exciting to spread our wings.”
Rudi Jagersbacher, Hilton worldwide president for Middle East and Africa said the group has been in the continent for a long period which has helped the company build the brand.
“The hotel started its investments in the 1960s in Egypt, Addis and Kenya where we have massive hotels including South Africa,” said Jagersbacher.
Jagersbacher said the group, now with 4,400 hotels; initial expansion strategy was driven by the company’s founder.
“Our founder Conrad Hilton had the vision for worldwide expansion as an owner of TWA airlines wanted to invest in flights and nights at the same destination.”
Hilton Hotel is now 95 years old operating in 98 countries.
Jan van der Putten said South Africa had been a good country to operate in due to developed infrastructure among other reasons.
“South Africa is a wonderful environment to operate in; we have five hotels in the country and another one in Namibia,” he said. “The industry is very competitive and mature.”
The group gave advice on doing business in Africa.
“One needs to culturally adapt to the local environment and one needs to be culturally sensitive,” said Jagersbacher.
“Safety and security for our customers is our number one priority, but this is not only in Africa but a global priority.”