Africa is presenting growth opportunities in the luxury space. This has prompted hotel giants like Starwood to aggressively expand their presence in the region.
The American hotel and leisure company currently operates about 9,500 rooms across 13 countries and is looking to add eight more countries to its operations.
Hassan Ahdab, Vice-President and Regional Director for Africa & Indian Ocean at Starwood Hotels & Resorts told CNBC Africa that the region had ingredients that made business expansion more meaningful.
“The wealth of Africa is its youth, population and natural resources. These are three ingredients that will enhance our growth in Africa,” said Ahdab.
Ahdab added that Starwood was one of the first hotel groups to enter Africa and was expanding as it felt there was room for lifestyle brands and room accommodation.
“We are expanding into Mali, Guinea, Madagascar, Rwanda, Mauritania, South Sudan and Kenya [among others].”
The company is also aiming to extend its presence in countries with high risks where traditional companies shy away from. Ahdab says they will mitigate against related risks by employing people who understand challenges of working in such economies.
“We train people to operate in [hot spots] and in most cases we employ people living in those countries were we are operating as they know their countries’ modus operandi,” he added.