Marriott to Become Largest Hotel Company in Africa With Protea Hotel Group Acquisition
Although details have not been disclosed at this time, Marriott International, Inc. will nearly double its number of hotel rooms in Africa with its acquisition of the brands and operations of Protea Hotels Group.
A letter of intent has been signed between Marriott International, Inc. and Protea Hospitality Holdings — based in Cape Town — in an acquisition deal which is expected to be completed as early as the first quarter of 2014. The transaction will result in a total of greater than 23,000 hotel rooms in Africa — and when combined with the hotel rooms currently under construction, Marriott could very well become the largest hotel company in Africa.
Africa could be considered the last frontier of growth for the lodging industry. “Africa has significant untapped potential for travel and tourism, both as a destination and source of new global travelers”, said Arne Sorenson, president and chief executive officer of Marriott International, Inc. “The continent’s GDP is anticipated to grow at over five percent annually over the next several years which we expect will raise more people into the emerging middle class.”
This acquisition is key to Marriott because Protea Hotels is an established brand in Africa, where “the development cycle for opening new hotels in Africa is typically long due to the challenges posed by emerging infrastructure”, according to Alex Kyriakidis, president of Marriott International, Inc. for the Middle East and Africa. This transaction is expected to be a strategic “short cut” to the growth of the hotel footprint of Marriott in Africa. FlyerTalk members appear to be excited overall about the announcement of this deal.