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Global Lodging Forum 2017: Deciphering hotel investment in Africa

At the Global Lodging Forum held April 10 and 11 at the Pullman in Paris, a round table was held based on the theme of hotel development on the African continent. Philippe Baretaud, Director Development Africa (AccorHotels), Marc Thépot, Consultant (GEHOTAM) and Nicolas Willemin, Senior Investment Officer (Proparco) shared their know-how about positioning on this continent that is full of promise, but very complex.

  • "Africa's hotel industry began with leisure tourism, but today the economic situation is critical. Business tourism, instead, has excellent growth opportunities ahead. Morocco, in particular, could act as a development hub in Africa." Marc Thépot, Consultant, GEHOTAM

  • "We are open to all markets, particularly Sub-Saharan Africa. We are trying first and foremost to finance a supply that is lacking. Nothing in particular is holding us back except that it is difficult to travel to certain countries because of the economics situation." Nicolas Willemin, Senior Investment officer, Proparco

  • "South Africa is a region that is often overlooked by Private Equity because it is a mature market and thus does not have much leverage on return. But for those of us who chose it as a base, it is the primary domestic market in Africa, and it is essential if we wish to have a balanced presence throughout the territory." Philippe Baretaud, Director Development Africa, AccorHotels

  • "The international offer makes it possible to hire a manager, as well as to improve standards and structure the market (quality standards expected by travelers). If a traveler goes to the Congo, an international brand is reassuring. But it is also important to have a regional offer. This is currently being developed (Azalai, Onomo, Serena...)." Nicolas Willemin, Senior Investment officer, Proparco

  • "The problem in Africa is that occupancy rates are very low and are not made up for by average daily rates. Costs for development are also high in Africa, and and debt leverage is difficult to use. Real Estate is also complicated." Philippe Baretaud, Director Development Africa, AccorHotels

  • "I believe it is in our best interest to develop through partnerships, because it provides access keys that save time. But care must be taken regarding governance, the bringer of the brand and management must remain the leader." Marc Thépot, Consultant, GEHOTAM 

  • "To find partners it is necessary to remain in permanent contact with them, to be physically present. Proximity to the partner is essential. But it is important to be aware that local partnerships take time. So, yes, there is potential in Africa, but it is also necessary to be realistic." Philippe Baretaud, Director Development Africa, AccorHotels 

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