Protea Hospitality Group Breaks Ground in Ninth African Country

Ghanaian property brings current PHG hotels development total to more than US$ 100m

The Protea Hospitality Group has finalised an agreement that will see Africa’s largest hospitality company entering the economically booming Ghanaian market, making it the ninth country in which the company will reinforce its dominance of the industry on the continent.

Protea Hospitality Group CEO Arthur Gillis says the development of Ghana’s 130-room Protea Hotel Select Takoradi, which opens in the south-west coastal city of Takoradi in early 2014, brings the current value of portfolio hotels developing across Africa to more than US$ 100 million.

Currently six Protea Hotels and African Pride Hotels are under construction in Nigeria (2 properties), Ghana, Zambia, Uganda and South Africa.

A third new Nigerian property, Protea Hotel Select Emotan in Benin City, opened its doors earlier this year.

According to Gillis, the West African market is arguably hospitality’s most exciting development prospect on the continent, buoyed by economic growth predictions of more than 6% this year for countries like Ghana and Nigeria.

“West Africa is booming. Ghana’s economic growth is predicted to be greater than 7% in 2013, which is nothing short of miraculous in the current global climate, and Nigeria isn’t far behind.

“The Protea Hospitality Group has already developed a strong brand presence in Nigeria in recent years, but we’ve been looking for just the right opportunity in Ghana for some time now and I’m delighted that we’ve finally found it in Protea Hotel Select Takoradi.

Takoradi is an attractive leisure destination with its miles of white beaches, but its deep water sea port and the fact that it is the hub of Ghana’s nascent oil industry also make it a strategically important economic development node.

“Working with our local partners I know this hotel is just the first of many that we will be developing in Ghana; a country that welcomes companies bringing specialist African expertise and brand stability into its economy.”

Gillis says the Protea Hospitality Group currently operates 11 hotels in Nigeria, and plans to double its presence in that market within five years.

“The Protea Hospitality Group is taking a robust interest in Nigeria, because we know we are creating a strong hospitality brand that both Nigerians and international travellers trust to deliver the best facilities and world-class service.

“Our aim is ultimately to grow with Ghana and Nigeria, to become stronger with these countries as we work alongside local hospitality investors to stimulate the economy and provide the best possible service to domestic and international business and leisure travellers.”

Gillis says the Zambian and Ugandan economies have equally exciting growth prognoses in the medium term, which is driving hospitality development – and international interest – in those areas.

“A number of countries in East Africa are also showing significant growth, despite troubled regions like Somalia and Sudan. Uganda is one of those countries with a predicated growth rate of around 5% this year, and our hotel development there underpins our belief in its political stability and growing economy.”

Gillis says several large international hotel groups have opened sub-Saharan offices to take advantage of Africa’s rapid economic growth, and are labelling it hospitality’s “final frontier”.

“It’s extremely interesting to watch all these groups swooping in to bring international ‘civilisation’ to our home.

“In Africa, hospitality development and hotel success is not so much limited by infrastructure challenges, but rather by thinking that because you’ve built a hotel in China or Brazil, you know how to do business in Africa.

“The Protea Hospitality Group has been working here for nearly 30 years and the first rule is always to find the best local partner possible. Partnerships are key to making it work in Africa, as is growing a brand that is trusted to be by Africans, for Africans.

“As a continent we’ve come a long way in the past 30 years and right here, right now, is Africa’s time to shine.”

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