Luxury has become to be expected within business and leisure tourism industries in West Africa with Nigeria as a front runner in the pack. With an estimated luxury travel increase of 4.5% since 2011, some experts predict a growth rate of 6.2% looking ahead into the luxury market crystal ball.
Apart from tourists from Europe, Australia, the East and USA, African travellers have emerged from around different parts of Africa with the demand for Business Class flights from Africa steadily growing. This is a clear indication, if any, of the economic growth within the business and luxury class type of tourism. Luxury hotels have noticed a marked increase in demand from the ever growing middle class in developing countries, along with the possibility of travelling long-haul flights to new destinations, this developing middle class are a catalyst in influencing their friends to also explore and create their own adventures within the vast possibilities of the African tourist market, specifically the African luxury market.
This leads us to ask, will the exclusivity of growing luxury market be eroded or diluted, if you will, as more tourists have better access to various luxury travel arena ? Remember, what is considered luxury today may be classified to be stagnant and less interesting in the future. Looking at spas is a perfectly good example of what was once considered to be an exclusivity feature among top end establishments, yet in today’s present climate spas have become a necessity for hotels, to capture both average and high LSM consumers. For players in the African travel market, it means that market leaders are constantly developing new tourism products that will attract the luxury tourist.
Multinational hotel groups are always looking to cement and further capitalise on developing markets with Marriott International Inc., the owner of brands including the Ritz-Carlton and Renaissance, strengthening its position in West Africa as economic growth in Nigeria and Ghana boost travel and tourism. Marriott’s expansion plans will certainly solidify its leadership position in the dynamic and growing African luxury hotel market.
Arne Sorenson, president and chief executive officer of Marriott International, said, “Africa has significant untapped potential for travel and tourism, both as a destination and source of new global travellers. 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.
Since Marriott completed the acquisition of the 116 hotel Protea hospitality Group in 2014 and doubling its presence to 162 hotels and 23 000 rooms, it has become the number one facilitator of the hospitality industry in Africa. Some hotel investors and operators find a slowing down of growth in the more mature European and U.S. markets, and are thus keen to explore their footprint in Africa as the continent is buoyed by increasing trade.
This article was written by BRUCE GERMAINE.