MAJOR global hotel chains are looking for local investors to partner with and set UP shop in Kenya. Operators of renowned brands like Sheraton, Hyatt, Holiday Inn and Radisson Blu and Marriott have started searching for partners to invest in the hotel business in an arrangement that will see the global hotel chain firms just come in to manage these facilities.
"We are extremely focused and hopefully in 12 months we will have something to announce," said Starwood Hotels and Resorts senior VP for acquisitions and development Neil George. Starwood operates the Sheraton brand of hotels. George said the group is keen on setting up a a mid-market hotel.
InterContinental Hotels Group, the operator of the Holiday Inn brand, said there is no immediate plan for another hotel but added there are future plans to establish a Holiday Inn hotel in Nairobi. Peter Norman, the senior VP for acquistions and development at Hyatt Hotels Corporation said the company has already started working with some people on plans to set up an accomodation facility locally.
However, he said these plans are in preliminary stages adding that the debut if at all it eventually happens is "a very long way ahead." Radisson Blu on its part said the company may opt to go for holiday apartment options in some parts of Africa adding that there is increasing demand for extended stays as business travel grows.
The hoteliers were speaking at the ongoing Africa Hotels and Investment Forum. However, all of these hotel groups said it is difficult getting the right partners since most are constrained by inadequate long time financing.
Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers CEO Mike Macharia said the local industry will now have to woo more of these hotel groups to set up facilities out of Nairobi to spur tourism business in other counties.