Ethiopia: Radisson Expands Hotel Business to Bahir Dar

Bahir Dar, capital of the Amahara Regional State, will be getting a Radisson Blu Hotel Group branded hotel. The hotel will be the fourth hotel under the Group's brand in Ethiopia.

The international hospitality company will be partnering with Grand Bahir Dar Resort & Spa, a four-year-old hotel found near Lake Tana.

"It is progress for Ethiopia to have these kinds of international hotel chains," said Hirut Kassaw (PhD), minister of Culture & Tourism, in the event at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Addis Abeba, in the Kazanchis area, held to announce the partnership on November 14, 2019. "The investment will also help Bahir Dar develop its tourism industry."

The Resort & Spa will spend eight million dollars to renovate and expand the building, which is expected to take eight to 10 months. When finished, it will contain 125 different types of rooms, ranging from king rooms to standard and presidential suites. It will also have three bars, a gym, a spa, a beauty salon and a boat jetty.

Radisson will be responsible for managing the hotel under a two-decade contract. The agreement between the two was developed and consulted on by Ozzie Hospitality & Management Consultancy.

"The joint venture of the hotels will have a great advantage in generating foreign currency for the country," said Kumneger Teketel, founder and managing director of Ozzie.

Construction will take place in two phases. The first one will renovate the existing hotel for 6.5 million dollars, while the next phase will focus on expansion.

Turkish BAY Investment Construction is the contractor for the project. The firm has been active in the construction business in Turkey for 39 years and has delivered more than 2,500 homes.

"The addition of a fourth hotel of the Radisson Group, this time in Bahir Dar, allows it to introduce and upscale the brand that delivers Scandinavian-inspired hospitality," said Elie Younes, executive vice president and chief development officer of Radisson, which has around 100 operational hotels across Africa.

Radisson Hotel is part of the Radisson Hotel Group, which includes Radisson Collection, Radisson Blue, Radisson RED, Park Plaza, Park Inn by Radisson and Country Inn & Suites.

Tilksew Gedamu, owner and CEO of Grand Hotel Bahir Dar and Picolo Abay International Business Plc, said that she is pleased to be partnering with the Radisson Hotel Group to open Bahir Dar's first internationally branded hotel.

"Bringing Radisson to manage the hotel fills the skilled human power gap that has been a challenge for long," she said.

Aside from the Radisson Blu Hotel in Kazanchis, which features 212 furnished rooms, the hospitality company has two more projects on the way in Ethiopia. Radisson Blu Plaza, which will have 235 rooms, is under construction on Africa Avenue, in Bole area, while another will be located in Bishoftu and will be inaugurated in January 2020.

Ethiopia experienced the highest tourism growth, 48.5pc, in the world between 2017 and 2018, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council. The first franchise hotel for the country was Hilton Addis. It was followed by Sheraton Addis and then Radisson Blu. Franchise hotels currently operating in Ethiopia include Golden Tulip, Hyatt Regency, Marriott Executive Apartment, Ramada and Best Western Addis.

Fisseha Asres, a hotel expert and managing director of Afro Hospitality Management & Support, believes that this kind of international hotel branding has two major benefits - attracting tourists by strengthening the service standard and benefiting customers by providing professional accommodation.

"Having such types of hotel brands in regional states has a great opportunity in creating various job opportunities and mobilising foreign currency," he said.

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