Famous for its unique wildlife, colorful landscape and friendly communities, Africa is tipped to triple the size of its tourism industry by 2020 if proper efforts are made to ensure the safety and security of visitors. With the World Tourism Organization (WTO) confident that Africa will attract 77. 3 million people in 2020, up from 27.8 million in 2003, hotel operators are investing heavily to ensure they offer the services and standards that international visitors look for when travelling on holiday or business.
Realizing the desire for quality and stylish accommodation in Africa, InterContinental Hotels Group has been dedicated to developing some of the country’s leading properties with the introduction of its award-winning InterContinental Hotels brand more than 30 years ago. With four InterContinental properties in Africa, the world’s largest hotel group is positioned to experience strong growth in the emerging market.
The African portfolio includes the InterContinental Asmara, the first 5-star luxury hotel to be built in Eritrea, and the long-standing InterContinental Lusaka, which is not only a true landmark of the Zambian Capital but has also had a recent refurbishment. Additionally, the group boasts the InterContinental Libreville, providing 5-star service for more than 30 years, and finally the InterContinental Nairobi, which has remained Kenya’s leading upscale international hotel for decades.
“Africa is an exceptionally vibrant market to operate in, especially now as there are new trends emerging. For instance, we are seeing many visitors to the country wanting to visit southern Africa, which is a new trend. Additionally, we are seeing the uptake of intra-regional travel,” said Chris Moloney, Chief Operating Officer, InterContinental Hotels Group, Middle East and Africa.
According to the WTO report ‘Tourism 2020 Vision’, southern Africa is billed to experience an average 10.4 per cent annual rise in tourist arrivals to 36 million by 2020, up from 7.9 million in 2000. This growth will see it overtake the North Africa region, which will manage only a 3.5 per cent increase to 19 million from 9.4 million in 2003.
East Africa will be the other main growth region, up 6 per cent annually to 17 million compared with 5.9 million in 2000. Meanwhile, intra-regional travel will rise by an annual average 6.5 per cent from 42 per cent of the market in 1995 to 53 per cent or 41.3 million tourists in 2020. “Africa is a very exciting market to be operating in as there are a lot of new challenges – but there is also an amazing amount of satisfaction in seeing the industry develop,” Moloney added.
To ensure that these levels of growth occur, improvements to infrastructure and tourism facilities, a better and broader choice of product, and image correction through marketing campaigns all have to be priorities until 2020. “At InterContinental Hotels Group we understand that greater co-operation among countries and between the public and private sectors is required to help boost tourism in Africa, and we help this situation by promoting our network of properties throughout our global operations,” continued Moloney.
InterContinental Hotels Group is thrilled to have opened its newest addition in 2001– the InterContinental Asmara. As the first 5-star luxury hotel to be built in Eritrea, the InterContinental Asmara is conveniently located adjacent to the UN Headquarters, just km from the International Airport and just 4km from the bustling city center of Asmara. Described as Africa’s newest country, Eritrea boasts a spectacular and varied landscape.
“The natural beauty of this country is breathtaking. The country includes lush central highlands, distinctive red earth formations and the Red Sea coast. The country is often described as having 'three seasons in two hours'. But whether you visit the InterContinental Asmara is for business or pleasure, you will find that the hotel is a luxurious retreat with extensive facilities and a professional, friendly and hospitable service,” said Roger Kacou, Director of Operations, InterContinental Hotels Group, Africa and General Manager, InterContinental Nairobi.
From the exterior the hotel boasts some unique architecture including a glass-fronted atrium. Beneath this stunning facade, the interior is equally impressive with 108 deluxe rooms, 40 Club InterContinental rooms and suites, and 22 luxurious suites.
The hotel has self-contained conference floor, Club InterContinental floors and Health Club with superb facilities. The other highlights include stunning conference facilities and various restaurants.
Having achieved the perfect mix of business and pleasure for the past 33 years, the InterContinental Libreville has treated itself over the past four years to an extensive refurbishment process. Now gleaming ‘good as new’, the property is proving more popular than ever with conference organizers. However, the country is also experiencing a boost in visitors with the rise in popularity of Eco-tourism.
With a prime position on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, the InterContinental Libreville has 500 rooms, large banqueting facilities, two restaurants and large health club – including tennis courts and a swimming pool – along with a new-age business center complete with high-speed Internet connection.
“Here at this property, we understand the needs of our business visitors, and that is why we have invested in a technology upgrade. But our attention to detail goes further than that, we also want to ensure that visitors experience the best possible time here – and that is why we are now in the process of planning a beachside restaurant. It is a beautiful spot that people will really enjoy relaxing at.”
Meanwhile, the ever-popular InterContinental Lusaka – which is a true landmark in the Zambian Capital of Lusaka – continues to provide the ultimate in accommodation, service and direction to the countries most popular tourist sights.
“Ideally located in the diplomatic district, the hotel is close to the commercial center of Lusaka. Whether visitors are here for business or pleasure, they can be assured of enjoying warm Zambian culture and hospitality. At InterContinental Lusaka you are never far away from 'Zambia the real Africa',” said Clive Smith, General Manager, InterContinental Lusaka.
With most visitors flocking to Zambia to visit one of the world’s seven wonders – the Victoria Falls – the staff at the hotel are always prepared to help guests with arranging visits to some of the most un-spoilt game reserves in Africa. The hotel provides information on how to book your excursions out of Lusaka, as well as advice on places of interest within Lusaka.
Offering the full range of accommodation – from superior rooms to the opulence of the Presidential Suite – guests can be assured of comfort with all rooms air-conditioned and fitted out to offer 5-star standards. “With the rise of business travelers, all rooms have Internet connectivity and built in adapters.”
As one of the continent’s finest properties, the InterContinental Nairobi is where visitors can never be far away from the real touch of Africa. With the hotel able to organize individual or group safari's to some of the most stunning parts of the country, guests can be at the Samburu and the Masai Mara Game Reserves in less than an hour on regional flights.
Positioned at the heart of the city for more than 30 years, the InterContinental Nairobi has continually stood proud and maintained its mantle as the city's leading upscale international hotel. Located off Uhuru Highway just 18 kilometers from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, the InterContinental Nairobi offers the ideal haven for both business and pleasure. At the core of the city, the property is just a short stroll from the parliament buildings, and it is a place where visitors can experience the spirit of Africa side by side with the comfort and service you'd expect from a 5-star hotel anywhere in the world.
“At the InterContinental Nairobi, we have always been dedicated to providing visitors with a unique African experience. Committed to providing 5-star service we find many of our visitors are so impressed with the country and hotel – that they come back, time again,” said Kacou.
Overlooking the city's Uhuru Park, the hotel accommodates for luxury right through from standard rooms to the Presidential Suite. For extra convenience, situated on the sixth floor of the hotel, is the Club InterContinental where guests are invited to register in the comfortable surroundings of the lounge. During your stay enjoy complimentary breakfast and refreshments throughout the day and an evening cocktail in the Club Lounge.
“Africa is a wonderful continent and I believe that we are going to increasingly see the figures continue to rise. When you take a look at the high-quality properties that InterContinental Hotels Group offers, it really is worth thinking about visiting Africa for a holiday,” said Kacou.
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