As part of its vision to welcome 5m visitors in 2020, up from 1.5m in 2016, Côte d’Ivoire is actively seeking to increase hotel capacity, and especially the amount of higher-quality and properly licensed accommodation. According to government data, as of January 2017 only 12.28% of hotels operating in the country held an official hotel licence. Given that business tourists account for 60% of visitors, the segment is seeking to rapidly improve quality, quantity and human resource standards throughout the industry.
Under a major investment push, the government is aiming to provide an additional supply of 5000 new or renovated rooms by 2020. In Abidjan, the government is investing CFA150bn (€229m) in the rehabilitation and extension of the state-managed Ivoire Golf Club within the framework of a public-private partnership. In Yamoussoukro, the state is also preparing for the CFA30bn (€45.7m) rehabilitation and extension of the Hotel Président. Furthermore, the state is committed to supporting the development of nine 20- to 30-room hotel complexes, located in various national cities under the auspices of the Relais Paillotes project, to be lead by the Ivorian hotel group Iroko. Estimated costs range from CFA800m (€1.2m) for a 20-room hotel, to CFA1.3bn (€2m) for a 30-room hotel.
As the country’s business capital, Abidjan remains the main investment destination for international hoteliers. French multinational hotel group Accor Hotels manages a number of properties in the city, including the Sofitel Abidjan Ivoire Hotel, Novotel, Pullman Hotel, Ibis Plateau and Ibis Marcory. The group intends to renovate and extend its overall property portfolio in Abidjan in the coming years under a CFA24bn (€6.5m) investment plan. In March 2016 the Minneapolis- and Brussels-based Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group officially opened the Radisson Blu, a 252-room complex developed at a cost of CFA25bn (€38.1m). The hotel is located in the vicinity of the airport, where the government is planning further development of a CFA1trn (€1.5bn) project aimed at setting up a modern quarter in the city, with hotels, housing, businesses, restaurants and cafés, commerce and other services.
In February 2017 the Malian Azalaï Hotels Group officially opened a 190-room, four-star hotel, the construction of which cost CFA13bn (€19.8m), in Marcory, along Valéry Giscard d’Estaing Boulevard. In May 2017 the Barcelona-based Mangalis Group, owned by the Mauritian Teyliom Holding, opened the 149-room Seen Abidjan Hotel in the Plateau business district, developed at a cost of CFA29bn (€44.2m).
Several additional projects have been announced by international hotel chains. The US Hilton Hotels and Resorts Group has announced the construction of a hotel in Abidjan, together with renovation of various administrative buildings, a jetty and a library in the Plateau business district. The so-called Little Manhattan project is estimated to cost CFA287bn (€437.5m). Switzerland’s Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts announced the construction of an upscale 212-key hotel in the same area, for an estimated cost of €55m, which is set to open in 2018, and the French Louvre Hotels Group has announced plans for a 130-room Golden Tulip Inn in the Angré district, at a cost of CFA8bn (€12.1m). Morocco’s Palmeraie group has also confirmed the construction of Renaissance Tower, a 15-storey hotel on the site of a former community market renamed Renaissance Plaza, at a cost of CFA15bn (€22.9m).
A rise in hotel supply will also create demand for new workers. In February 2017 the Grand-Bassam Hotel School was opened. The training facility offers a bachelor’s degree in hotel management, specialisation degrees in hotel business, and continuous studies in hotel and tourism management for 300 students annually. It will operate in partnership with the Casablanca Hotel School and the Geneva Hotel School. The first of its kind nationally, the school will help fill staff shortages at new hotels as well as providing a training option for Ivorians seeking to start their own hospitality firms.
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