Africa View

Finding a hotel in Africa is about to get easier for travelers

Phoebe Parke, for CNNUpdated 27th September 2016
(CNN) — Looking for a hotel on the African continent? That search is about to get much easier.
Forty-six new hotels were under construction there at the beginning of 2016, according to research group STR, and another 275 are in the planning phase.
Nigeria is doing most of the building -- as of 2015 the country had 51 new hotel developments in the pipeline, with Morocco a close second with 31 hotels in the works.
"In a lot of pockets in sub Saharan Africa there's a lack of supply; there are major cities where there is only one or no branded hotels," says Thomas Emanuel, director of business development at STR.
He says growing economies have fueled this construction.
"There has been growth in many African economies, for example staggering GDP growth in Ethiopia.
"We're also seeing better inter-connectivity, and a growing middle class who are able to travel and spend and need somewhere to stay. The hotel operators are well aware of the opportunities and are moving in."
The vast majority of these operators are established international groups, some of which already have hotels in African countries, and are expanding their business there.

Challenges

Emanuel says there are, however, also some challenges.
"We looked at two parts [of Africa] northern Africa and sub Saharan. At the moment northern is performing badly, people are not going to Egypt on holiday, flights are not landing at Sharm [el sheikh.]
Morocco seems to be guilty by association and tarred with the same brush, he adds, and in sub-Saharan Africa there are also security concerns.
But Emanuel sees a bright future overall for the African hotel industry.
"The international brands know what they're doing -- they are going to go to places where they know they can sell hotel bedrooms and they obviously think that Africa is where they can do that."
A few years ago, former safari firm owner Colin Bell and writer David Bristow set off to find Africa's most eco-friendly lodges and hotels.

The two South Africans traveled the continent far and wide to separate establishments with watertight green credentials from those merely purporting to have them. A group of nine environmentalists joined them, and together they scored the properties on a scale of one to 10 on factors such as conservation and community effort.

The result was "Africa's Finest," an exhaustive guide detailing 50 of the most sustainable hotels in sub-Saharan Africa, Seychelles and Madagascar.

CNN asked the authors to pick their 15 favorite properties, and tell us why they deserved the spot on their list. Click through the gallery to see what they had to say.
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