Carlson to spend R1bn on hotels
Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group is planning to spend more than R1 billion on building three new hotels in South Africa as it looks to capitalise on the weak rand, which is boosting local tourism.
The group, which operates 1 370 hotels in more than 110 countries, announced this week it is building three new hotels – one in Polokwane and two in Cape Town – which will open early next year, according to Marc Descrozaille, Carlson Rezidor’s area vice-president for Africa and the Indian Ocean.
The company will also be opening a regional African office in Cape Town.
The group operates the Radisson Blu hotel brand, among a number of other establishments such as Park Inn by Radisson, which is a mid-market offering.
At the same time, Carlson Rezidor said it was planning to more than double its hotels in Africa from 31 to 66 over the next four years.
By 2020, the group is set to have more than 14 500 rooms in 27 African countries.
These extra hotels will create 3 500 jobs, including 400 in South Africa. About 310 positions will be created in Cape Town and 90 jobs in Polokwane.
Descrozaille said that Carlson Rezidor was targeting Africa as its key global investment region amid a sub-Saharan growth rate of 3.5% last year, which is expected to accelerate to 4.75% in 2017.
He said one of the hotels in Cape Town would be situated at the Blu Triangle House building in lower Long Street, and consist of 339 bedrooms and apartments.
The other hotel will be built at the city’s Victoria & Alfred (V&A) Waterfront and be called the Radisson Red, which is a new brand.
It will feature 250 bedrooms and suites, and is scheduled to open in May next year.
“The Radisson Red is going to appeal to the younger generation, or to people who think younger … focusing on fashion, art and technology,” said Descrozaille.
He added that the Polokwane development would be situated opposite the 2010 Fifa World Cup stadium and have 160 rooms.
“There is confidence that Cape Town is becoming the leisure and tourism hope for Africa,” he said.
“That is why we have chosen to relocate our headquarters for Africa from Dubai and Paris to the V&A Waterfront.”
Descrozaille said when the rand weakened, it worked in the hotel group’s favour as South Africa became a more affordable destination for overseas clients.
Apart from Carlson Rezidor, hotel group Tsogo Sun is also opening two new hotels in Cape Town, comprising 500 bedrooms and costing R680 million.
Tsogo Sun CEO Marcel von Aulock said they believed the rejuvenation of Cape Town’s city centre would lead to growing demand for hotel accommodation.
“The new hotels will consist of two products in one complex: a 200-bedroom latest-design SunSquare hotel, and a 300-bedroom newgeneration StayEasy hotel,” said Von Aulock.
Rob Kucera, the chairperson of Federated Hospitality Association of SA Cape, was optimistic about these developments, saying the opening of the new hotels would boost Cape Town’s economy.