Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT) is strengthening its position as a leading international hotel operator in Africa with an existing portfolio of 38 hotels, representing more than 10,000 rooms, the majority of which are operated under Starwood’s world-renowned Sheraton(R) and Le Méridien® brands. The company announced today that it will increase its African portfolio by nearly 30% with 10 new hotels set to open over the next three years, adding more than 4,200 guest rooms to the continent and creating thousands of local employment opportunities. Emphasizing the importance of the region as one of the world’s fastest-growing hotel and travel markets, CEO Frits van Paasschen and members of Starwood’s senior executive team are visiting Africa this week, travelling to key growth markets including Nigeria, Angola and Gabon.
“Home to seven of the world’s 10 fastest growing economies, there could not be a better time to expand our footprint in Africa,” said Frits van Paasschen, President and CEO, Starwood Hotels & Resorts. “From a vastly improving infrastructure, major investments from China, rapid economic growth, rising personal incomes and a growing middle class – we are seeing exciting changes that are driving the African future and we intend to be a part of it.”
Starwood Strengthens Portfolio in Nigeria
At a press conference in Lagos today, van Paasschen shared Starwood’s plans to further expand its portfolio in Nigeria, the company’s largest growth market on the African continent. Starwood presently operates five hotels in Nigeria, in Abuja, Ibom, Port Harcourt and two hotels in Lagos, under its Sheraton, Le Méridien and Four Points by Sheraton brands. By 2015, Starwood will open three additional hotels in Nigeria, one property in Benin City and two in Lagos.“Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and boasts the second-largest economy on the continent, presenting tremendous opportunities for the country to play a key role in our African expansion. With investor-friendly policies in place and on-going economic growth, Nigeria epitomizes the economic ascent of Africa as a development destination,” said Simon Turner, President of Global Development & Acquisition, Starwood Hotels & Resorts.