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Hospitality & Tourism

Marriott International looking to the promise of Africa



The business world has increasingly started to shift focus to Africa, and with global hotel companies aggressively expanding on the continent, this is possibly most evident in the hospitality sector. According to Alex Kyriakidis, ?president, Middle East and Africa, Marriott International, they have looked to the promise of the Middle East and Africa region for a good few years now.

“Our presence in the Middle East is now substantial and constantly growing, and we began a rollout of new properties in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2014, with the acquisition of South African-based Protea Hotels. That move immediately projected us into the top spot in terms of hotel companies’ presence on the continent.” The more recent acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts has provided Marriott with an even greater footprint in Africa.

Kyriakidis points to the significant change in parts of the sub-continent, where particular countries are enjoying political stability, and are free of conflict, for the first time in recent years. “This allows for economic growth and a consequent increase in business travel. At the same time, the international leisure traveller has demonstrated enthusiasm for visiting many parts of the continent, too.”

Air access

Increasing travel within and into the continent is heavily dependent on air access, and many airlines have added new flights to various parts of the sub-continent. However, there is still room for increasing air access even further.

Population growth in Africa is significant – increasing by over 30 million people a year – and in certain parts of the continent, this comes together with increasing wealth. A new middle class is emerging, offering great potential for the hospitality industry in the years to come. “This is a new market for both regional travel and for outbound travel from the continent.

Diversified economies

“We are also seeing a realisation among some governments that they need to diversify their economies so that they do not continue to rely so heavily on resources. They understand the benefits that tourism can bring,” Kyriakidis says, noting, in particular, the stance of Rwanda, a state which is welcoming business and opening up significantly to tourism.

New markets

The latest plans for expansion on the continent certainly reflect Marriott’s confidence in the region. South Africa, Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya are earmarked for substantial new hotel developments, and the company is also looking at opportunities in new markets such as Madagascar, Mauritius and Senegal.

“Our presence is geared to provide accommodation and business conferencing facilities to a wide variety of market segments,” Kyriakidis continues, explaining that, “the growth will happen in major gateway cities, commercial centres, as well as in resort destinations.”

An announcement is expected soon about a new Marriott-branded venue in South Africa, which remains at the forefront of Marriott’s African presence.


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Hospitality & Tourism

Reimagining the Future of Sustainable Tourism in Africa



Photo by kureng Dapel from Pexels

At Spurt! We are always looking to amplify solutions to critical and specific challenges in Sub Saharan Africa. This week, we reviewed Why Tourism Desperately Needs a New Performance Metric Post-Pandemic by Lebawit Lily Girma. The wake of COVID-19 and its effects on the Tourism sector has unearthed realities that the sector’s metric for success needs to go beyond the numbers; the arrivals and GDP contributions. There’s a solid case for other sustainable ways for measuring success that is as inclusive and effective in capturing the real value add brought by tourist activities. The ongoing equity issue and the colonial legacy entrenched in the sector have to be front and centre to address these.

Tourism is one of the most important economic sectors. According to the UN, It employs one in every ten people on Earth and provides livelihoods to hundreds of millions more. Due to the anchor role it plays in boosting economies, it is imperative that key stakeholders, with the government taking a leading part, take active steps in safeguarding the growth and sustainability of the sector. The sector’s importance notwithstanding, transparency and cultivated trust, will be crucial in determining how the industry will bounce back from the global pandemic’s dire blow.

It is always subjective what the actual cost of a destination is. In Africa, there’s a pervasive question around the trickle-down effect of the money spent on tourism to the local communities and any transformative change that has occurred over time. Historically, the tourism value chain has always been fragmented. According to a McKinsey report, there has been limited coordination among the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that make up a large portion of the sector.

The information champions a more proactive government involvement in the industry through fostering creative alliances between the public and private sector. This cross-sector collaboration can act as an integral leadership centre in tackling emerging issues in the industry and mainstream responsible tourism. The Brookings Institution report on Africa’s tourism potential lauds the governments of Morocco, Mauritius, Kenya, and South Africa to prioritise the tourism sector as a critical driver of growth, allocating resources towards the development of the tourism sector.

Responsible tourism allows local communities to earn a modest income from the tourism activities while supporting conservation efforts. As Lebawit rightfully points out, all efforts geared towards building back the sector better will not be complete without local communities’ inclusion. As the call to decolonise the tourism sector become more substantial, it is becoming clear that innovative and localised tourism is key to a solid and resilient industry. Creative organisations like Turn Up Travel in Kenya are revolutionising responsible tourism through curating unique experiences through striking a balance between destination selection, commerce, conservation and community. More local organisations like Turn Up need to find the root is taking centre stage in diversifying the sector.

At Spurt, the conversation on championing responsible tourism excites us. Local MSMEs are front and centre in the drive to reimagine how a sustainable sector would look. We aspire to be the platform for fostering the growth of scalable local businesses in sub-Saharan Africa that adhere to the best performance and ethical standards. With our research and analytics capabilities, strategic advisory, stakeholder engagement, and implementation support, we are eager to work with local companies like Turn Up by convening, developing, and exciting the best young African thinkers passionate about working for their continent’s economic development.

Written by: Spurt!


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Hospitality & Tourism

Chinedu Rita Rosa Simple Guide to African Food and Wine Pairing



Chinedu Rita Rosa, Founder at Vines by Rosa (Source: Roger Das)

It is not rocket science, but most of us are in great distress when it is time to make a choice of wine, especially when it comes to having dinner with friends or worst of all, your husband is inviting colleagues or his boss over to your house and you want to pull out all the stops to impress and give them a dining experience that they will be talking about in the office for the coming weeks ahead.

In Nigeria, we are blessed with such a wide array of formidable cooking styles and different tastes, that I know the food is not the problem, but you do not want to serve your food with the wrong choice of wine, that will take away from the taste of your food instead of enhancing, so let’s dive right into sure ways of avoiding a mistake.

Food Categories and the Wine Match

Fatty and Oily food: We are a Nation of the best palm oils and most of the dishes in Nigeria consists of oils in one form or the order, so for a fail-proof choice, when cooking all those beautiful Afang soup, Egusi soup, Efo-riro etc, with of course all the orisirisi (Mixed meat) that goes with it. The choice is to have a wine, high in acidity and full-bodied to be able to cut through the fatty taste and cleansing the palete through the meal.

Pinot Noir: Because of its high acidity, medium tannin, and careful use of oak maturation, this wine is perfect for an
amazing dinner that will enhance the Nigerian dining experience: It is quite easy to find and all you need to do is decide if you want Old-world Pinot Noir eg: Bourgogne/Burgundy AOC, or premier Crus like Pommard, Nuits-Saint-Georges etc.

New World: Californian (Santa Barbara, Sonoma etc) Chile: Casablanca Valley, Australia (Yarra Vally & Mornington
Peninsula) or New Zealand (Martinborough, Marlborough and central Otago. And of course in South Africa where the beautiful region of Walker Bay produces some amazing Pinot Noir.

Spicy/hot/Chilly: Call it whatever you want but this is the heat that puts African food on the map and as my mum would say “that drives our never-ending energy” Because of this burning topic, I have two suggestions.
If you do not like the burning sensation in your mouth while eating a heated meal, I will suggest a Low alcoholic wine with fresh and floral flavors, that will help reduce the heat but still increase the enjoyment of the food.

Champagne: The bubbles of champagne are important in heightening the taste of the spices, while the high acidity
level blends perfectly with the spices finally allowing the cooling effect of the champagne to appease the taste buds! A blanc de Noirs or Vintage champagne will get your dinner off to a good start….. Champagne Anyone!!
Riesling: Riesling is one of the best food wines in the world. Its balance of intense acidity, minerality, and fruitiness
makes it an especially good match for spicy foods and the mix of ethnic flavors. A cold bottle of Riesling will make your Asùn a perfect meal and balance the spiciness.

The slight sweetness of(Auslese) Riesling or if you are going for a Spatlese(Dry) will enhance the spice in your Asùn but also reduce the heat in your mouth, while the minerality matches perfectly with the smokiness of the roast meat and fruity flavor gives a satisfying finish.

Bordeaux Wines: The choices are endless here just make sure the balance of Carbenent Sauvignon/Merlot/ Cabernet Franc blend has more than 50% of Cabernet Sauvignon eg Haute Medoc, Saint Estephe etc. Chateauneuf-du-pape with its full body and high alcohol it can withstand the heat, other wines in this category are Cotes du Rhone (France) and Rioja Crianza or Grande Reserva (Spain).

HIGHLY FLAVOURED & Smokey: With the high use of smoked fish, crayfish and spices in our foods it is no surprise that the food will struggle to be a good match with wine, for let’s be clear Europeans did not know what spiciness meant till the ventured out of their lands and made wine according to their own taste, but here we are in the 21st century where food has traveled and now wines are made knowing that consumers come with different taste buds. So to get that Smoked chicken,Moi-Moi, obè àtà, àkara with some fried peppered snails “on point” you just need to follow this rule (food and wine must match in intensity to avoid one overpowering the other).

Chenin Blanc or Sauvignon Blanc: Vouvray is my top example of a Chenin Blanc, with its ability to make dry to sweet
wines, you can find anything you want in this grape variety. with its high acidity, stone fruit, and tropical fruit flavours thatare fabulous with a meal of Moi-Moi on its own, with roasted or oven-baked smokey fish or chicken which can be eaten with boiled yams and tomato sauce by the side. While a Sauvignon Blanc (Sancerre, Pouilly fume, Pessac-Leognan, Graves) will not shy away from a dish of Lobsters, Shrimps in a fisherman Okro soup, the herbaceous and floral and sometimes Aromatic flavors in this wine enhances the seafood platter which we definitely love in Africa.

Cabernet Sauvignon Single grape or Blend: With a full-bodied Medoc (Bordeaux, Malbec from France & Argentina, Pinotage Western Cape, South Africa Nebbiolo(Barolo DOCG or Barbaresco DOCG) Sangiovese(Chianti Classico and a Brunello di Montalcino DOCG) Italy. Are wines that will keep your dinner on a high note. Bitterness – It is the bittersweet taste at the height of African cuisine (Bitterleaf soup) Match bitter foods with white or neutral wines or reds with lower levels of tannin, simple examples are Chardonnay from Chablis AOC in France because it is not matured in oak, Pinot Gris from Italy.

SWEET: Nigerians are not typically sweet eating people but times have changed so to end your dinner on a sweet and delicious note you can make sure that you get a bottle of wine sweeter than your dessert, I personally love a good glass of Porto, which just mixes spice and sweetness to complement whatever dessert you are serving, but for more choices Sauternes France’s famous wine is made from overripe,noble rot, and hand-picked grapes, it is a luxury that is worth every kobo spent, Loupiac from France, Pinot Grigio from Alsace France, Porto Tawny from Portugal.

SALTY: We are talking of Most food now, the interaction of salt in your food is pleasant and it is also the same with
Wine. Salt makes the wine seem fruitier and softens the tannins in Red Wine, so in the light of this conjecture, most
wines will go with any salty food. Go with your pocket and decide whatever you are in the mood for as long as your salty taste is not mixed in a high degree with any of the above you can drink most wines with foods in this category.

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Hospitality & Tourism

Radisson Hotel Group announces its arrival at Victoria Falls, an UNESCO world heritage site



Radisson Hotel Group (Image source: Saadiyah Hendricks)

Radisson Hotel Group is proud to announce its first resort and third hotel in Zambia, with the signing of Radisson Blu Resort Mosi-oa-Tunya, Livingstone, Zambia. Due to open by the end of 2022, this new addition places the Group firmly on track to achieving its objective of reaching 150 hotels in operation and under development in Africa by 2025.

Nestled on the banks of one of Africa’s longest rivers, the Zambezi, in Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, 5km south of the historic city of Livingstone, just 4km north west of the Victoria Falls, one of the seven natural wonders of the world and an UNESCO world heritage site. Convenience is amplified with Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport located just 15 minutes away.

For an immersive experience of the destination, situated right next door, is Safari Par Excellence, offering unique on and off the river adventure activities, from Victoria Falls bridge activities, water-rafting, canoeing and game drives to helicopter rides, river cruises and elephant encounters.

The hotel will be constructed and operated with the greatest respect to its close proximity of the natural wonders and aims to obtain the EDGE green building certification as well sign the UNESCO Sustainable Tourism Pledge, becoming a best practice in the implementation of Radisson Hotel Group’s leading Responsible Business program.

Image source: Saadiyah Hendricks

The construction of the new hotel which is currently underway, and the design fully integrate local materials and focuses on employing and upskilling local craftspeople. It will consist of a contemporary 174-room main hotel and 26 luxurious villas. Guests can indulge in their favourite cuisine at the all-day dining restaurant and sit back with their favourite drink at the coffee bar. To bask in the fresh African evening air in comfort, guests can gather around the outdoor boma and firepit. During their stay, guests can also enjoy the hotel’s expansive swimming pool, find serenity at the spa or maintain their health at the sports and fitness gym. Ideal for all occasions, the hotel’s meetings and events facilities will include a ballroom of over 500sqm, boardrooms as well as meeting rooms, perfect for leisure and business use.

Ramsay Rankoussi, Vice President Development, Africa & Turkey, Radisson Hotel Group, said: “We have been present in Zambia for many years and have long recognized the potential of the country. It was essential for us to complement our presence in Zambia with a resort offering in one of Africa’s most visited leisure tourism destinations – the Victoria Falls. This marks our third hotel in the country, complementing our existing portfolio of one hotel in operation, Radisson Blu Hotel, Lusaka, and the under-development Park Inn by Radisson Lusaka, Longacres, due to open early next year. Through this unique resort, we look forward to demonstrating our strong Responsible Business heritage and sustainable programmes and initiatives which will further promote the destination and ensure the preservation of this unique reserve and location. We are truly proud to have partnered with NAPSA for the launch of the Radisson Blu Resort Mosi-oa-Tunya, Livingstone as we further seek to reinforce our collaboration in promoting tourism across Zambia.”

Mr. Yollard Kachinda, Director General  of NAPSA, the owning company said: “It is an honour to be partnering with Radisson Hotel Group, a company that believes in thriving, sustainable, and responsible business that supports people, communities and the planet with various procedures and programs to build better futures. We are proud to be associated with the creation of several jobs, both directly and indirectly. It is also satisfying to note that most of the materials are locally sourced, such as steel coming from Kafue Steel, timber coming from Zambezi Sawmills and other materials such as quarry and stones also being sourced within the community. We are looking forward to introducing this unique resort to the market and are confident that the various sustainable elements of the hotel will uplift the community and enhance the overall experience of this beautiful destination and its economy.”

Image source: Saadiyah Hendricks

Radisson Hotel Group operates to high standards of performance and advocates socially and environmentally sustainable business practices. More than ever, Radisson Hotel Group’s highest priorities remain the health and safety of its guests and employees. The Group partnered with SGS, the world’s leading inspection and certification company, to implement the Radisson Hotels Safety Protocol, which ensures the highest hygiene standards and strengthens the Group’s existing rigorous sanitation guidelines. In the run-up to the opening of Radisson Blu Resort Mosi-oa-Tunya, Livingstone, Zambia will implement the Radisson Hotel Group brand standards including the Radisson Hotels Safety Protocol related to safety and security.



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