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Radisson Hotel Group announces new appointments to drive its expansion for Africa

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Radisson Hotel Group Head of Development for Africa, Ramsay Rankoussi

Radisson Hotel Group is one of the largest hotel groups in Africa with almost 100 hotels in operation and under development, and with the ambition to grow its presence across the continent to over 150 hotels by 2025.

Based in Dubai, Ramsay Rankoussi has been with the company for more than six years and now leads Radisson Hotel Group’s growth in Africa. The appointment reinforces Radisson Hotel Group’s confidence that Africa continues to be a region of growth.

With the addition of Daniel Trappler as Senior Director, Development for Sub-Sahara, the company becomes increasingly relevant to owners. He brings a unique set of skills to the investment community. He is one of the few specialists in hotel transactions and capital markets, dedicated to Africa. Trappler’s strong understanding of the region unlocks access to a network of financial institutions which represents the biggest challenge across the continent, in terms of deal structuring and hotel openings.

Radisson Hotel Group’s development and growth strategy in Africa follows a two-fold approach. The first part concentrates on focus countries while the second centers around creating key hubs. By creating a mass city scale development strategy with a focus on key countries and surrounding markets including Morocco, Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa, the group’s ‘hub approach’ ensures synergy among neighboring countries and creates further value for its hotels, in terms of both development and operations. Each member of Radisson Hotel Group’s development team is a leader in this approach because of their geographical proximity as well as their local cultural knowledge and linguistic understanding of each focus market.

Also Read: Sustainable Tourism Development In Africa: Interview With Thomas Müller, CEO, rainmaker

Asked about this new vision, Elie Younes, Chief Development Officer for the group says, “Africa has always been at the forefront of our growth journey and we have recently adopted a new tailored strategy across the continent, reflecting the needs of the market and also underlining our ambitions to accelerate our presence in all key cities. I am very pleased with Ramsay’s new role overseeing our development in Africa. Over the last 6 years, Ramsay has proven to be a key asset to our development team, and with the appointment of Daniel, we become increasingly relevant to our owners and investment partners. We look forward to developing our presence even further and contributing to the local community through job creation and additional positive knock-on effects of investment.”

Daniel Trappler Senior Director, Development, Sub Sahara Africa (Image credit: Radisson Hotel Group)

The targeted territories where the group is focused on growing its presence include the Maghreb; West Africa with Senegal and Ivory Coast; Central Africa with Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo; East Africa with Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania; and finally, specific countries within the Southern African Development Community such as Angola, Mauritius, Mozambique and Zambia.

Ramsay Rankoussi, the group’s Head of Development for Africa said, “This is a tremendous opportunity to further accelerate our growth in Africa and I am pleased to be surrounded by the best team. We have ensured a geographical alignment in our resources and optimized our response time with deal experts in every market we cover. The addition of Daniel to the team unlocks a new horizon where Radisson Hotel Group will be able to further assist our partners in debt and equity raising, but we will also leverage our complete skillset in addressing cross-regional synergies from financial to construction solutions to ensure we always remain relevant to our owners.

What really sets us apart, is our pragmatic design approach and our transparency throughout the process, in combination with our continuous guidance throughout each phase, including construction and financing. We are always quick to provide answers and support.”

Issued by Radisson Hotel Group

Hospitality & Tourism

RIF Trust Residency and Citizenship by Investment for Africans in 2024

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Young, upwardly mobile Africans are recognising that Residency and Citizenship by Investment Programmes can take them places. RIF Trust, part of the Latitude Group, are global experts leading the investment migration industry with their fingers to the pulse, tracking the latest developments. Here is a summary of the top programmes:

Caribbean Citizenship by Investment Programmes:

The Caribbean Citizenship by Investment Programmes are available in the Eastern Caribbean region. Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, and St Lucia are the countries offering you the chance to invest in citizenship.  

These Citizenship by Investment programmes give citizenship in return for a financial donation to the country’s economic development.  Becoming a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, and St Lucia enhances your global mobility, making it easier for you to visit destinations such as the UK and the European Schengen Area. 

On Wednesday, March 20, 2024, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, and St Kitts and Nevis leaders came together virtually to sign a Memorandum of Agreement. There was no representative from St Lucia. The 4 Prime Ministers agreed to raise the Citizenship by Investment price threshold to be at a minimum of $200,000 by Sunday, June 30, 2024.

Currently, the minimum investment you can make in Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, and St Lucia CBI is $100,000. To get Grenada Citizenship by Investment, you must make a capital outlay of at least $150,000. The minimum CBI threshold in St Kitts and Nevis, however, is $250,000.

Portugal Golden Visa:

Portugal is known for its high quality of life with stunning beaches, historic cities, and delicious cuisine, making it an outstanding place to visit or raise a family. 

The Portugal Golden Visa programme offers you residency in Portugal. As the real estate option ended in 2023, the most popular route is through an investment of €500,000 in a Portuguese investment fund or venture capital fund. 

The visa is valid for six years through renewals and is a pathway to permanent residency or citizenship, assuming that you learn basic Portuguese.  You must spend seven days in Portugal during the first year of residency and 14 days in each subsequent two-year period to maintain the visa.  

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It gives holders visa-free travel access to all 27 European Schengen countries. You can include your spouse, dependent children, and dependent parents over 55 years old as part of your application. 

Spain Golden Visa:

Spain is one of the most popular tourist destinations, with an ever-growing number of expats attracted to its appealing climate and laidback lifestyle.

The Spain Golden Visa programme offers Spanish residency via a minimum investment in real estate of €500,000. The visa is valid for 10 years and can lead to permanent residency or citizenship. It gives holders visa-free travel access to European Schengen countries. 

Spain has a strong economy, excellent education and healthcare systems, and a rich cultural heritage. Popular sports and activities include football, golf, and beach activities, and Spain is known for its high-end gastronomy and fashionable nightlife. Living in Spain provides access to some of Europe’s most stylish cities, including Madrid and Barcelona, and stunning coastal regions.

Greek Golden Visa:

The Greece Golden Visa programme offers residency in Greece through a minimum investment in real estate of €250,000.  The programme is one of the lowest-cost residency routes within the European Union (EU). It gives holders visa-free travel access throughout EU Schengen countries. 

With this visa, you do not need to spend time in Greece, and you can include a spouse and biological or adopted children up to the age of 21 living within the family home in your application. Investing in real estate in Greece not only delivers you a Golden visa but also gets you to collect rent from any tenant you rent the property out to. The visa is valid for five years and can be renewed indefinitely.

Malta Permanent Residence Programme

The Malta Permanent Residence Programme (MPRP) offers non-EU citizens the chance to obtain permanent residency in Malta starting from a minimum capital outlay of €150,000. 

The MPRP provides freedom of movement within the EU, including visa-free travel to the European Schengen countries. To qualify, you must either rent a property in the south of Malta or Gozo for a minimum of €10,000 per year or purchase a property for a minimum of €368,000. 

This, along with access to Malta’s healthcare, education, and job opportunities and a tax-efficient system, makes the MPRP an alluring option if you’re looking to obtain permanent residency in Europe.

These are the top Residency and Citizenship by Investment options recommended for Africans in 2024 to access global opportunities and global mobility. If you would like to explore these programmes further, it is important to consult with an investment migration expert like RIF Trust. For further details, visit www.riftrust.com, call +234 (0)9123515849, or email nigeria@riftrust.com.

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Nairobi’s hospitality sector is thriving

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Nairobi’s infrastructure has grown significantly, sparking investment not only in the hospitality sector but broadly across all real estate asset classes.

Hospitality has bounced back remarkably after the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, emerging as one of the best-performing asset classes in 2023. This resurgence is particularly notable in Nairobi. The strategic position of Kenya’s capital city serves as an East African hub for various industries, including corporate, government, MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions), embassies and tourism, which makes it an attractive destination for hospitality and residence brands. The increasing and diversifying demand for accommodation is creating meaningful opportunities for market expansion and business growth.

This buoyant view reflects the insights of the thought leaders who will explore opportunities in East Africa’s fastest growing and most resurgent sector at the 11th annual East Africa Property Investment (EAPI) Summit Hospitality & Residences Forum on 17 and April 2024 in Nairobi, Kenya. The forum will cover key hospitality trends, from greening to financing, development, resorts, safari, and more, creating a crucial platform for stakeholders in the hospitality and residence sectors.

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The event will convene at the landmark Radisson Blu Upperhill, which recently received an EDGE (Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiency) rating, showcasing East Africa’s potential for sustainable and efficient hospitality development.

Radisson Hotel Group is the lead sponsor of the EAPI Hospitality Forum, and its Senior Director, Development – Sub-Sahara Africa, Daniel Trappler, is a guest speaker at the gathering. Looking at the hospitality market, Trappler reports that demand drivers are creating the need for accommodation in Nairobi — both short stay and long stay. “As demand continues to grow in all segments, this has balanced the influx of international and regional brands developing over the past decade, sidestepping the potential risk of oversupply. Hotel operators can continue to benefit from good business by operating hotels in the East African hub.”

Trappler highlights that hospitality is a key economic driver, employment creator and focal property type in regions throughout East Africa.

Fiona Craw, JLL’s Vice President Hotels & Hospitality Group, Sub-Saharan Africa, reports that JLL is seeing growing interest from investors, especially in markets such as Nairobi and Zanzibar. Craw also notes that private equity funds have been key in driving the transaction market in Nairobi over the past 48 months. “Hotels globally are emerging as a preferred asset class with global revenue per available room (RevPAR) recovering well, driven by strengthening urban performance. While the hospitality sector was the most severely affected by the pandemic, it has been one of the fastest asset classes to recover across Africa and East Africa.”

Even so, Craw points out that access to capital for hotel developments will remain challenging in the short term. The resultant significantly lower pipeline of new developments across the region has created a strong performance narrative for existing hotels. “This was evident in 2023 with the Nairobi hotel market achieving higher occupancies and average daily rates than in 2019 pre-pandemic,” says Craw, adding, “A key change driving demand is accessibility.”

Nairobi’s infrastructure has grown significantly, sparking investment not only in the hospitality sector but broadly across all real estate asset classes. A game changer for the Nairobi hotel market was the opening of the Express Way in 2022, creating ease of access between Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and Westlands, the key commercial hub. “As a result, hospitality brands have been increasing their presence over the years, with all the key operators and brands actively looking at expanding their portfolio not only in Nairobi but across secondary cities in Kenya,” reveals Craw.

This expansion is opening doors for development-focused regions to construct hotels designed and operated for high efficiency, resulting in utilities cost savings for owners, lower future regulatory capex requirements and better access to green funding. “Moreover, embedding environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles into hotel management agreements aligns the goals of the property owners and operators since investors and stakeholders are paying more attention to these aspects in the hospitality sector.” Africa is rapidly advancing in sustainable hotel practices.

Focusing on the short-term rental and residence sectors in Nairobi, Eleni Georgopoulou, Founder and CEO of YourHost Ltd, says demand is growing significantly, driven by factors such as economic growth, improved transport connectivity, the burgeoning middle class, and online booking platforms. “The likes of Airbnb, and VRBO have revolutionised the hospitality industry. People now have access to a wide range of accommodation options, including short-term rentals, making it more convenient and accessible to both domestic and international travellers.”

While demand is being met with adequate supply, and there are concerted efforts to continually improve the experiences at these properties, Georgopoulou notes that there is still room to do more. “It is crucial to ensure that there are enough properties to cater to a wide range of budgets and preferences to ensure customer satisfaction. Developers are actively constructing new properties and refurbishing existing ones to meet travellers’ changing preferences. They are introducing fresh, modern designs, prioritising and expanding their guest services, instilling guest confidence with robust security measures, embracing sustainability practices and green principles, and integrating smart technology to make stays seamless.”

Commenting on Radisson Hotel Group’s sponsorship of the event, Trappler says, “Radisson Hotel Group is proud to sponsor this year’s EAPI Hospitality Forum, which is a strong platform to display the growth of the market and further understand how its players are performing and evolving. As our group pushes more to enter both the Tanzania/Zanzibar and Ugandan markets, meeting players from these regions is hugely valuable, and not just those from the hospitality space, but also the larger real estate sector in general.”

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Hospitality & Tourism

JW Marriott Unveils Second Property, JW Marriott Hotel In Kenya

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JW Marriott, part of Marriott Bonvoy’s portfolio of over 30 extraordinary hotel brands, today unveils its second property in Kenya with the opening of JW Marriott Hotel Nairobi. Standing as the tallest hotel in the country with 35 stories in the Westlands commercial district, JW Marriott Hotel Nairobi captures the essence of Kenya’s natural beauty and heritage, offering travellers a peaceful escape for the mind, body, and soul.

“As JW Marriott expands its presence in Africa, the brand enriches the region with a legacy of luxurious hospitality, seamlessly weaving together its dedication to holistic well-being and fostering meaningful connections throughout the continent,” said Helen Leighton, Vice President, Luxury Brands & Communications, Marriott International, Europe, Middle East & Africa. “JW Marriott Hotel Nairobi perfectly embodies the city’s contemporary yet mindful urban lifestyle. The property combines the warmth of African hospitality with serene spaces where guests can disconnect from distraction, focus on the present moment, and reconnect with what matters most to them.”

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The hotel features 315 sophisticated guestrooms, five internationally-inspired dining destinations, a luxury Spa by JW, swimming pool, fitness center, and eight exceptional event spaces for gatherings and celebrations. An additional 51 spacious serviced apartments and a sky bar & lounge are slated to open later in the year.

An Urban Sanctuary – Bringing the Outdoors In

The hotel’s interior design is largely inspired by the beauty, heritage, and palette of Kenya’s great outdoors. Designed by George Wong, the property is inspired by the spirit and story of an African adventure, with an earth-toned colour palette of savannah browns, Maasai reds, cultural terracotta, and safari green incorporated throughout its spaces.

These aesthetic choices introduce a new echelon of luxury to the city, featuring intentional spaces that allow guests to connect with the essence of Africa, while enjoying the comforts of a modern urban hotel. Throughout the property a collection of unique works of art – from sculptures and handmade ceramics to wall murals and regional textiles – tell the story of the breathtaking Kenyan landscape.

The guest rooms and suites – including one Presidential Suite – offer guests a contemporary retreat to recharge and reset with breathtaking views of the city. Situated on the nine top-most floors of the high-rise tower, spacious serviced apartments will offer luxurious, exclusive experiences for long-stay guests and family groups in one, two, and three-bedroom apartments.

Mindful moments can be found at Spa by JW, which offers bespoke wellness experiences for guests during their stay, including customisable massages and beauty treatments to refresh and invigorate the body. Guests can maintain their daily routines at the state-of-the-art Fitness Center on the fifth floor, featuring a yoga studio, steam room, and an outdoor pool and terrace, offering an ideal space for ultimate relaxation.

Worldly Culinary Destinations

JW Marriott Hotel Nairobi is home to a host of rich culinary experiences that elevate the city’s hospitality scene to new standards of sophistication, with the goal of creating special moments and  fostering a deeper connection between guests and locals. All-day MIDI Café & Patisserie creates the ideal spot for quick breakfasts, light lunches, or afternoon coffee and cake, while Myna Restaurant showcases international cuisine with an African flair, serving sumptuous buffet-style breakfasts and family Sunday brunches, as well as lunches and dinner from its indoor and outdoor terrace setting.    

Hudson Tavern Bar & Grill offers the ideal setting to relax while watching live sports, featuring an authentic grill house serving tapas, mezze, and classic American burgers. Fine dining in the capital city is enhanced with the arrival of Mughal, celebrating the esteemed cuisine and culture of the Mughal Empire. Guests can embark on a unique culinary journey immersed in sumptuous décor and stories reminiscent of a gracious, bygone era. The cocktail bar is a highlight, serving signature drinks and mocktails infused with Mughal ingredients and spices.

Slated to open later this year, Mr. Pang Sky Bar & Lounge, situated on the 31st floor of the hotel, is set to become the city’s evening hotspot, offering modern Pan-Asian cuisine and upscale mixology offerings across its indoor bar and lounge, outdoor terrace, and two private dining spaces, including a premium whiskey library.

Fostering Connections

JW Marriott Hotel Nairobi offers over 1,700 square metres of exceptional meeting and event spaces equipped with state-of-the-art technologies, catering to all occasions from corporate events and meetings to family gatherings and celebrations. The pillar-less Grand Ballroom, hosting up to 800 guests, is an inspirational venue for the city and can be adapted for a range of events including luxury weddings. The hotel also has a sustainable meeting program, which includes strategies for reducing waste, ensuring responsible waste management, and maintaining energy efficiency to reduce the carbon footprint of events. 

“JW Marriott Hotel Nairobi takes pride in ushering in a new chapter of refinement to our capital city,” added Eben Nel, General Manager, JW Marriott Hotel Nairobi. “The property is perfectly situated for restful overnight stays for those visitors adventuring into the country’s magnificent game reserves. For those visiting the city for longer and needing to revitalize their souls by immersing themselves in nature, the tranquility of Nairobi National Park, the world’s only national park within a capital city, is just a short drive out of the Central Business District. We are thrilled to open our doors and offer a warm Kenyan welcome, world-class service, and generous hospitality to our guests.”

Westlands is a social and entertainment hotspot within close proximity to Nairobi’s Central Business District and a number of top local attractions, including Nairobi National Museum, Karen Blixen Museum, Maasai Market, Bomas of Kenya, and Karura Forest, an urban upland forest on the outskirts of Nairobi. The Nairobi expressway links the area to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, which is just a 20-minute drive away.

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