Leading hotel chain Intercontinental Hotel Group is positioning itself to take advantage of the increased interest in Kenya as a favorite tourism and travel hub.
The hotel chain which won an award for the best city accommodation facility will be looking at newer investment opportunities to maintain its unique offerings.
“Kenya is attracting more investors in the sector as a result of the potential witnessed. We are seeing new hotels coming up and even though they pose competition we believe it is healthy and we are positioning ourselves to take advantage of the new developments”, said General and Regional Manager IHG Africa Mr Karl Hala.
He said the increase in new hotels setting up in Kenya lends credibility to the country as a tourism destination.
Speaking during a cocktail to honor winners in the recently concluded Kenya Tourism Awards hosted by the Kenya Tourism Federation and Kenya Tourist Board, Mr. Hala expressed confidence that Kenya remains a top destination for both business and leisure travelers.
“Despite increasing competition for IC Nairobi as one of the oldest hotel chains in Kenya, more credible players raise the profile of a destination by lending it more credibility”, He said.
This increased competition is a good signal for destination Kenya that there are increasing opportunities for interested investors in the industry. Hala noted that the recent infrastructural development in the country was poised to open up more opportunities for business.
Hotels are critical to economic growth. The entry of more new hotels means increased job opportunities for the youth and better livelihoods for communities. According to the World Travel and Tours Council (WTTC), the total contribution of travel and tourism to employment, including jobs indirectly supported by the industry, was 11.9% of total employment (778,500 jobs) in 2011. This is expected to rise by 1.2% in 2012 to 788,000 jobs and further rise by 1.4% per year to nearly a million jobs in 2022.
Tourism and travel contributed KES 403.7billion to GDP in Kenya’s economy (13.7% of GDP) in 2011 and is forecast to rise by 4.3% in 2012. This is expected to rise further by 3.7% annually to KES 603.1 billion over the next decade.
“We attribute the Success of our hotels to a good people culture of attracting, developing and maintaining the best talent by offering support with the right tools, systems processes and resources,” Hala said, adding that IC’s sentimental values are the pillars of the hotel’s Kenyan heritage of over 40 years.
According to the General Manager, among the hotel’s corporate social responsibility undertakings is sustainable environmental conservation. The hotel, he said, is keen on reducing its carbon foot print by eliminating practices and processes that emit excess carbon into the environment.
The Intercontinental Hotel Group has 4500 hotels in over a 100 countries worldwide and is present in 11 countries in Africa with 5 brands.