Marriott becomes largest hotel company in Africa

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Marriott International, Inc. became the largest hotel company in Africa on Tuesday, and nearly doubled its presence in its Middle East and Africa region to more than 160 hotels and 23,000 rooms as it completed its acquisition of the 116-hotel Protea Hospitality Group (PHG), based in South Africa.

According to the World Bank, Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to grow at a more than 5 percent pace through 2015 – the perfect backdrop for Marriott International’s expansion across the continent. Marriott now operates or franchises more than 4,000 hotels in 79 countries.

At the same time, Marriott said that its pipeline of new hotels in the Middle East and Africa, including Protea’s pipeline, is now more than 65 hotels and 14,300 rooms, including more than 20 hotels and 3,000 rooms in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Marriott’s new Protea portfolio consists of 10,148 rooms in seven African countries including South Africa.  The company now manages, franchises and leases hotels across the Protea Hotels brand (103 hotels), comprising a full and diverse range of outstanding hotels and resorts; the award-winning lifestyle boutique Protea Hotel Fire & Ice! (2 hotels); and the superior deluxe African Pride Hotels collection (11 hotels).  In addition to its industry-leading 79 hotels in South Africa, Marriott’s Protea portfolio also has 37 hotels in Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

Arne Sorenson, Marriott International’s president and chief executive officer, said, “Today marks a new beginning.   We can now officially say ‘molweni!’ (Xhosa), ‘sawubona!’ (Zulu) and ‘hello!’  to South Africa and ‘welcome!’ to our approximately 15,000 new associates at both managed and franchised hotels across Protea’s portfolio.   We look forward to integrating the superb Protea team into the Marriott International family, and together, to work toward new opportunities for growth and advancement throughout South Africa and the continent.”

Marriott expects that the Protea portfolio will be available for booking on Marriott.com or via Marriott International’s Global Reservations Centers toward the end of May, and the hotels will join the Marriott Rewards guest loyalty program at a later point, to be announced.   Until then, head to www.Proteahotels.com for reservations.

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