International hotel brands are looking to the Ugandan market to boost the tourism sector.
In 2020, the International Conference Association ranked Uganda the 6th most popular Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (Mice) destination in Africa . This should entice international hotel chains to invest in Uganda.
According to Jean Byamugisha, executive director of the Uganda Hotel Owners Association (UHOA), at least five international hotel brands wanted to open new facilities in the country between 2020 and 2022, but the relentless Covid-19 pandemic has thwarted those plans.
“International hotel brands are now interested in investing in Uganda because of the growing mouse sector in the country,” Ms. Byamugisha said.
“The most of these new facilities in Kampala would now be open without the coronavirus pandemic. “
International hotel brands looking to introduce or expand their portfolio in Uganda include Onomo Hotels, Marriott International, Golden Tulip, Radisson Blu and Hilton International.
Marriott International, which made its debut in Uganda in 2016 with the acquisition of Starwood Hotels, is expanding its portfolio with the 142-room Four Points by Sheraton, but building the app sens in the leafy Kolo lo suburb has been slowed down by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The new facility, which should officially open in 2022, is named after the trendy upscale Naguru Skyz. The fifth hotel of the global brand in Uganda will be Sheraton Kampala Hotel, Protea Hotel by Marriott Entebbe and Protea Hotel by Marriott Kampala.
Hilton International, which opens in 2019 with the opening of the Hilton Garden Inn Kampala with 96 rooms Arrived in Uganda, plans to expand its presence in the countryside with the new 244-room Hilton Kampala hotel, also currently under construction in the upscale suburb of Nakasero. Hilton’s newest venture in Kampala was originally scheduled to start welcoming guests this year, but the launch has been postponed to a later date that has not yet been completed, according to Ms. Byamugisha.
Onomo Hotels, which currently operates hotels in Senegal, Rwanda, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, South Africa, Mali, Togo, Morocco, Guinea, Cameroon, Mozambique and Tanzania, another property is to open in Kampala, as it aims at at least 3,700 rooms across Africa by 2022. But these plans have been made Put on hold for now.
Late last year, Radisson Blu was in the final stages of buying a property in Kampala, but the brand’s first establishment in the country has been put on the waiting list indefinitely amid the pandemic.
The effects of Covid-19 have hit Uganda’s hospitality and the entire tourism sector hard, but it is the high-end hotels that depend on international travelers that bear the brunt, especially since d he visitor numbers have now dropped to a level the country has not seen in decades.
For years, tourism was Uganda’s largest foreign exchange earner, attracting 1,542,620 international visitors and peaking at 1.6 billion in 2019 US dollars of their cash.
But when when Covid-19 broke out last year, the industry saw a sharp decline, seeing a 69.3 percent drop in overseas visitors to 473,085 and a drop in tourism revenue of 73 Percent to $ 500 million.