First Hyatt Regency in Ethiopia opens

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Hyatt Regency has become the eighth international franchise hotel to join the hospitality industry in the capital with a soft on the first day of January 2019.

Built to a five-star standard, the hotel is located five kilometres from Bole International Airport. The hotel features 188 guestrooms, including 12 suites, two executive suites, one presidential suite and one royal presidential suite with four bedrooms.

Standing at the junction of Africa Avenue and Jomo Kenyatta Street near Mesqel Square, the construction of the hotel took over 13 years to complete. The hotel has meeting facilities that boast 1,700Sqm. It also has recreational facilities including a fitness area with spa and manicure salon facilities, a 400Sqm terrace designed for dining and social events.

Hyatt Regency is the second franchise hotel to be owned by a non-national, aside from Sheraton Addis Hotel, which is owned by Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi. The owner, Albwardy Investment, is a Dubai-based company that operates a total of 30 companies globally including food distribution, logistics, marine engineering, construction, insurance, polo sports and hospitality.

Albwardy, which owns Hyatt Regency in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 13 other countries in Africa and across the world, invested 25 million dollars in acquiring the two hotels from M.A. Kharafi & Sons Plc in 2013. When Albwardy acquired the two properties they were still under construction and overseen by the consultancy firm of Zemedeneh Negatu.

The former owners of M.A Kharafi & Sons Plc originally planned to build two hotels: a three-star hotel, Ibis; and a four-star hotel, Novotel, under the French Accor Hotel brand. Albwardy combined the two properties and created the five-star Hyatt Hotel.

Hilton Addis pioneered the franchise hotel era in Ethiopia during the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie. Sheraton joined Hilton in the late 1990s, followed by Radisson Blu. Other entrants into the market are Golden Tulip, Marriott Executive Apartment, Ramada and Best Western Addis that are currently operating in the capital.

Experts in the hospitality industry applaud the entry of Hyatt in the capital.

As a global brand the franchise can potentially attract more clients and tourists into the country, according to Ayalew Sisay (PhD), a tourism management lecturer at St. Mary’s University.

“Addis Abeba is becoming a destination of international and regional conferences. Thus, it can serve as one of the venues for these events,” Ayalew said.

Last fiscal year, a total of 933,000 tourists visited the country, generating 3.5 billion dollars in foreign currency. Addis Abeba is ranked as one of the top ten host African countries and held over 17 international meetings in 2017.

“Knowledge, technology transfer and job opportunities are additional benefits derived from the presence of international hotels,” Ayalew told Fortune.

Story by Temsgen Mulugeta

Source: Addis Fortune

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