Into Africa: Expanding in a Growing Market

January 22, 2014

  Protea Hotels in Africa

This morning, we announced that we signed definitive agreements to acquire Protea Hotels of Capetown, South Africa. We will buy their brands and management business.

When the deal is complete in April, we will be the largest hotel company in Africa.  We currently have hotels in Egypt and Algeria with hotels under construction in Rwanda, Tunisia, Nigeria, Ghana, Morocco, Ethiopia, Gabon and Benin.  We have 23 hotels in our active pipeline in Africa.

Protea has 116 hotels across three brands -- Protea, Fire & Ice! and African Pride.  They have over 10,000 rooms in South Africa, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

Several of the Protea Hotels are the only hotels in secondary and tertiary markets in South Africa.  We believe this acquisition will establish our company in an underdeveloped and growing market.  The International Monetary Fund says 10 of the 20 fastest growing world economies are African, and Reuters says 5 to 6 percent growth in sub-Saharan Africa is expected between 2013 and 2014.

Since 2006, travel to Africa has increased 34 percent, according to the World Travel and Tourism Commission.

Arthur Gillis founded Protea 30 years ago.  Their company culture puts people first – associates and guests.  I think this was a major factor in bringing our two companies together.  Arthur and his excellent team will remain in place and spearhead our growth in Africa.  We are truly excited with this acquisition and feel it will contribute greatly in rounding out our global growth platform.

Hats off to our great negotiating team lead by Alex Kyriakidas president of our Middle East and Africa regions and Rick Hoffman, executive vice president of mergers, acquisitions and business development.

I'm Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move.


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As a frequent visitor to South Africa, to see an elderly relative, I cannot express how pleased I am at this move. I have stayed in several Protea Hotels and they are good, but I do feel they need the Marriott touch. I have a Marriott Platinum reward card and am looking forward to booking for next January's trip.

Dear Mr. Marriott and Mr. Kyriakidas,

I am grateful to witness Marriott's merger with the Protea brands. It is exciting to me because I have a home at Marriott while being supportive of efforts that take place on the continent of Africa.

I once performed a wildlife rescue where I flew to South Africa with an abused primate in order to have it find a home on a wildlife sanctuary in Pretoria, SA. It was one of the richest experiences in my life. I have gone to seven other countries in Africa since, but that memory I will always cherish.

I am now a Marriott engineer where I serve as an apprentice here in Chicago. I meet guests from South Africa from time to time and am certain to extend as much hospitality as possible.

Thanks for the news.

All the best,

Bartell Keithley Jr.

Indeed brilliant!!

I am happily associated with Marriott for over 10 years and celebrating.
Always wondered that we are present in so many beautiful places around the world, but Africa.
Its happening finally,
Congratulations everybody!

I look forward to work and adventure combo together now.
warm regards,

Chef Jolly
Executive Chef
JW Marriott Bengaluru, India

Awesome! Congratulations Mr. Bill Marriott. More...

This is sansational! When I started with the company 13 years ago, I remember we were pushing for 2,000 hotels worldwide. There was a lady working the front desk with me on a work Visa from Ghana Africa. We become close friends and I've kept in touch with her after all these years. Now, I will be able to use trade-out to go visit her! Thank you so much for ever exceeding my expectations as an employee, both professionally and personally! Honored to be a part of Marriott's dynamic workforce.

This sounds exciting - Marriott hotels in Africa - what a great way to spend a vacation staying with a brand that we know and trust. Can you give us a rough timeframe of when these hotels will be available? Thanks!

Really exciting. Africa...someday!