The growth of the hotel sector is an important indicator of how well a market is developing its travel infrastructure, and the indicators for West Africa are mixed.
According to W Hospitality Group’s 2017 Hotel Chains Pipeline report, West Africa has a pipeline of 114 hotels and 20,790 rooms, accounting for 42% of the Sub-Saharan African hotel pipeline.
However, of these hotel deals signed and planned, only approximately 9,875 rooms, or 48% have moved to construction. In addition, projects in the region have longer than average development periods at approximately six years, compared to the two- to three-year development program that is usually planned.
Of the hotel pipeline for West Africa, Nigeria contributes 49.6% or more than 10,000 hotel rooms (in 61 hotels). Nigeria is also the top market in Africa for planned rooms.
The other substantial markets in West Africa include Cape Verde with 11 hotels and 3,478 rooms, and Senegal with 14 hotels and 2,164 rooms. These three markets contribute a total of 15,955 hotel rooms, or 77% of the West African hotel pipeline.
Approximately 57% of the pipeline in these countries have moved to site, however some of these projects have been stalled for some time. In a country, like Nigeria, this can be significant.
For instance, 40% of Nigeria's pipeline was signed between 2009 and 2014, and as the chart above illustrates, a large portion of these projects is still in the "planning" phase. In Senegal only approximately 44% of the deals signed have moved to site.
Although the pipeline of hotels to the sub-region is encouraging and indicative of strong investor interest, the low completion rate of projects could be troubling for the development of the hotel sector.