Kempinski’s Investment in Ghana

Kempinski Hotels have a busy year ahead with many openings set to take place globally in upcoming 2 years. One major opening for them however will be that of the 269 room Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast City, Accra, Ghana whose doors are set to open in summer 2014.

This property will be the group’s first West African property and will bring new levels of luxury to Accra. The hotel itself will form part of the US$1Bn Accra Gold Coast City development, a public-private partnership, aiming to create a new social, physical and commercial infrastructure to attract investment and tourism to Accra and Ghana. The location of the stunning Kempinski Hotel, in the heart of the Accra Gold Coast City development, demonstrates the growing international enthusiasm for the flourishing economies of West Africa. Like Ghana itself, Kempinski is playing a leading role in creating a new and exciting future for the whole continent.

When asked about the role that emerging markets like Ghana play in the broader portfolio of high end hotel brands, Mr. Reto Wittwer, President & CEO of Kempinski Hotels commented, “We live in a globalised world. Travellers seek the same levels of service and quality from the world’s best brands at home and abroad. Kempinski has a loyal customer base which has grown accustomed to the high standards of service offered at our iconic European properties. Opening hotels in emerging markets allows us to bring our renowned brand of European luxury to our global customers in diverse destinations”.

Markus Lueck, the General Manager of the Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast City is excited about Africa’s hotel boom and the huge development opportunities available in Ghana. “In general, Africa is considered to be the market with the biggest possibility for growth, as it is yet to maximise its development potential.  Since the country found oil 6 years ago, the growth in industry has been phenomenal and on the economic front, Ghana is entering a phase of unparalleled growth. As a result, excellent business and investment opportunities have been created and the demand for four and five star hotel accommodation is growing (hence the reason for luxury hotel operators such as Kempinski entering this market). The quality of products and services is improving and this combined with other factors such as accessibility, political stability and security, makes visiting Ghana for leisure or business more appealing.”
Hotel prices in Ghana are relatively high at the moment due to the lack of supply, however Mr. Wittwer believes that “rates should normalise as the supply increases”. Recent figures from online travel agent Expedia revealed that online sales in West Africa increased by 150% from 2010 to 2011, as it sold 40,000 room nights, with approximately 40% of these in Ghana (Expedia).

In terms of employment and ensuring Kempinski hires the right people, the concern is not so much about finding enough staff but the right kind of qualified specialists. “Kempinski believes it plays a role in the raising of service standards in the industry, wherever it operates. Effective training programmes which enable and empower staff play a vital role in this. The Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast City takes this challenge very seriously and has implemented the Kempinski Training Academy which runs in conjunction with the hotel to make it possible for other talents to be nurtured, trained and coached” according to Mr. Reto Wittwer.” It is the hard-working, hospitable people of Ghana who will continue to contribute to the national development of their own country, as well as the fact that Ghana is a relatively safe and democratic country with lower-levels of corruption, that are essential elements to developing a world-class hospitality industry in Ghana, which will soon be poised to compete with Kenya and South Africa in Sub-Saharan Africa.” The brand's move into West Africa with the launch of the Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast City signifies the start of a new era for Accra. Luxury travel, business travel and tourism all stand to increase the popularity of the region and in turn will provide jobs and financial security for the local population.