Nairobi set to cement regional dominance with more hotels


(eTN) – News has emerged from Nairobi that the arrival on the hospitality scene by Rezidor, owner of the Radisson hotel brand, will invigorate the hotel market in the Kenyan capital. The company is reportedly going to open a medium-sized hotel in the Westlands area of Nairobi as more global players are also eyeing Kenya as a new and lucrative destination.

Presently InterContinental, Hilton, and Fairmont are the three leading global brands present in Nairobi but Sheraton, Marriott, Kempinski, and others are also said to be keenly observing the market development in Kenya, which in recent years, in spite of bumps in the road, has positioned itself as East Africa’s leading MICE destination with, in particular, Nairobi taking the lion’s share of the meeting and convention business opting for an East African destination. They, however, have to contend with regional giant Serena Hotels and local Kenyan group Sarova, both of which have a strong market position with their Nairobi flagship properties combined with a regional network of safari lodges and beach resorts.

The government’s plans to construct a brand new state-of-the-art convention center in Mombasa has also spurred interest for coastal properties, but for now the “big league” is probably more keen on being represented in Nairobi than seeking a presence in the coastal resort market.

A planned expansion of the international airport in Nairobi, which includes a second runway in the medium term, is also thought to be an added factor for investors in the hotel industry in Kenya, as more airlines are queuing up to fly into East Africa’s strongest aviation hub. More airlines and more flights are the foundation for more passengers streaming into Kenya, and they all need a bed to sleep in.