Marriot International has acquired Arusha Hotel, the oldest tourist establishment in northern Tanzania.
The hotel chain said the 106-room Arusha Hotel will be operated under the Four Points name by Sheraton management.
“A growing middle class and demand for travel and high quality lodging has given us a significant opportunity to enhance our footprint and play our part in supporting emerging markets across the continent,” Marriot International Hotels president Alex Kyriakidis said.
The acquisition is part of Marriot’s goal to own 200 hotels comprising more than 37,000 rooms by 2022. The group seeks to generate a $8.5 billion capital investment and create 50,000 direct and indirect jobs through this development process, Mr Kyriakidis’s statement added.
Marriot’s expansion is a boost to the Tanzania government’s drive to attract more investors and other service providers.
Tanzania reportedly attracts 1.2 million tourists every year. About 80 per cent of them, nearly 900,000 end up in the Northern Circuit, the Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti National Park and Mount Kilimanjaro.
Already, the government is drafting a new tourism policy targeting the development of new tourist attractions, hotels and other investments in the sector.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism has held several meetings with tourist stakeholders from the Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar, seeking to draft a new policy to replace the Tourism Policy of 1999.
The Deputy Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr Aloyce Nzuki, said the new policy will consider diverse attractions and services including conference tourism, historical and cultural heritage sites, eco-tourism and beach.
The Tanzania Association of Tour Operators chairman Wilbard Chambullo told The EastAfrican that the policy would bring together private sector players to work with the government in developing tourism.
A tourism and hotel consultant in Arusha, Leopold Kabendera, said global marketers and hotel chains patronise Tanzania, mostly from the US, South Africa and Europe.
“We are looking for a better policy that would create public and private partnerships in tourism. This would attract more investors to inject capital through hotels and other business services,” he said.
Source: Asoko Insight