Two new hotels have opened in Addis Ababa, aiming to meet some of the growing demand for hotel accommodation in the city.
Saro-Maria, a four star hotel, was inaugurated on Tuesday, while Kenenisa Hotel, named after the owner, Kenenisa Bekele, will launch this afternoon.
Despite its position as the political capital of Africa, Addis Ababa has only 110 hotels with fewer than 5,500 rooms.
The city’s top 10 hotels currently show occupancy rates in excess of 90 percent.
Saro-Maria Hotel, a four-star hotel expected to cost 150 million birr when construction is complete, is the latest in a number of new hotels opened to meet growing demand in the city.
The hotel has taken on 115 employees, 75 per cent of whom are women. “The plan is to take on more than 150,” said the hotel’s owner, Alemeyehu Nigussie.
The ‘Yes’ spring water owner-Alemayehu- has been inspired by the emergence of some big names in the city’s hospitality sector, according to Saro-Maria’s general manager, Samuel Omalla.
“Clearly, this new facility has been created as a result of an increasing potential for mid-scale flag properties, after the emergence of brands like the Sheraton, Hilton, Marriot and Radisson Blu secured footholds in the market,” he said.
The hotel opened its doors for business ahead of celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the Organization for African Union/African Union in May.
It has more than 90 rooms, including 24 suites, 12 family rooms, 18 king size extra rooms and 42 king and standard twin rooms.
Its recreational facilities include a swimming pool, gymnasium, sauna, steam bath and massage parlor. It also has a business center.
There is free wireless internet access in all rooms and public areas, conference and banqueting facilities and free secure parking.
It has two restaurants – one Italian and another offering continental cuisine – in addition to a business lounge.
Final construction costs for the hotel may run to 150 million birr. “So far, 135 million birr has been paid to different businesses involved in the construction, which took five years. “We will still have other payments to make,” the owner said.
Meanwhile, Kenenisa Bekele, three-time Olympic gold medalist, winner of five world championships and 11-time world cross country champion, lounches his hotel named after him ‘Kenenisa’ with a total investment of 200 million birr..
Kenenisa Hotel is located in front of Bole Medhanialem Church. The hotel, which is built on 1,400m2, has 55 bedrooms, two restaurants, two bars and a medium size meeting hall. The hotel has a parking lot for 70 cars.
The number of the employees of the hotel is 200 currently.
The hotel acquired 4,200m2 land and has an expansion project including additional rooms, meeting halls, swimming pool at a cost of 200 million birr so as to qualify as a five-star hotel, according to Wondwossen Disso, a close friend of Kenenisa who managed finishing works.
According to figures from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, there are more than 550 hotels in the country, with a total of more than 18,000 beds.
Including hotels with no star rating, there are almost 22,000 hotel beds across Ethiopia.
The number of diplomats and corporate clients visiting Addis is a factor in the growth of hotel chains here.
Annually, around 500,000 tourists visit the city, which is lower than in many other emerging African economies.
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism has said it aims to make Ethiopia a top five tourism destination for visitors to Africa by 2020.
The UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) forecasts that visitor numbers to Africa will rise by five to seven per cent per year until 2015.
Visitor numbers to Ethiopia are already rising dramatically – numbers increased from 184,078 in 2012 to 560,000 last year, a three-fold increase.
The average length of stay for tourists has increased to seven days, with average spending of more than USD 150 per day.
Forecasts suggest number of tourists in Ethiopia will reach 1.2 million within five years.