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Immediately after a decision from Hilton Addis Ababa’s Board of Directors, Hilton Worldwide is going to sign the first management contract agreement with TAFBB Business Plc to develop another Hilton brand hotel in the capital.
Around fifty years ago, Hilton Worldwide and the government of Ethiopia agreed to manage the first international hotel in the country. It was mostly owned by the Ethiopian government.
In their deal the two bodies agreed to prevent other Hilton brands from being in Ethiopia. This meant that even though there has been a hotel boom the global hospitality giant was unable to expand their footprint in the country. Recently the government has allowed other Hilton brands in regional towns.
In its latest meeting the board of directors of Hilton Addis Ababa chaired by Yinager Dessi (PhD), head of the National Planning Commission, allowed other Hilton brands to open in the capital.
The Hilton Addis Ababa board approved the decision a year ago. The Prime Minister allowed other Hilton hotels to operate in Addis Ababa.
According to the information that Capital obtained Hilton Worldwide received the board of directors’ decision on August 24.
The management of Hilton Worldwide acted quickly and signed an agreement to bring in Double Tree, which is owned by Hilton Hotel, through the locally based TAFBB Business Plc.
Capital was unable to confirm if the current decision of the board of directors enables all types of Hilton brands to operate in the city. Sources said that the board has only approved the operation of Double Tree by Hilton Hotel.
The company has agreed with local firms Belayneh Kinde Import Export and Sunshine Group to open Hilton Hotels in Bahir Dar and Hawassa respectively.
Teka Assfaw, Managing Director of TAFBB Business Plc, told Capital that his company and Hilton Worldwide will sign a 25 year management contract.
Teka said that in the past seven months the two bodies have been negotiating to establish the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel brand and expected a final decision from the government to conclude the negotiations.
“We have undertaken several discussions with several experts of Hilton including the VP to come up with a final decision,” he added.
The investor said that since construction work began about four years ago the company has undertaken several readjustments including demolishing some parts of the building to keep up with Hilton Worldwide standards.
The construction of the hotel building, located in the luxurious part of the city in Bole about one kilometer from Bole International Airport is almost 70 percent finished.
The G+11 building, which is 1,000 square meters in area has 108 beds, two restaurants, two bars, two halls, shops and banks, gym and a spa, and other facilities.
Teka said that hotel will cost 300 million birr.
He said that all the furnishing materials are imported from Europe. DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel has a star rating from three to five, depending on the hotel.
Our hotel is expected to be four stars but the final decision will come from the committee under the Ministry of Culture and Tourism that provides the rating.
Teka said that the project that is expected to be operational by the first quarter of 2018 has a basement and open area parking lot with the capacity of managing up to 80 cars.
Other than the structural work, the project is being carried out by Sisay Sebsibe Construction.
Hilton Worldwide has a 50-year management contract with the Ethiopian government to run the Hilton Addis property, first opened in 1969 by Emperor Haile Selassie. The contract, to be renewed every decade, gives Hilton Worldwide a 20pc share of the revenue, while also restricting it from operating another property in the country under the Hilton brand.
Hilton Worldwide is expected to earn up to 15 percent of the annual profit of DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel.
Addis Ababa, a seat of African Union and UN Economic Commission for Africa, is one of the busiest conference destinations on the continent and the hospitality industry has been thriving.
Hilton Addis Ababa was the first and the only long serving international Hotel until Sheraton Addis began operating about two decades ago.
Capital’s effort to talk with Yinager via his phone was unsuccessful.
The government of Ethiopia and Hilton Worldwide previously agreed to annul the management deal.
Experts said that the hotel needs significant renovation work to return to its former level. But the government is not happy with the cost estimated to renovate it, so it wants to transfer it to another manager.
Some local hotel developers are also interested in managing the hotel since the government wants to transfer the management via auction.
International investors including Shangri-La Hotel and Resorts, who already delivered its proposal a couple of months ago, are showing an interest in managing the property.
Other local companies are also interested in opening Hilton brands in the capital city.