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Minor Hotel Group and Sun International announce major plans for Africa

Minor Hotel Group and Sun International announce major plans for Africa
August 6, 2015 Thabo

Minor Hotel Group (MHG) announced its launch of a regional office in Johannesburg on 30 July, to represent its Southern Africa portfolio. This owner, investor and operator that originated in Thailand and now has a portfolio of 134 hotels and resorts with 17,000 keys in 22 countries across Asia Pacific, the Middle East, Europe, South America, Africa and the Indian Ocean, is consolidating its growing presence in Africa.

The new regional office in Johannesburg will represent the ten properties in Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Zambia and brings together team members from various business functions, including operations, sales, marketing, finance and HR. This is a strategic move for MHG as it combines resources to benefit the properties within the region and strengthen its position to maximise the opportunities within this key market.

Dillip Rajakarier, CEO Minor Hotel Group, says: “This new office opening in Johannesburg represents a key step for Minor Hotel Group, demonstrating our commitment to the African market and enabling us to work more effectively within the region. We are here in Jo’burg today to celebrate the growing presence of the group in Africa with our partners, the travel trade, media and other stakeholders.”

MHG currently has a portfolio of 26 properties in seven countries in Southern and East Africa with three of its brands represented – Anantara, Avani and Elewana Collection. Per Aquum is the group’s boutique luxury brand and will be added early next year when Essque Zalu Zanzibar is rebranded.

At the beginning of July, five hotels in southern Africa were rebranded to MHG’s upscale Avani brand. The five properties form part of the portfolio in which MHG invested a total of R679.5-million in its strategic partnership with Sun International, announced in August last year. MHG’s investment resulted in the group owning a stake in two properties in both Zambia and Lesotho and one property in Botswana and Namibia.

– 212-key Zambezi Sun in Zambia has been rebranded to Avani Victoria Falls Resort (pictured above)
– 196-key Gaborone Sun in Botswana has become Avani Gaborone Resort & Casino
– 158-key Lesotho Sun and 105-key Maseru Sun, both in Lesotho, have been rebranded to Avani Lesotho Hotel & Casino and Avani Maseru Hotel respectively
– 173-key Kalahari Sands in Namibia has reflagged to Avani Windhoek Hotel & Casino.
– The well-known Royal Livingstone Resort, the sixth property in the portfolio, will not be rebranded and is being marketed through Anantara’s distribution channels.

Since the partnership was formed last year, both companies’ core strengths have been leveraged, with MHG assuming the hotel management, marketing and distribution of the properties, while Sun International has continued to manage the on-property casino operations.

Earlier this year MHG added six camps in Kenya, the result of two of East Africa’s most prestigious property portfolios merging, following the acquisition of Cheli & Peacock Group of Companies by the Elewana Collection. The acquisition sees the six Cheli & Peacock properties, namely, Elsa’s Kopje, Elephant Pepper Camp, Joy’s Camp, Tortilis Camp, Kitich Camp and Lewa Safari Camp, merge under the banner of the Elewana Collection to form a comprehensive circuit of 14 properties spanning the highlights of Northern Tanzania, Kenya and Zanzibar.

In April, MHG announced its first foray into North Africa through a new partnership with Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company to develop two new Anantara resorts to open in 2017: the 93-key Anantara Tozeur Resort in the southwest of Tunisia and the 230-key Anantara Al Houara Tangier Resort in northern Morocco.