Starwood Hotels and Resorts is looking to enter into the luxury safari market and is seeking opportunities in South Africa.
Amanda Elder, Starwood’s vice president of sales for the Europe, Africa and Middle East division, told Business Day that is something new for the company, but something they want to get into.
Starwood says it is not looking to make any acquisitions in South Africa or build new hotels. The preferred model for Starwood’s entrance into the safari and bush lodge segment would be via management contracts, Elder said.
Commenting on the South African market, Elder told Business Day that "occupancies are not strong," which makes investment in new hotels unrealistic.
According to Smith Travel Research, average hotel occupancies across South Africa as latest as August were 53.1 percent compared with 51.6 percent in the same month a year earlier.
Elder said that Starwood would ultimately want a collection of about a dozen lodges.