AHA SETS SIGHT ON AFRICA
African Hotels and Adventure (AHA), the tourism property management business of Tourvest’s Accommodation and Activities (TAA) division, intends to grow its portfolio of properties beyond the Southern African region into new African countries in order to take advantage of the growing number of leisure and business travellers to these areas.
AHA owns or manages a portfolio of properties marketed as lifestyle retreats, city hotels and lodges (see full list here), which are located in Mpumalanga, Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape. In 2010, it developed the Elephant Camp Victoria Falls lodge, a low ecological impact camp on its concession in the Victoria Falls National Park; acquired the full management contract for the Chobe Marina Lodge in the north-eastern border of Botswana in 2011; and very recently acquired the full management contract for the Ghoha Hills Camp in Botswana’s Chobe National Park, which opened to the public mid-June this year.
AHA managing director Neil Bald says the success of its Victoria Falls and Botswanan lodges has prompted Tourvest to look outside of Southern Africa for further growth opportunities. “Our initial approach will be to look for properties in countries in which Tourvest already has a presence, either through its retail travel operations or its inbound tour operator division, or to complement Tourvest’s activity-based business such as Drifters, which offers overland safari tours as far afield as Uganda and East Africa,” he says. Tourvest is also the owner and operator of Lemala Luxury Camps in Kenya and Tanzania.
In July this year, Tourvest paid a visit to Ghana to explore areas of mutual co-operation within Ghana’s tourism industry. The fact-finding trip included inspections of a number of boutique hotels in the capital city Accra as well as the Kakum National Park, which hosts the world’s largest canopy walkway; the Shai Hills Reserve; the Mole National Park; and the Slave Castles of the Cape Coast.
Bald says AHA will be going on similar trips to other African countries identified as having investment potential including Kenya, Uganda and the Ivory Coast. “AHA offers hotel owners a number of benefits including integrated support functions, access to the e-Res reservation tool which plugs into as many as 22 online channels including leading global travel distribution systems such as Galileo, Amadeus, Expedia.com, Booking.com as well as the properties’ own online web booking engine and the large volumes of tourists sourced by the group’s travel agency and tour operator businesses,” he says.