The Angolan government is putting strong measures in place to bolster the country’s tourism and hospitality industries.
“Higher oil prices and sounder policies under President Joao Lourenco should bring greater stability to Africa’s second largest crude exporter, strengthening the country’s institutions and attracting foreign investment that will spur economic growth and contribute to the diversification of the economy, including sectors such as tourism and hospitality,” says Wayne Troughton of specialist hospitality and real estate consultancy firm, HTI Consulting.
The Angolan economy suffered a setback when the oil price crashed in 2014 – and decreasing oil prices in 2016 saw negative GDP of -0.7%. However, the new government’s Macroeconomic Stabilisation Programme, along with a resurgence in the oil price currently trading above $70 a barrel, has brought a renewed energy to Angola, says Troughton. “Ultimately, a restored economic environment will have a positive impact on the country’s tourism and hospitality markets. A series of measures are currently expediting the issuance of tourist and business visas, a historically difficult process that has long been a major complaint from international companies and should help to ease business travel.”
In addition to this, construction on the new Luanda International Airport has recommenced, following delays to its original opening scheduled for 2015/2016. The airport is forecast to open in 2020, and projected to increase Luanda's overall capacity from 3.6 million to 15 million passengers per annum.
The Sonangol Hotel project is also back on track after a two-year shutdown. The 377-room, 24-storey hotel in Luanda is set to be one of the largest and most impressive hotel units in the country, and is due to see works completed this year. Park Inn by Radisson Lagos Apapais is also set to open later this year, and according to local Angolan newspaper, Valor Econômico, there may be a return by AccorHotels to the country. “We believe in the long-term potential in the countries that we operate in, and within the context of Angola, we look forward to developing our operations there in the future and providing our management expertise across a range of brands,” said Alka Winter, Vice President of Global Communications AccorHotels Middle East and Africa – but didn’t go into specific details.
In addition to this, the Angolan government announced in August that an investment of $20 million was being allocated to construct a local hospitality training institute – the Luanda Hotel School – in a bid to boost the country’s tourism industry. “The $20 million project, which is a both a working hotel and a hospitality school, is expected to open within 12 months and will have a capacity for 500 students will have 50 rooms, 12 classrooms and accommodation for 96 students,” said Minister for Hotels and Tourism, Pedro Mutindi.
Furthermore, a new Operational Plan for Tourism 2018/2022 is set to help leverage tourism in the economy. According to the minister, “it is essential to improve basic services, such as access roads and inspection of tourist sites, in order to safeguard their facilities, as well as training human resources to allow Angola to reach world standards in the tourism sector”.