Africa’s hotel sector has the potential for further growth over the next five years, with an increase in the number of foreign and domestic travellers, as well as an expansion in a number of hotel chains on the continent reinforcing the industry's untapped potential, a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers showed on Thursday.

PwC’s eighth edition of the Hotels outlook: 2018-2022 includes information about hotel accommodation in South Africa, Nigeria, Mauritius, Kenya and Tanzania. The report projects that hotel room revenue for the five markets will increase at a 7.4 percent  compound annual rate to R50.5 billion in 2022 from R35.2 billion in 2017.

South African hotel room revenue is expected to expand at a 5.6 percent compound annual rate to R21.8 billion in 2022 from R16.6 billion in 2017.

The total number of travellers in South Africa is expected to reach 19.5 million, an increase of four percent from last year.

Nigeria is expected to be the fastest-growing country over the next five years, with a number of new hotels scheduled to be opened. Kenya, Tanzania and Mauritius should be the next fastest growing, with compound annual increases of 9.6 percent, 9.1 percent and 7.2 percent, respectively. 

While the fundamentals affecting tourism to South Africa remained favourable, helped by an improving global and local economy, it was impacted by other factors like the water shortage in Cape Town, the country's tourism capital, added PwC.

"As there is little historical precedence, it is difficult to project the impact of the drought on tourism," it said.

"Although bookings were down in Cape Town, overall tourism to South Africa held up during the festive season and actually picked up in the first quarter of 2018. Hotels in Cape Town are taking a number of steps to conserve water. If the winter rainfall continues at the current rate, the crisis may be limited in scope."

Tourism to the African continent has proven to be resilient in the face of economic and political uncertainty, impacts of droughts and other regulatory changes, PwC southern Africa hospitality industry leader Pietro Calicchio said.

"The opportunities are aplenty for this industry to enjoy further growth albeit at a more modest pace," Calicchio said.

"However, as we continue to see there are also a number of challenges facing each country. This is an industry that is reactive to the smallest change in political, regulatory, safety and sustainability matters."

- African News Agency (ANA)