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05/16/2012

Marriott International And Sunshine Construction Agreement Set To Resonate Through Local Economy

Marriott International - Akilah InstituteMarriott International, Inc. (NYSE:MAR) and Ethiopian developer Sunshine Construction have announced a deal that will inject ETB 1 billion into the local economy over five years.

Under the agreement, Marriott International will manage two properties currently being built by Sunshine Construction – a Marriott Executive Apartments for extended stay travellers and a quality tier Courtyard by Marriott branded hotel. Both will be located in Addis Ababa and are scheduled to open in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

This marks Marriott International’s first foray into the country and is a sign of the company’s confidence in the market.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum (WEF) currently taking place in Addis Ababa, Alex Kyriakidis, President and Managing Director of Marriott International Middle East and Africa, said that there is a direct correlation between a country’s ability to grow and the entrance of hotel providers into the market. “Hotels bring new untapped revenue into the market by boosting tourism numbers and dollars, building infrastructure and creating jobs, which all resonate throughout the economy as a whole.”

Marriott International has projected that by 2018, the new Courtyard by Marriott branded hotel’s total revenue will be ETB 242 million (US$ 13 million) per year – equating to ETB 1 billion (US$ 65million) injected into the economy over five years from only one 209- room hotel.

“The fundamental demand generators that drive our industry are alive and well in this country,” Kyriakidis said. “Marriott International’s investment into this region represents the economic realisation for the need for hotels – countries need to invest in infrastructure, accommodation and airports to create jobs to grow the economy.

“By taking on these two properties Marriott International is demonstrating its confidence in the market – that it will grow and that the economy will move forward at a staggering pace.”

As Africa's second most populous country, Ethiopia has 85 million inhabitants and a population forecast to grow at over 2% per year to 95 million by 2015. This is matched by a fast growing economy due to improved agricultural performance. Investments into infrastructure, aimed at increasing tourism numbers that have been hindered in the past by limited hotel capacity, are a featured component of the government’s poverty reduction strategy paper.

Travel and tourism currently contribute US$2.8bn, around 10%, to the annual GDP and this is predicted to rise by 5.4 percent.

“A lack of quality supply of hotel rooms in the market combined with growing airline numbers, a rising economy and a growing urban population give us strong confidence in this city and market,” Kyriakidis said.
 
In tangible terms, these two hotels will create 208 local jobs over the next five years. Marriott International has a full training programme and is dedicated to up-skilling and hiring the local population to run its properties. Recruits will be trained and immersed in Marriott International’s culture through a partnership with a local training provider that is yet to be named – similar to the Akilah Women’s Institute programme that is currently underway in Kigali, Rwanda, where Marriott International will open a new hotel in 2013.

Through the appropriate training institute, local residents will learn what it means to be part of Marriott International, with training beginning one year prior to the opening of the hotel and ongoing throughout their career.

“These aren’t just jobs Marriott International is creating, these are real career opportunities with real potential for growth,” Kyriakidis said. “Creating these ongoing opportunities and investing in the development of local people on the ground, who will not only learn transferable skills, but in turn pass on that knowledge, will strengthen the Middle Class in this region. The fact that they do this while earning a salary is what will support the growing economy and encourage further growth.”

As well as Ethiopia, Marriott International is focusing its growth on Benin, Gabon, Ghana, Nigeria and Rwanda, with a number of new properties scheduled to open over the next five years. “We are thrilled by the robust expansion of our African hotel portfolio,” said Kyriakidis.

“Africa remains a key market for tourism development because of its increasing economic dynamism and worldwide exposure created by the 2010 FIFA Football World Cup in South Africa. The economic realities indicate further growth potential for the hotel industry, and with these signings and more to come in 2012, Marriott International will be perfectly placed to accommodate the increasing number of visitors to this great continent.”
 
Marriott International, Inc. (NYSE: MAR) is a leading lodging company based in Bethesda, Maryland, USA with more than 3,700 properties in 73 countries and territories and reported revenues of over $12 billion in fiscal year 2011.  The company operates and franchises hotels and licenses vacation ownership resorts under 17 brands, including Marriott Hotels & Resorts, The Ritz-Carlton, JW Marriott, Bulgari, EDITION, Renaissance, Autograph Collection, AC Hotels by Marriott, Courtyard, Fairfield Inn & Suites, SpringHill Suites, Residence Inn, TownePlace Suites, Marriott Executive Apartments, Marriott Vacation Club, Grand Residences by Marriott, and The Ritz-Carlton Destination Club.  There are approximately 300,000 employees at headquarters, managed and franchised properties.  Marriott is consistently recognized as a top employer and for its superior business operations, which it conducts based on five core values: put people first, pursue excellence, embrace change, act with integrity, and serve our world. For more information or reservations, please visit our website at www.marriott.com, and for the latest company news, visit www.marriottnewscenter.com

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