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COVID-19: The impact on Africa hotel performance

Like other global regions, the situation in Africa has progressively worsened in recent weeks as the COVID-19 pandemic impacts the hospitality industry. While a handful of markets experienced occupancy growth for the week of 24 February, the weeks of 9 and 16 March saw significant declines in all of the key African cities shown below.

This has resulted in revenue per available room (RevPAR) declines throughout the continent, where Northern markets have been particularly affected. During the week of 16 March, Casablanca, Marrakech, Cairo and Tunis recorded year-over-year RevPAR declines exceeding 80%.

African cities report hotel declines amid COVID-19

Northern Africa

Cairo’s occupancy was relatively flat in February, but March brought declines. A similar trend was evident in Marrakech, and the Moroccan destination’s daily occupancy fell as much as 97% on some days.

Marrakech hotel occupancy declines during COVID-19 outbreak

Sub Saharan Africa

Nairobi, a key gateway city and events market in the region, saw occupancy hold reasonably well in February before the declines began in March and declined almost 80% during 17-21 of the month. A similar trend occurred in Cape Town, which is likely to produce further declines following the 21-day lockdown that began on 26 March.

Lagos, interestingly, enjoyed a strong February as a result of events—which included the Sub Saharan Africa International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (SAIPEC). It wasn’t until the second week of March that declines gathered momentum and hovered just below 50% at the time of writing.

February events delayed COVID-19 impact for Lagos hotels

The Islands of Africa

Comprising long-haul leisure markets, the islands of Africa present a slightly different prospect. Seychelles occupancy, for instance, remained relatively unfazed until around the third week of March, and this could be due to its popularity as a honeymoon destination. Given the outlay for newlyweds and that most insurance policies would not cover cancellation in such circumstances, many honeymooners seemed to have taken the risk to travel. Mauritius, meanwhile, saw occupancy declines accelerate greatly between 13 and 21 March, when the metric declined 70%.

Seychelles hotels unfazed by COVID-19 until mid-March

For further insights into the impact of COVID-19 on global hotel performance, please visit our COVID-19 hub.