TATA’S TAJ HOTELS SEEK OPPORTUNITIES IN KENYA
Many in East Africa will associated TATA with trucks, or the conservation fraternity with the company’s past association with the hugely controversial soda ash extraction plant at Lake Natron. In Kenya TATA is represented through several ventures, including a consultancy firm, but was most recently in the press for taking over the Landrover / Jaguar franchise from embattled CMC. Few however would know that the Indian conglomerate also has a hotel division, Taj Hotels which owns and operates luxury hotels all over the world after dominating the Indian market for decades alongside rivals Oberoi.
Information has been availed that the company is now seeking to enter the Kenyan market with startup properties in Nairobi and at the Kenya coast, probably as a springboard to expand thereafter into the wider region and perhaps even the safari market. Already present in Africa since 2010 when they opened a hotel in Cape Town / South Africa, this was followed by the more recent opening of a luxury resort in Marrakech / Morocco.
The company appears keen to widen their presence in Africa, where other TATA companies already do booming business, and use established links in local markets like Kenya to gain a foothold in the hospitality sector too.
All over East Africa are global hospitality giants now seeking a presence, last year in Dar es Salaam when Hyatt entered the market while in Kigali later this year East Africa’s first Marriott Hotel will open its doors. But it is in Kenya where most of the global players are now making a presence felt, with the imminent opening of the new Villa Rosa Nairobi Kempinski setting the stage for Radisson Blue following soon afterwards, as will Dusit Hotels and a number of others.
The peaceful political transition in Kenya, inspite of the ongoing lamentations of the opposition, has set the stage for the stability needed to spur economic growth and investments and the African Hotel Investment Conference at the InterContinental Hotel in Nairobi, the second time taking place in Kenya’s capital after a very successful 2012 event, will undoubtedly underscore the sentiments expressed here, that East Africa, but Kenya in particular, will be ‘boom town’ for hospitality businesses as the exploration of oil and gas, alongside mining, infrastructure projects and of course tourism propel the country forward.