Washington, D.C., November 10, 2011—IFC recently announced its one-hundredth hotel investment in Africa with a $5.5 million financing package to emerging East African-based hotel company, Opulent (B) Ltd., to develop the first DoubleTree by Hilton hotel in Burundi.
By providing international-standard rooms and conference facilities, the project will help improve Burundi’s essential business infrastructure at a time when business travel is picking up after years of conflict and many travelers are seeking high-quality accommodation and services. The DoubleTree’s key location in Bujumbura’s central business district will help place Burundi at par with other commercial hubs in East Africa.
Independent studies and research show that hotels and other tourism sector investments can create significant economic opportunity in poor countries. There are multiple benefits derived from such investments in both leisure and business hotels.
With more than 200 million people unemployed worldwide, travel and tourism are critical drivers of economic growth and account for 9.1 percent of global GDP, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council, 2011. Tourism is, in fact, the largest employer next to agriculture: one of every 12 workers is employed in tourism which accounted for $1.1 trillion of export earnings in 2010 (WTTC, 2011).
Tourism revenues also account for more currency moving from developed countries to developing countries than all aid flows from foreign donors. The percentage of tourism receipts is increasing in developing and transitional markets and grew from 3 percent in 1950 to 37 percent in 2010 (U.N. World Tourism Organization, 2010).
IFC-Supported Hotels Provide Key Economic Benefits
Since 1956, IFC has invested more than $2.5 billion in 251 hotel projects in developing countries worldwide. These investments have had a major effect on local economies by contributing to economic diversification and sustainable growth. They have boosted the travel and hospitality sectors and generated much-needed jobs, foreign currency, and tax revenue. IFC’s hotel investments create an average of 1.5 to 3 jobs for each hotel room. They provide supply chain linkages from construction to operation and secure markets for local farmers and SME suppliers. In addition, hotel employees benefit from regular training and skills upgrade in areas such as management, customer service, languages, and so on.
Sr. Communications Officer, IFC
Consumer and Social Services
Manufacturing, Agribusiness, and Services Department