Serena Hotels is set for a Sh2 billion refurbishment and redevelopment starting 2016 as the enterprise eyes conference tourism and the industry rebounds.
The company has signed $20 million (about Sh2 billion) loan agreement with Proparco, a French development agency.
“The purpose of this facility is to fund capital expenditure need for the Kenyan portfolio of hotels, lodges and camps,” said Mahmud Janmohamed, the managing director, TPS Eastern Africa.
Top on the list will be the Nairobi Serena Hotel, which will undergo redevelopment by building of a new conference and banqueting facilities, refurbished bedrooms, as well as public areas.
“In Kenya, our capital expenditure investments continue. We have completed the refurbishment of the public areas at Mara Serena Safari Lodge, added 12 new tents at Sweetwaters Serena Camp and refurbished a number of bedrooms at Mombasa Serena Beach Resort and at Kilaguni Serena Safari Lodge,” added Mr Janmohamed.
The Kampala Serena Hotel will also add 32 bedrooms; food, beverage and meeting facilities in 2016. The Dar es Salaam Serena Hotel is scheduled to undergo refurbishment beginning January next year.
The Serena Group comprises 24 up-market hotels, safari lodges, camps, and resorts spread in Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zanzibar. It has 11 properties in Asia including Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Pakistan.
“Proparco is honoured to support a stakeholder such as TPS that has risen to the challenge of promoting sustainable and culturally sensitive tourism in underserved regions,” said Proparco CEO, Mr Claude Periou.
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“Proparco has longstanding partnership with TPS. This is the seventh project with TPS that we have funded. Previous projects have seen us become shareholders of TPS East Africa, the parent company, as well as TPS Uganda, TPS Dar and the Polana Serena Hotel, to which we have also extended loans.”
Others present during the signing ceremony included acting French Ambassador to Kenya Emmanuel Renoult, and Mr Francis Okello, the chairman, TPS Eastern Africa.
“There remains a lot to be done in terms of improving the supportive infrastructure and promoting East Africa as a must visit tourist destination. However, I wish to thank the governments within the East African region for facilitating the growth of the tourism industry,” said Mr Janmohamed.