Cape Town not hospitable for Hilton as it relinquishes CBD hotel

In another sign of the severe trauma being inflicted on the South African hospitality industry, Hilton Hotels is to relinquish its Hilton Cape Town City Centre property this weekend.

Business Insider reports that the global hotel chain will hand back the property in Buitengracht Street in the CBD area of the city to the owners, Millat Properties.

In a statement posted on its website, Hilton states simply: “as of 11 July 2020, Hilton Cape Town City Centre will cease to operate as a Hilton hotel. As a result, stays booked past this date will not accrue Honors points. Please contact the hotel directly with any questions.”

Hilton has no plans to leave South Africa

Business Insider said a Hilton spokesperson had indicated the group had no plans to withdraw from the country.

The company also operates Hilton Sandton and Hilton Durban. Its DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Woodstock, Cape Town, is managed by a franchise holder.

“We remain committed to Cape Town as a destination,” the spokesperson said. Hilton still plans to open its first boutique-style Canopy by Hilton hotel in the city towards the end of next year. The hotel, in Longkloof Studios, Gardens, will be owned and developed by property giant Growthpoint.

Hilton announced 100th African property in 2019

It was less than a year ago that Hilton announced an agreement for its milestone 100th property in Africa, which occurred during the centenary year of the US-based group. Hilton has more than 6 000 hotels and resorts in over 100 countries worldwide.

At the time, Patrick Fitzgibbon, the Senior Vice President for Development in Europe, Middle East & Africa for Hilton said: “With this being our 100th year, reaching the milestone of 100 hotels allows us to reflect on our rich legacy of pioneering tourism on the African continent but also to look to the future.”

Hospitality industry is now looking far gloomier

Now, however, things are far gloomier for the hotel sector as a result of the pandemic.

South African hotels are still struggling as local business travel remains limited and leisure travel by South Africans is largely non-existent, except for intra-provincial travel.

International travel seems unlikely to be allowed before year-end, given the ongoing high level of local infections.

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