The boss of the company behind the Radisson chain has insisted the Islamist terrorist attack on its hotel in Mali will not deter the firm from expanding further in Africa and other risky countries. Wolfgang Neumann, the chief executive of Brussels-based hotels business Rezidor, stated that the company had not altered its expansion plans following the siege at the Radisson Blu in the Malian capital of Bamako in November, which led to the deaths of 22 people, including three employees and two attackers.
Rezidor is among several large chains hoping to fuel growth by expanding in fast-growing emerging markets where demand for accommodation from business travelers is growing. The company has 106 hotels in development, the majority in Africa and the Middle East. Some of the countries where it is opening hotels, such as Iraq and Libya, remain dangerous for westerners. Although Rezidor has been rocked by the tragedy in Mali, Mr Neumann said it was not reconsidering any of its forthcoming hotel openings.
“We are very focused on the emerging markets in our growth strategy,” the Rezidor chief said. “There is a need for international branded hotels. There is an enormous opportunity to grow in these emerging markets, you just need to adapt to it,” he added. “Obviously in these markets you have different additional safety and security procedures in place than in the more mature markets.”
The Radisson Blu reopened in mid-December, less than a month after the siege. The Rezidor chief said that the company “had increased security measures throughout the year” before the attack took place, but that those measures had now been strengthened further.
“We have reinforced security measures, particularly outside the hotel,” Mr Neumann said, adding that the company will continue to provide financial support to the families of the employees that died.