Marcopolis presents the Ghana Report focused on investments, doing business, economy and other topics featuring interviews with key executives and government officials. The sectors under review are agriculture, banking, energy, industry, telecom, IT, real estate and more.
Interview with Adrian Landry, General Manager of Labadi Beach Hotel
What is your evaluation of the tourism and hospitality sector in Ghana today? What have been the recent developments?
I think the tourism market in Ghana is certainly on an upward trend, there are no two ways about that. If I had to analyse the statistics from over the last 12 months, we have seen a nice improvement since July last year when the unfortunate occurrence of Ebola in West Africa had an impact on Ghana, although Ghana didn’t record any cases of Ebola.
Tourism has been on an upward trend certainly. The recent improvement of the local currency, the cedi, versus the dollar has also had a positive impact on all facets of the economy. As long as that is sustainable we look forward to a very positive future as there is definitely a bright outlook.
How is Labadi Beach Hotel performing in this environment?
It is performing very well indeed particularly since the addition of our new conference centre which has a capacity for just over 600 people. It has been open since March last year and has been incredibly busy. It has been a very positive addition to the property. Approximately a month ago, we opened our spa which is a step above anything that is offered in Accra at the moment. It is a dedicated spa environment in a peaceful and tranquil setting with highly qualified therapists offering a variety of treatments, not just manicures, pedicures and massages. It is also special because of the products we offer; we have exclusivity when it comes to certain products which are primarily available in Europe and Asia. We have top end products, middle range products and also some simpler products. It is a wonderful addition to the property which certainly rounds off the hotel’s product offering and as such we now offer almost every conceivable added value for the discerning guest.
Apart from the conference centre and the spa, what else has changed since our last interview in 2013?
Since we last spoke in 2013 we have completed our new block of rooms which is an additional 60 rooms added to our stock and they have been very well received by the market. They are arguably the best rooms available in a corporate hotel in Accra. In addition we have the conference centre and the spa and so the property is going from strength to strength.
At the close of last year, you were announced as the top 5 star hotel in Ghana. What are you doing in order to maintain that status? Will you be launching any new services?
We have exclusivity when it comes to certain products which are primarily available in Europe and Asia.
I believe it is important for anybody who is competing in any environment to remember that one needs to remain inventive. You need to keep on revisiting your existing standards and improving them wherever you can. At the moment our focus is on service. Our gardens are well established as many people have noted on TripAdvisor. The environment is tranquil and serene as noted by many people on TripAdvisor. So the area that we are working on now is service.
In addition we have added a new pool; the lap pool is used especially in the mornings by our corporate clients as well as people on holiday, to maintain their fitness regimen. The fitness gymnasium has been remodelled entirely with a great change in facilities and lots of natural light. It is a gym that compliments the property and is well patronised. We are very happy with our product offering at the moment. It is now a question of working to further improve on our service.
Speaking on the group level, are Legacy Hotels and Resorts looking into new properties in Ghana?
Certainly we are looking forward to expansion. I would not like to give details of that just yet because it may be at quite a sensitive stage but we are certainly looking to expand within West Africa. It is an exciting destination. It is a lot more stable than it was prior and the economic outlook for many parts of West Africa is much stronger than it was. Some of the fundamentals that are in place now are a lot more secure and I do believe that West Africa is going to see a boom besides commodities in the near future.
When it comes to investment, what leverage does Ghana have over the other regional countries?
I think it is important to stress, and history proves such, that Ghana is certainly a secure environment in which to invest. We have seen certain changes on the economic front and some of those bode very well for Ghana. I do believe that Ghana remains a viable hub into West Africa.
Is there anything else you would like to add? Perhaps more details about the spa?
In terms of the spa, not only is it a peaceful and tranquil setting separated on the hotel property by the adjacent natural lagoon. It is within the mangrove trees, it is shaded, cool and quiet. It has a small roman bath for relaxation and there are full services in the spa in terms of food and drink. It is a wonderful place for someone to come and spend the entire day for various treatments, to have lunch and then in the afternoon enjoy the various therapies on offer. It is a top end spa which any hotel would be very proud to have. We are certainly very proud of it.
As a final message, Ghana is still a great investment destination and Ghana offers a spring board into the sub-region.