Nigeria may have the largest economy on the African continent, with a population of 195m, but the country has not been an easy market for many SA retailers, developers and real estate funds that have tried to cash in on its seemingly unlimited expansion potential. Often those who entered Nigeria in recent years were forced to exit or reassess their business strategies. But the experience of SA hospitality group Bon Hotels, which was founded in 2012 by Cape Town-based hotelier and entrepreneur Guy Stehlik, has been different. The company expanded its SA interests to Nigeria two years ago, when it acquired a 28-room hotel, which was extended and rebranded Bon Hotel Abuja. Its portfolio of Nigerian-managed hotels has since grown to 26 across 14 cities, most of which are sized at between 40 and 120 rooms. Other hotels are still under construction. Stehlik decided to enter Nigeria at the end of 2015 — a time when SA’s hospitality industry was struggling. "Back then, SA hotel occupancies ...

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