AccorHotels and Mantis invest in the future of hospitality

AccorHotels and Mantis are excited to announce that Bulelwa Maxam and Tumelo Daniels are the recipients of the Accor/Mantis bursary to study towards a B.Com Hospitality Management at Stenden South Africa in Port Alfred, Eastern Cape. Stenden South Africa offers a Bachelor of Commerce degrees in Hospitality and Disaster Management. Stenden is a private university and strives to give students from disadvantaged backgrounds access to education with the assistance of private companies such as AccorHotels and Mantis.

Adrian Gardiner, Chairman of Mantis, said that “education is one of the five operating pillars at Mantis, who has been involved with Stenden South Africa since its inception. It is natural that AccorHotels and Mantis’ merger brings much-needed investment in education and especially here in the Eastern Cape.” Craig Erasmus from AccorHotels added that “AccorHotels is proud to welcome Bulelwa and Tumelo to the AccorHotels family and that the partnership with Stenden University was another important step in showing our intent on the continent and helping to support the growth of local capacity in the hospitality industry”.

The students will receive infrastructural support including accommodation, a laptop, and stationery. Ronel Bartlett, Student Affairs Manager at Stenden, explained that Stenden has an effective programme in place to ensure that all new students are integrated into the campus lifestyle. They will also work at MyPond Hotel which is managed by the University to develop their skills in various aspects of hotel management. This is a fantastic opportunity for real-time learning as they will work with real hotel guests in a fully operational establishment. The students are fortunate enough to be guided by Stenden graduates and previous bursary students such as Gcobisa Gwavu, Restaurant Duty Manager at MyPond Hotel. Gcobisa said that the real world learning that takes place at MyPond Hotel allows the students to gain operational and life skills as they learn to manage their time and make the most of work, studies and play. Gcobisa said that she enjoys assisting the students who, like herself, have come from disadvantaged backgrounds because she understands what their unique journey and strives to use her personal experience to help them grow into confident hospitality professionals.

The 2019 AccorHotels and Mantis bursary students began their academic careers on Monday, 28th January. They are both from a township community outside Port Alfred.

Bulelwa and Tumi on their first day at Stenden

Bulelwa matriculated in 2007 and had to immediately find work to support her family. She worked at a resort outside Port Alfred where she climbed the ranks within housekeeping, the kitchen and Front of House. When the time came for her youngest sibling to leave home and go to university, Bulelwa realised that it was time to fulfil her dreams of becoming a graduate in hospitality management. Bulelwa will play an integral part in skills upliftment in her community by introducing hospitality as a career choice among young people in the townships and training them.

Tumelo completed her schooling in 2018, and is eager to follow in her mother’s footsteps, and beyond, by becoming a professional hotelier. Tumelo says she looks forward to discovering her full potential and seeing her dreams realised. She also hopes that becoming a graduate will inspire younger family members to reach their goals.

AccorHotels acquired a 50% stake in Mantis in April 2018 and one of the results of this partnership was the formation of the Community Conservation Fund Africa. The CCFA is a registered NPC which was initially funded by AccorHotels and Mantis due to their recognition of the urgent need for the tourism industry to play a greater role in conservation and community transformation in Africa. In addition to the full bursaries, Mantis also give an annual award to a Student showing academic prowess and an interest in improving communities in and around Port Alfred. On Monday, 28th January this award was given to Zimbabwean-born second-year Disaster Management student, Ashley Miller. Ashley showed great commitment to her studies and proved to a reliable team player in her class. Her contribution to community transformation in 2018 showed her up as a deserving candidate for the prize for 2019.



Mantis Signs Strategic Partnership with Accor Hotels Group

At a press conference on 5 April, Mantis Founder and Chairman, Adrian Gardiner, announced a partnership with Accor Hotels, which saw the world-leading travel & lifestyle group acquire a 50% stake in Mantis.

Gardiner said, “There are numerous synergies between the two groups – both operate global hospitality networks offering rare and unique experiences, and both have a focus on conservation. This partnership  will strengthen the Mantis offering, as well as ensuring future growth and resilience in an ever evolving and increasingly competitive market.”

Sébastian Bazin, Chairman and CEO of AccorHotels, and Adrian Gardiner, Founder and Chairman of Mantis, at the announcement of the new partnership.

Accor Hotels is a world-leading travel-and-lifestyle group and digital innovator offering unique experiences in more than 4 000 hotels and resorts and over 2 500 of the private residences around the globe. Accor Hotels operates in 95 countries under luxury brands including Raffles, Fairmont, Sofitel, Onefinestay, Pullman and Swissôtel, the popular  boutique brands of Novotel, Mercure, Mama Shelter and Adagio; and economy brands including Ibis, Grand Mercure, The Sebel and Hotel F1.

“Accor Hotels is one of the fastest growing hotel and travel operators worldwide,” Gardiner continued. “This agreement allows Mantis to utilize Accor Hotels’ distribution channels and world-wide reach to further develop the hospitality concepts and sustainability projects we have worked so tirelessly to grow.”


Olivier Granet, Managing Director & Chief Operating Officer of Accor Hotels Middle East and Africa (MEA), said, “Mantis is a pioneer in customized travel services in some of the most imaginative hotels across the world. This partnership provides us with access to an indigenous African brand with a strong heritage, ecological focus and noteworthy credentials in the hospitality space. This will undoubtedly accelerate Accor Hotels’ expansion across the Middle East and Africa, adding to our existing network of over 200 properties with more than 150 hotels in the pipeline across the region.”

Included in the announcement was a briefing on The Community Conservation Fund Africa, a foundation to be established by Mantis and Accor Hotels in partnership with  renowned international conservation organisations The Wilderness Foundation Global, Tusk Trust and African Parks.

The initial funding of $600 000 will be sponsored by Accor Hotels and Mantis. The official launch of the The Community Conservation Fund Africa will take place in May 2018.

More about Accor Hotels

With an unmatched collection of brands and a rich history spanning close to five decades, Accor Hotels, along with its global team of more than 250 000 dedicated women and men, has a purposeful and heartfelt mission: to make every guest Feel Welcome. Guests enjoy access to one of the world’s most rewarding hotel loyalty programs – Le Club Accor Hotels.

Accor Hotels is active in its local communities and committed to sustainable development and solidarity through Planet 21, a comprehensive programme that brings together employees, guests and partners to drive sustainable growth.

Read more on the Accor Hotels Group website.