The US-based Marriott International has announced the signing of an agreement with Societe de Promotion Immobiliere et Touristique Ennejma (SPITE) to operate a new hotel in Sousse, Tunisia’s third-largest city.

The Sousse Marriott Hotel Nejma marks the company’s aggressive growth plans for Africa and will bring the total number of announced properties joining Marriott International’s Middle East and Africa portfolio by 2018 to 46 – 26 of which will be in Africa. It is also the firm’s second announced property in Tunisia, following the Ritz-Carlton Tunis-Carthage, which is due to open in late 2015.

The Sousse Marriott will offer 220 rooms and suites, four restaurants, a health club and a pool. The property is slated to open in 2017 and will be part of a mixed-use development including a mall, which will be the largest in Tunisia and is located at a walkable distance from Medina, the city centre.

“Africa is experiencing an unprecedented period of growth,” says Alex Kyriakidis, president and managing director of Marriott International Middle East and Africa. “Every day we read, watch or hear about an amazing story taking place in one of the many countries stretching right across the continent. Sousse is a major tourist destination in Tunisia and it is also an important industrial hub in the country. This is where we will now have our signature Marriott brand in place, which emphasises our strategy to lead in Africa with our full-service brands – in this case our flagship Marriott Hotels & Resorts brand.”