The Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) will return to Kenya in September 2013.
The conference, which took place in Morocco in 2011 and Nairobi in 2012, has stayed put after the Kenyan government made a compelling case to keep it in Kenya, following the success of the 2012 event.
Kenya’s Minister of Tourism, Dan Mwazo said: “AHIF is a very prestigious conference. It attracts many of the leading international hotel investors and it facilitates numerous conversations about new hospitality projects in Africa. It is the kind of meeting that we want to welcome, not just for the income generated by the event itself but also for the type of people that come. Many attendees arrive with the express intention of investing in and developing world class hotels. This is an excellent opportunity for us to excite them about Kenya and to show them the potential our country offers.”
High-profile attendees at AHIF 2012 included: Hon. Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka, Vice President, Kenya, Hon. Danson Mwazo, Minister of Tourism, Kenya, Prof. an Goldin, Director, Oxford Martin School, and former Economic Advisor to President Mandela, Kurt Ritter, President & CEO, The Rezidor Hotel Group, Arthur de Haast, Chairman, Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels, Alex Kyriakidis, President & Managing Director Middle East & Africa, Marriott International, Gaham Wood, Managing Director, Tsogo Sun Hotels, David Scowsill, President &CEO, the World Travel & Tourism Council and dozens more of a similar calibre.
Marianne Ndegwa Jordan, CEO, Kenya Tourist Development Corporation, added: “It will be good news for our economy if the business community says that the place to meet Africa’s hospitality investors and experts is Nairobi. Investors should also take note that Kenya is keen to develop tourism in a sustainable way, in a genuine partnership with entrepreneurs and the private sector.”
AHIF 2012 attracted 426 delegates from 38 countries who represented 310 organisations. The number of delegates was over 30% up on the previous year and the event was backed by 22 sponsors. Discussions at the conference gained considerable media attention, with around a hundred reports appearing in the Kenyan media and around the world.
Tourism is Kenya’s most important industry, after agriculture. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), it is responsible for 14% of GDP and 12% of total employment. It is also a sector that WTTC predicts will continue to grow at 3.7% per annum for the next decade. Economic drivers include the country’s fantastic natural tourism resources, such as beautiful beaches and spectacular wildlife, including the opportunity to see ‘the big five’, Elephant, Rhino, Lion, Buffalo, and the Leopard in their natural habitat.
Kenya’s hospitality industry has been eager to capitalise on the favourable tourism outlook. Research by W Hospitality reveals that the country’s hotel pipeline has more than doubled in the past year from 5 hotels with 771 rooms under development in 2012 to 11 hotels with 1,469 rooms in 2013.
An example of AHIF’s potency is illustrated by the experience of G1 Architecture, who met a prospective client at the conference and have since been engaged on an assignment to redesign and refurbish the five star Windsor Golf Hotel & Country Club, Nairobi.
AHIF is organised by Bench Events, one of the world’s leading organisers of hotel investment conferences, co-hosting annual meetings in Germany, Russia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. These events attract the international hotel investment community, including developers, investors, management companies, tourism officials and leading advisers from around the globe, as well as industry leaders locally and regionally.
Bench Events Chairman, Jonathan Worsley, concluded: “There is an increasing consensus that the next big investment story will be Africa. For most of the past decade, Africa has grown faster than every other continent except Asia. The IMF expects Africa to grow by nearly 6% this year, which is much more rapid than most developed Western economies. Therefore, if you are a serious international investor, Africa must be on your ‘to do list’.”In addition to the Kenya Tourist Development Corporation, confirmed sponsors of AHIF 13 include: Patron Sponsor: Accor, Platinum Sponsor: Marriott International and Gold: AECOM, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Ethiopian Airlines, G1 Architecture, Hilton Worldwide, Horwath HTL, Hotel Partners Africa, Hotel Spec, HVS, Hyatt International LLC, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), Lonrho Hotels, Premier Inn Development, Quadriga, Sankara Hotel Group, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc, STR Global, W Hospitality and Wyndham Hotel Group.