As preparations for this year’s Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) gather momentum, the organisers, Bench Events, has revealed that some leading chief executive officers across the tourism and hospitality sector have been slated to share the secrets of their success stories with participants at the yearly event, which is billed to hold in Nairobi, Kenya between October 2 and 4.
The AHIF event will cover different aspects, ranging from the impact of macroeconomics to the hard detail of building a thriving business, plus unique networking opportunities with leading CEOs, said the organisers.
Supported by Kenya’s Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife and its Tourism Finance Corporation (TFC), the forum will be attended by international hotel investors, business leaders and politicians. It has a proven track-record of driving investment into tourism projects, infrastructure and hotel development across Africa.
The event this year is holding alongside other events being staged by Kenya tourism, which include the Magical Kenya Tourism Expo (MKTE), the largest travel trade show in East Africa, and the board will announce a package of measures to incentivise investment.
According to the Managing Director of Bench Events, Matthew Weihs, “there could not be a better time to be in Nairobi. All the key players will be there. It’s a chance to do business, strike deals, and network like never before.”
Some of the high profile figures slated to address the conference include the Principal Secretary in the Kenyan Ministry of Tourism, Fatuma Hirsi Mohamed and the Managing Director, Tourism Finance Corporation (TFC), Jonah Orumoi, both of whom will highlight a range of new government initiatives to incentivise investment.
While the Director of the Political Futures Consultancy, Daniel Silke, will give the macroeconomic overview, explaining the main geo – political and demographic trends shaping the future of various African countries. He will be followed by the Head of Advisory, Sub-Saharan Africa (JLL), Tom Mundy, who will speak on the real estate cycle and its effect on investment.
An update on hotel performance in Africa will follow from the Director of Business Development, STR, Thomas Emanuel, who is expected to shed insights into hotel room rates and levels of occupancy in different cities across Africa.
Other activities billed for the three days gathering include networking roundtable sessions, which will cover topics such as the rise of African brands; growth of various segments (Mixed use, aparthotels, leisure), the nuances of the continent’s diverse regions, best practices in hotel development, and some of the industry’s leading challenges such as developing talents for the industry.
On each table will be a leading CEO, expert or senior executive from the relevant field to lead the discussion. The morning’s roundtables will be followed by a networking lunch while a select group of CEOs will visit the State House.
In the afternoon, further roundtable sessions will cover operational issues such as human resources; security; women in leadership and management contracts and franchises, all to be led by industry experts.
Then an enlightening session will take place on growing an African brand, with Cedric Guilleminot, CEO of the hugely successful Onomo Hotels and professional investor, Ilaria Benucci. The conversation will be led by Nick van Marken, one of the most respected consultants in the hospitality sector.
A regional leader’s panel will discuss organic growth versus acquisition with Alex Kyriakidis of Marriott International, Olivier Granet of Accor Hotels and Ignace Bauwens of Wyndham Hotel Group.
Tourism trends in Sub-Saharan Africa will be explored before a one-to-one interview with Christopher J Nassetta, President and CEO, Hilton, who will shed some light on the strategies for the brand’s growth in the region on the second day of the event.
The annual hotel pipeline report from W. Hospitality Group will also feature this year with the Managing Director of W. Hospitality, Trevor Ward, making the presentation.
Cabinet Secretary, Kenyan Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife, Najib Balala, will examine the challenges of making an African destination appealing to international investors among other issues surrounding his country’s tourism development and promotion.
A finance forum will kick off the third day’s activity, addressing some of the key questions on raising capital for hotel projects and investor sentiment, followed by an exploration of the role of tourism in conservation.
Other highlights will include an in-depth look at an exciting new project and a one on one interview with the Executive Chairman, Knighthood Capital, James Hogan, now a serious investor, who was previously President and CEO, Ethihad Aviation Group and also former President and CEO, Gulf Air.
The conference business ends with a star interview of the President and CEO of the RadissonHotel Group, Federico Gonzales-Tejera.
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