Bench heads to Nairobi for Africa Hotel Investment Forum

Bench heads to Nairobi for Africa Hotel Investment Forum

The Kenya Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) and Bench Events have announced the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) will be hosted in Nairobi on September 25th-26th.

AHIF moves to a different African city every year in order to showcase high-growth destinations across the continent as a whole.

Last year the conference was held in Morocco, where it was attended by 350 delegates from 34 countries including eight government ministers and officials.

Marianne Ndegwa Jordan, chief executive, Kenya Tourism Development Corporation, said: “I am delighted that we have attracted this high profile hotel investment forum to Kenya; its presence is an endorsement in itself.

“It will bring in the kind of business people who have the power and influence to make a destination successful. Our aim is to excite them about Kenya and show them the potential our country offers.”

AHIF is organised by Bench Events, which is 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 both locally and regionally.

Jonathan Worsley, chairman of Bench Events concluded: “The Economist magazine recently pointed out that over the past decade six of the world’s ten fastest-growing countries were African.

“In eight of the past ten years, Africa has grown faster than East Asia, including Japan.

“Even allowing for the knock-on effect of the northern hemisphere’s slowdown, the IMF expects Africa to grow by six per cent in 2012, about the same as Asia.

“Therefore, in my books, if you are looking to grow your business you can no longer ignore Africa.”

A dozen sponsors have already verbally confirmed their support for AHIF including Accor Hospitality, Aecom Design + Planning, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Corinthia Hotels, Horwath HTL, Hyatt International, InterContinental Hotels Group, Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels, Marriott International, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, W Hospitality and WATG.

Najib Balala, minister of tourism, Kenya, said: “Tourism is this nation’s most important industry, after agriculture.

“It is responsible for 12 per cent of our GDP and ten per cent of employment.

“It is also a growth story that is set to continue well in to the future thanks to our fantastic natural resources, including beautiful idyllic beaches and spectacular wildlife, including the opportunity to see ‘the big five’, Elephant, Rhino, Lion, Buffalo, and the Leopard in their natural habitat.

“International investors should also take encouragement that Kenya is keen to develop tourism in a sustainable way, in a genuine partnership with entrepreneurs and the private sector,” he concluded.