As industries around the world struggle in the wake of the economic downturn, the hospitality industry in Southern Africa is facing the future in a buoyant mood.
“The recent Global Travel and Tourism Summit that took place in Brazil indicated that Africa along with other developing countries have front row seats in riding the global economic crisis by using the opportunity to develop their hospitality and travel sectors” said Mmatsatsi Marobe, CEO of Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) and the conveners of the third Hospitality Investment Conference Africa (HICA) which takes place on November 4 - 6 in Sandton, Johannesburg. She mentioned that HICA received massive interest at the WTTC Global Summit and from sponsors and delegates during Indaba travel show in Durban recently. “We are proud to have the partnership and support of the national Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT) for HICA 2009. We are pleased with the continued association with the Pam Golding Hospitality Group and the support and sponsorship of FNB, Rezidor Hotel Group and Group RCI.”
Deputy Director of Tourism Ms Sindiswa Nhlumayo, in the newly established Department of Tourism (the founding partner of HICA) says that they are excited to once again be part of making it possible for HICA 2009 to take place.
“It is an exciting time to be in the hospitality industry’‘
“We have a major competitive advantage,” said Joop Demes, CEO of Pam Golding Hospitality, one of the sponsors of HICA. “Compared to the rest of the world, we are well positioned to trade ourselves through these challenging times. The research we did after HICA 2008 shows that 75% of the beds sold in the SA hotel industry are bought by South Africans. A further 16% are bought by people from other African nations. So while we have seen a downturn of about 4% in figures released at the end of April, it is nothing like the 30 - 40% decline experienced in parts of Europe for example which rely so heavily on foreign tourism,” Demes continued.
It is the research such as this together with solid industry knowledge and the opportunity to network with major players in the industry that bring delegates back to HICA,
“The research we commission really sets us apart,” Marobe said. “The more than 500 delegates we expect to register for HICA 2009 will also be the first to hear the results of the study we have commissioned to Pam Golding Hospitality which will analyse investment opportunities in the South African Hotel Industry. They will be receiving the most up to date and relevant information about whether it pays to invest in the hotel Industry, in what category hotel and where in South Africa one should be investing.”
The conference is a vital networking opportunity, but it is far more than a talk shop. At HICA, delegates share knowledge and experience from industry leaders which directly contributes to the organisers’ aim of developing tourism in Africa using international best practice.
Pieter de Bruin, Head of Tourism at First National Bank, is excited by the opportunities HICA offers.
“We at FNB are proud to be associated with the only Hospitality Investment Conference in Africa that compares very favourably from a global point of view with major annual events in Berlin, Russia and Dubai.” he said