The inaugural Hotel Investment Conference Africa has opened at the Hyatt Regency Casablanca, with over 350 international delegates attending from across the hospitality sector.
Delegates include government representatives, investors and industry experts.
HICA seeks to bring together the hotel investment community and those who finance it to explore opportunities for growth in Africa.
At the opening of the two day event, chairman of the executive board at the Moroccan Agency for Tourism Development (SMIT), Tarik Senhaji stated: “HICA is not just about hotels.
“There are lots of factors involved and this is a key opportunity to bring everyone together, to showcase Morocco and explore together the opportunities throughout Africa.”
Chairman and founder of Bench Events (organisers of HICA) Jonathan Worsley added: “We have fantastic sponsors, including ACCOR, Corinthia Hotels, Jones Lang LaSalle and Marriott, without whom HICA would not have been possible.
“We are delighted with the sell-out number and quality of delegates. HICA is about education, about how to work together locally and globally to assist each other.”
Delegates heard from Neenad Pacek, co-founder of CEEMEA Business Group and President of Global Success Advisors.
Speaking on ‘The Next Frontier for Growth – Weighing up the Risks and Rewards’, Pacek offered strategic advice on African investment.
After highlighting the importance of understanding local markets and outperforming diverse competition, he underlined that “while returns can be fast, real results can only be achieved through long term engagement”.
Commentating on Marriott Lodging International’s move from US to global markets, president and managing director Ed Fuller commented: “We see the opportunities. We see how with our brand and marketing system we can help hotels… these are brand new environments with tremendous opportunities.”
In response to the feasibility of entering emerging markets, president and chief executive of The Rezidor Hotel Group, Kurt Ritter stated: “Africa has become more stable politically, more accessible and communications have improved… but in any case, we have to be a bit daring to grow.”