The International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF) has been opened by Jonathan Worsley (pictured), chairman of Bench Events, who welcomed delegates to the 15th annual conference.
In 1998 at the inaugural IHIF, 250 delegates attended. This year, the event welcomed 1,707 members of the hospitality industry from 57 countries.
Worsley commented: “Over the last 15 years lots has changed but our beliefs haven’t. The reasons to attend are, as they always have been, to do deals, do business, network and have fun.”
Worsley then introduced David Scowsill, president of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).
Scowsill discussed the relatively short amount of time the travel and tourism industry requires to recover from global disasters, citing the signs of recovery being demonstrated following the global recession as an example.
He also highlighted the significant growth from both China and India and how this is set to represent a third of global travel and tourism GDP by 2022.
The global travel and tourism industry is predicted to account for 328 million jobs (one in ten) by 2022.
A key point was the reliance so many sectors within the hospitality industry have on each other and cited the hospitality industry’s relationship with that of aviation, cruise and hire cars.
The WTTC is working with educational institutions to raise the profile of careers in the travel and tourism industry. Scowsill concluded by emphasising the importance of reducing the level of VAT applied to hotel and making access to travel easier through the use of online visa applications.
Day 2 of IHIF takes place today, with opening remarks from Kerry Gumas, chief executive of Questex Media Group.