Bench Events has revealed Accor will be the host sponsor of the Forum sur l’Investissement Hôtelier Africain in 2020.
The show is the Francophone sister event of the Africa Hotel Investment Forum, the premier hotel investment conference on the continent.
The conference will take place on March 23-25, at the Sofitel Abidjan Hotel Ivoire, an iconic property, which was built in 1963 and elegantly renovated in 2011.
Jean Perrochon, commercial director of Bench Events, explained the decision to hold the FIHA in Côte d’Ivoire: “The Ivorian economy remains one of the most dynamic in the world and its remarkable success over the past decade continues to propel the country as an influential force in West African business travel and, increasingly, tourism.
“Fiscal discipline, private sector growth, a modernising infrastructure coupled with ambitious initiatives such as the ministry of tourism’s multibillion-euro programme, Sublime Côte d’Ivoire, all combine to offer attractive investment opportunities.
He continued: “Another factor that attracted us to Abidjan is its exciting potential for hotel development.
“The current overall hotel supply in Ivory Coast remains limited, despite significant growth since the end of the political crisis.
“And there’s a need for more international-quality properties, with demand coming from Europe and Africa.”
Encouraging the development of international standard hotels is a hot topic for governments in Africa because they are essential to attract tourists and business travellers, who come bearing foreign currency, to spend and invest.
Investing in hotels is becoming increasingly attractive too, for several reasons.
First, because economic growth rates in many African countries are much higher than in Europe and the USA, the potential return on investment is greater.
Second, because the number of hotels per head of population is a small fraction of what it is in more developed economies, there is belief in the growth potential of the market.
Third, as many African countries are becoming more politically stable, investor confidence is growing.
Siandou Fofana, minister of tourism, Côte d’Ivoire, said: “Selecting Cote d’Ivoire to host FIHA is proof that the country deserves its ranking as third most important destination in Africa for business tourism.
“It also demonstrates investor confidence in our ambition to boost our tourism and hospitality industries. It will be an opportunity for the sector to showcase its potential, projects and tourism assets.”
According to the World Bank, the Ivory Coast has one of the most dynamic economies in the world.
It has been growing at over seven per cent per annum for the last seven years and it is projected to keep growing at that pace for the next few years.
It has a low inflation rate, below one per cent, low unemployment, below three per cent, and steadily rising GDP per capita.
The capital, Abidjan, is re-establishing itself as a commercial centre, assisted by Africa’s second biggest port, a growing airport with direct connection to the USA and good quality infrastructure for meetings, conferences and exhibitions.
The last edition of FIHA took place in Marrakech in February 2019, with a focus more precisely on north Africa.
The conference sessions were bilingual, with presentations and panel discussions led in French, and simultaneous translation to English.
It proved a success, as the number of delegates exceeded expectations and post-event feedback was exceptionally positive.