Bench Events, the organiser of the Africa Hotel Investment Forum, has announced that the event will now take place at the Sheraton Hotel in Addis Ababa.
The event, originally scheduled for Nairobi, will now head for the Ethiopian capital on September 29th-October 1st.
Alex Kyriakidis, president, Marriott International, Middle East & Africa, said: “I am very pleased that the next AHIF will give us the opportunity to take a closer look at Ethiopia. It has a tourism economy that is currently growing at 4.5 per cent per annum and that the World Travel & Tourism Council expects to grow at 4.8 per cent per annum for the whole of the next decade.
“That, coupled with its good air connections, make it a destination we want to explore more carefully.
“With AHIF here, we will have a great opportunity to meet good quality prospective local partners, which is an essential first step in making a successful hotel investment anywhere in Africa.”
AHIF was due to take place in Nairobi but a surge in interest from sponsors wanting to use the event for networking and promotion of their businesses led to concerns over physical space to accommodate increased numbers.
Matthew Weihs, managing director, Bench Events, said: “The speed of demand from new sponsors has taken us by pleasant surprise.
“I’d like to thank the InterContinental in Nairobi for being instrumental in allowing us to nurture this event. However, with over four months left, we’ve already reached capacity and with a strong pipeline of exhibitors, we felt a move to a bigger location now would mean we’d not have to disappoint anyone and we’d also be better able to reflect the growth story of the continent.”
“Bench had booked in to the largest five star hotel in Nairobi but looking at the physical layout, it could just not see how to fit in all the exhibition stands and all the people saying they want to come.”
“Last year’s conference attracted four hundred delegates and 27 corporate sponsors.
“Already, a similar number of sponsors had signed up and there is a pipeline of others, all expressing strong interest.”
The decision was further influenced by arguments from Ethiopian Airlines about its extensive route network in Africa, a highly competitive offer from the Sheraton Hotel in Addis Ababa and feedback from delegates requesting the event to keep changing destinations to enable them to capture a double benefit when attending AHIF of networking and widening their knowledge of Africa.
In announcing the decision to switch venues, Bench Events reiterated its appreciation to the government of Kenya, which has been a host sponsor for the last two years, and said that it would be assisting Kenya’s Tourism Finance Corporation, previously known as the Kenya Tourist Development Corporation, to hold hotel investment briefings in London and Dubai in the near future.
Jonathan Worsley, chairman, commented: “From our experience in Nairobi, I can say with real conviction that Kenya understands the importance of the tourism industry and it gets hospitality.
“It will be useful to the whole industry for investors to see how other countries measure up.”
For more information about AHIF, please go to the official website.