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Africa’s hospitality gains reflected in strong HICA line-up

Africa’s hospitality gains reflected in strong HICA line-up

The rapid rise of Africa’s hospitality industry is being reflected in a strong line-up of 45 speakers including five ministers confirmed for the Hotel Investment Conference Africa (HICA).

On 26-27th September 2011, the inaugural HICA conference will take place at the Hyatt Regency Casablanca, Morocco attracting delegates from all over the world interested in learning how to do business on the African continent.

Uniquely positioned to explore how progress and evolution in African economies affects the hospitality sector, HICA will draw on opinion formers and industry experts to explore touchstone issues affecting opportunities and investment in the region.

The line-up of influential speakers is drawn from a global network of relationships and connections within Africa and the experience of Bench Events, which runs a series of similar conferences including the prestigious International Hotel Investment Forum which has a European focus.  This event will address an audience of investors, developers and operators with an interest in Africa.

Thought-provoking sessions throughout the conference will explore opportunities to develop business with the joint objective of creating awareness and optimising sustainable development of the hospitality industry on the African continent.


There are over 45 speakers in the programme including: HE Yassir Zenagui, Minister of Tourism and Handicraft, Kingdom of Morocco; delivering Morocco’s Vision 2020, a multi-billion government plan to double tourist receipts and is backed by three middle eastern sovereign wealth funds.; Nenad Pacek, founder and president of Global Success Advisors which focuses on advising international companies outperform competition in global markets; Waleed F M-Al Fehaid, Chairman & CEO, Al Ajial Group of Companies and CEO, Morocco-Kuwaiti Development Consortium.

Hospitality industry speakers include Ed Fuller, Marriott International, discussing the influx of global operators into Africa, and Yann Caillère, Accor, talking about how Accor is working with partners and growing its African pipeline.

Jonathan Worsley, Chairman of Bench Events commented, “Africa’s exponential economic growth and progress has positioned the continent as an exciting key global player with a new commercial vibrancy.  It is a significant arena for expansion and growth over forthcoming decades and the aim of this conference is to get the key influencers and decision makers in the industry to take a long hard look and see how their interest can be converted into action.”

African economies have seen a steady boom since the 1990s and an increasing shortage of hotel accommodation across all room categories has sparked the launch of the HICA Conference in September. Unlike earlier unstable booms based upon fluctuations in global commodities prices, growth over the last few years has strong foundations, resulting in a favourable business climate.

The Financial Times recently reported that more than 10 African economies are forecast by the African Development Bank to grow at more than 7 per cent this year.  Growth has been spurred not only by commodities but the rapid expansion of banking, telecoms and other services. Africa has recently seen a record $57bn in foreign direct investment.

Recent World Travel Organisation forecasts also indicate that inbound tourism to Africa will grow over 50% from 2010 to 2020, while Africa’s combined consumer spending is now $860 billion. Furthermore, inbound tourism to Africa accounts for 5% of the world’s total (Sub-Saharan Africa 3%, North Africa 2%), higher than South America, and the potential for further growth is exhaustive.