The second day of the Hotel Investment Conference Africa (HICA) in Casablanca, Morocco opened with an address by Yassir Zenagui, minister of tourism, Morocco.
HICA seeks to bring together the hotel investment community and those who finance it to explore opportunities for growth in Africa.
Day two of HICA included sessions on entering the African market from an operator’s perspective, structuring and sourcing finance, negotiating management contracts, as well as round tables on securing funding from development banks and state sources and East Africa.
In his opening speech, Zenagui highlighted the potential growth through integrated tourism within Africa, linking wellbeing, culture, and discovery, stating: “The future of the world has become linked. Africa’s rich heritage and culture are key to its social and economic development.
“Together we may turn over a fascinating page for real social, economic and economic growth.”
Focusing on Morocco, Zenagui also presented delegates with an overview of the country’s tourism strategy: “Our aim with Vision 2020 is to position Morocco among the top 20 global destinations.
“We are focused on four core values: authenticity, diversity, quality and sustainability.”
Delegates also heard from the Salaheddine Mezour, minister of finance, Morocco, who spoke on national state investment especially in education and infrastructure, outlining Morocco’s “new vision and new way of adapting with new fiscal reforms”.
During the day delegates heard from industry experts including Serge Hattier, senior vice president development for Africa and Indian Ocean at Accor, who explained the group’s strategy of focusing on business hotels in specific key countries.
“We are trying to create tight networks and we are keen to grow our brand with big hotels,” he explained.
He added: “We have a specific strategy, but for all investors there are great opportunities in each of the countries.”
Roshene Singh, chief marketing officer for South African Tourism (SAT) listed South Africa’s natural beauty, cultural diversity, value for money and welcoming people as its key drivers for tourism.
Speaking on the current economic climate she stated: “South Africa has become easier to do business in, but these are challenging times.”
Jonathan Worsley, chairman Bench Events (organises of HICA), commented at the closure of the inaugural HICA, supported the remarks made by investor and speaker, Warren Chan, principal, Potomac Thames, that there are great returns to be had in Africa, and that now is the time to invest.