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Morocco’s Minister of Tourism joins top HICA line

Morocco’s Minister of Tourism joins top HICA line

The Minister of Tourism for the Kingdom of Morocco has agreed to join a line up of speakers for the forthcoming Hotel Investment Conference Africa in Morocco.

HE Yassir Zenagui, Minister of Tourism and Handicraft, Kingdom of Morocco said: “HICA is a ground breaking event for Africa. For Morocco to attract this calibre of conference, will help support and deliver our 2020 vision for tourism in the region. For the rest of Africa it will help build a better appreciation of the potential within the continent.”

Jonathan Worsley, Chairman of Bench Events and organiser of the conference commented “recent events in the north; the on-going movement of international hotel brands entering Africa and the emergence of funds due to the high returns, means there has never been more to talk about at a conference like HICA. We are delighted to have the Minister join us to share his vision for tourism for Morocco and Africa. We are continuing to secure a great line up of speakers for what will be a very high level conference with support from investment funds, hotel companies and the Government of Morocco.”

With change in some markets in the north, the on-going opening up of oil and gas in the west and the movement of more and more international hotel brands to the African continent, HICA will provide a platform in which to debate how these developments will affect hotel investors, operators and developers both long and short term. Opportunities will undoubtedly emerge but just where will these be? What will change mean? And more importantly how does the hotel industry capitalise?

Amongst the speakers and topics already confirmed are; HE Yassir Zenagui, Minister of Tourism and Handicraft, Kingdom of Morocco; Yann Caillere, Deputy CEO EMEA Sofitel Worldwide, Accor; Ed Fuller, President and Managing Director, Marriott International; Bill Heinecke, Chairman and CEO, Minor International Plc; Omar Kabbaj, Owner, Hyatt Regency Casablanca; Nenad Pacek, President and co-founder, CEEMEA Group; Otto J Stehlik, Chairman of Protea Hotels; Chris Luebkeman, Director, Global Foresight and Innovation, Arup.


Trevor Ward of W hospitality, consultant in the region said: “Africa may never be the easiest place to do business. Many of the old challenges remain, but the fact is that the rewards are immense.”

Miles Morland, Chairman and Chief Executive of Blakeney Management concurred with this view, as reported in a recent article in The Times, “The scramble to set up investment funds focused on Africa is justified by the extraordinary returns on offer. Trevor continued: “Africa is receiving increasing attention from the international chains, who clearly see the need to fill the gaps in their coverage, and some, like Accor, Marriott and Rezidor are now taking the plunge and locating development personnel in Africa itself”.

There are two HICA conferences during 2011, one in May organised by the TBCSA and supported by Bench Events preceding INDABA which will focus on Sub-Saharan Africa, and a second in September organised by Bench Events in Association with the TBCSA taking place at the Hyatt, Casablanca September 26-27. HICA in Morocco will focus on the opportunities across all regions of the African continent.