Kenya’s new Minister of Tourism, Hon Dan Mwazo, has committed to becoming the patron of the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF), taking place in Nairobi on September 25-26, this year. The agreement was finalised at the World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC’s) global Summit, which took place in Tokyo last week, over a handshake with Jonathan Worsley, Chairman of Bench Events, who is responsible for organising AHIF.
Hon Dan Mwazo said: “Tourism is extremely important to the Kenyan economy and our government is committed to doing all we can to encourage its growth. I see AHIF as a great opportunity to encourage the international hotel investment community to take a very serious look at Kenya. Hotels are critical to economic growth because business people and tourists, who are effectively the creators of new jobs, need somewhere to stay, to meet others and as a base to explore our wonderful country. Hotels are also great providers of employment locally, as they create work at all levels of society from cleaners and waiters to senior managers.”
According to the WTTC, the total contribution of Travel & Tourism to GDP in Kenya was KES403.7bn (13.7% of GDP) in 2011 and is forecast to rise by 4.3% in 2012, and to rise by 3.7% pa to KES603.1bn over the coming decade. The total contribution of Travel & Tourism to employment, including jobs indirectly supported by the industry, was 11.9% of total employment (778,500 jobs) in 2011. This is expected to rise by 1.2% in 2012 to 788,000 jobs and rise by 1.4% pa to nearly a million jobs in 2022.
Jonathan Worsley, chairman of Bench Events, which organises several premium international hotel investment conferences, including AHIF explains: “I am delighted Minister Mwazo has given the event his personal endorsement. The support of the government sends the right kind of signals to the investment community and the enthusiastic statements I have heard from several places in the Kenyan administration will encourage investors to come.”
AHIF is the premier hotel investment conference in Africa, attracting many prominent international hotel owners, investors, financiers, management companies and their advisers. AHIF moves to a different African city every year showcasing high-growth destinations across the continent. Last year the conference was held in Morocco, attracting more than 350 delegates from 34 countries.