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Bench Events today announced that Haile Gebrselassie, the former Olympic and world athletics champion, has been confirmed as a speaker at the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) – Africa’s top event for hotel investors, which takes place from the 29th September to 1st October in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia.
Haile Gebrselassie won two Olympic gold medals at 10,000 meters and four world championships at the same distance. He also won major titles at all distances from 1,500 meters to the marathon and during his career he broke 27 world records. He is widely considered as one of the greatest distance runners of all time.


Although he is still a keen runner, with a daily grueling schedule, he is also a prolific business man. Haile is the owner of three resorts in Ethiopia and an organic coffee farm. He is also the exclusive distributor of Hyundai in Ethiopia and the organizer of ‘The Great Run Ethiopia’, which attracted over 40,000 runners from around the world last year. Additionally, he is the owner of a real estate company, whose holdings include a cinema dedicated to showing Ethiopian films.
At the AHIF conference he will be interviewed on his life and times as a sportsman and how this has aided him in business and his thoughts on Ethiopia’s potential as a tourism destination.
“We are delighted to be able to welcome the world and Olympic champion Haile Gebrselassie as a speaker at our conference,” Matthew Weihs, Managing Director of AHIF – Bench Events, said. “Gebrselassie is a name synonymous with excellence on the athletics field and it is always fascinating to hear how a sportsperson’s motivation, dedication and vision enable them to transition to business. To actually have the opportunity to hear the journey and commitments he has made in his lifetime will be an honor. When you visit Addis Ababa it is obvious by the numerous billboards with his face on them that he holds great sway with the local communities so to hear more of his thoughts on the future of the tourism industry will be very interesting.”
However, Ethiopia is not the only subject of the conference entitled “Reaching New Heights”. The event will focus on the geopolitical and economic climate across the whole continent and the latest developments in the hotel sector. Big issues such as the importance of conserving Africa’s tourism assets and connecting each of the African countries through decent, new infrastructure will be discussed too. The feasibility of investing successfully in Africa in general and in hospitality specifically will be explored in a series of panel discussions led by a group of experts on each topic.
Other speakers are drawn from the ranks of government, hotel chains, banks and a range of prominent consultants.
AHIF is the premier hotel investment conference in Africa, attracting many prominent international hotel owners, investors, financiers, management companies and their advisers. It is organized by Bench Events (www.benchevents.com) which is known for producing, alongside Questex Travel + Hospitality and MEED Events, several top-level hotel conferences around the world including Berlin (IHIF), Dubai (AHIC), Istanbul (CATHIC) and Moscow (RHIC).

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