The Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) 2014, which took place in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia from 29th Sep. to 1st Oct. has provided the more than 500 participants who gathered from all over Africa from speed networking to in depth discussions on topics that matter to the hotel and tourism industry throughout the continent. Some of these topics included: what’s Africa’s future beyond growth?, what are the elements in creating the legislative framework for supporting the industry?, the Africa Hotel Investors’ cheat sheet – structuring the deal to mitigate the risk and architecture and design: looking at case studies of best practice. A range of other topics were also presented and debated by various high-caliber people from the industry both within and outside of Africa, too. But the discussion on conserving Africa’s tourism assets was a topic close to the heart of Matthew Weihs, the managing director of Bench Events, the organizing company. The first day of the forum has also hosted a debate on ‘focus on Ethiopia’, in which key personalities of the industry in Ethiopia participated to answer questions ranging from legislative issues to availability of finance.
Aside from in depth discussions and debates on these and other issues, however, the following events can be highlighted as key successful events announced during the two day forum:
InterContinental Hotels Group: IHG has announced the signing of the 210-key Crowne Plaza Addis Ababa which represents the company’s entry into Ethiopia. Catering to business travelers, the new hotel marks the sixth Crowne Plaza hotel in Africa and adds to the company’s growing presence in the continent.
Accor: the world’s leading hotel operator and a market leader in Africa, is proud to confirm its first hotel in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia for early 2017. Hotel Pullman Addis Abeba, an upscale hotel, will be located right in front of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) Conference Center. Construction has already started. Pullman Addis Abeba will propose 330 rooms, 2 restaurants, 2 bars, 7 board and meeting rooms, 1 Connectivity Lounge, 1 Fitness and Spa center, 1 pool. “Signing our first hotel, here, in Addis Abeba under the Pullman brand is a real honor. I wish to thank our partner, Enyi General Business PLC, represented by Mr. Endale Yirga, for the trust given to Accor”, said Antoine Guego, Chief Executive Officer for Accor Africa and Indian Ocean.
Accor, the world’s leading hotel operator and a market leader in Africa, will open its first hotel in Nairobi, Kenya under the Pullman brand. Hotel Pullman Nairobi Westlands, an upscale hotel, will be located in the business district of Nairobi close to all national and international institutions and bubbling city center. Pullman Nairobi Westlands will open in 2016 and will have 320 rooms, 2 restaurants, 2 bars, 8 board and meeting rooms, 1 Connectivity Lounge, Fitness and Spa with a rooftop pool. “Thanks to Elegant Properties Ltd., represented by Mr. Rahim Tejani, we are reinforcing a strong network of Pullman hotels in this region in Africa”, said Antoine Guego, Chief Executive Officer for Accor Africa and the Indian Ocean.
Wyndham Hotel Group: The world’s largest hotel company with approximately 7,540 hotels, announces the signing of a management agreement for the company’s first property in Ethiopia, the 136-room Ramada® Addis. Upon opening in the first half of next year, Ramada Addis will offer 128 guest rooms and eight suites.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts: Starwood Hotels & Resorts expands presence in Nigeria with the signing of four points by Sheraton Ikot Ekpene. Scheduled to open in 2015, Four Points in Akwa Ibom will be the 10th Starwood Hotel in Nigeria, further strengthening the company’s presence in the country. Four Points by Sheraton Ikot Ekpene will be the first high-rise tower in Ikot Ekpene as well as the first purpose-built internationally branded hotel in the iconic town.
W Hotels Worldwide to enter Morocco: The entrance of the W brand into Morocco with W Marrakech, anticipated to open in 2017, will bring cutting-edge design and contemporary luxury to the vibrant, cosmopolitan city of Marrakech. Starwood currently has three hotels in Morocco, including Le Méridien N’Fis in Marrakech as well as Le Royal Mansour Méridien and Sheraton Casablanca Hotel & Towers both located in Casablanca.
Best Western International Inc: Best Western International, along with Great Abyssinia Plc and Noah Real Estate Plc announce the development of two Best Western branded hotels in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia. The BEST WESTERN PLUS and BEST WESTERN branded hotels, are planned to be opened in 2015 and 2016 respectively. These properties will be the 1st Best Western branded hotels in Ethiopia.
Carlson Rezidor: Carlson Rezidor, one of the largest and most dynamic hotel groups worldwide, extends their African network and adds two new countries to their growing portfolio: Uganda and Ghana. The Radisson Blu Hotel, Kampala – Carlson Rezidor’s first property in Uganda – will feature 195 keys. It will be located in Kampala’s prime business district and open in Q4 2016. The Radisson Blu Hotel Accra Airport, The Exchange in Ghana will comprise 207 keys and welcome the first guests in 2017. Carlson Rezidor further strengthens their leading position on the African hospitality market: With 30 hotels under development, the group holds the largest pipeline on the continent.
Hilton Worldwide: Hilton Worldwide announced two Hilton Garden Inn signings for Nigeria in Owerri and Abuja Airport; as well as unveiled its new modular Hilton Garden Inn hotel build solution that is being introduced by the company for coming African projects. Patrick Fitzgibbon, senior vice president of development, Europe & Africa for Hilton Worldwide, said: “At Hilton Worldwide, we continually seek innovative ways to develop and operate our hotels, and our latest venture is no different. Coupling this novel approach of modular design with the development prospects Africa presents, we are excited about the expansion opportunities of our portfolio on the Continent. As we gain further momentum in developing Hilton Garden Inn across the region, we believe that by offering this fast-paced construction solution, owners and investors will see returns more quickly whilst guests will continue to experience the quality and service of Hilton Garden Inn for which the brand is world renowned.”
Grant Thornton: Grant Thornton’s Global Leader of Hospitality and Tourism, Gillian Saunders presented on how the liberalization of Africa’s skies could spark significant growth in the tourism industry. Liberalization between 12 of the 54 African countries would lead to an increase of over one million tourists and a need for 40 additional 160 room hotels in those 12 countries.
Worldhotels: Worldhotels expands into Africa by joining forces with the Azalaï Hotels Group. Six Azalaï Hotels will join the Worldhotels’ portfolio of 500 hotels. As partners, Worldhotels and the Azalai Hotels Group complement each other perfectly. Azalaï is the first African private hotel chain in West Africa and Worldhotels is blazing the trail with their renowned global sales mix and expertise. Both are pioneers in their own corners of the market. It’s Worldhotels’ trusted sales presence that will help expand Azalaï’s reach beyond West Africa.