Africa Hotel Investment Forum 2014 moves to Addis

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Addis Ababa, 3 June 2014 (WIC) - Bench Events, organizer of the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF), has moved the event from the InterContinental, the largest five-star hotel in Nairobi, to the Bench Events, organiser of the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia.     

This year’s edition will take place 29 September - 1 October and Alex Kyriakidis, President of Marriott International, Middle East & Africa, said: “I am pleased that the next AHIF will give us the opportunity to take a closer look at Ethiopia. It has a tourism economy that is currently growing at 4.5 per cent per annum and the World Travel & Tourism Council expects it to grow at 4.8 per cent per annum for the whole of the next decade.
"With AHIF here, we will have a great opportunity to meet good quality prospective local partners, which is an essential first step in making a successful hotel investment anywhere in Africa.”   

AHIF had been due to take place in Nairobi but a surge in interest, organizers say, led to concerns that the venue space was not big enough.   

Matthew Weihs, Managing Director of Bench Events, said: “The speed of demand from new sponsors has taken us by pleasant surprise. I'd like to thank the InterContinental in Nairobi for being instrumental in allowing us to nurture this event. However, with over four months left, we've already reached capacity and with a strong pipeline of exhibitors, we felt a move to a bigger location now would mean we'd not have to disappoint anyone and we’d also be better able to reflect the growth story of the continent.”

Last year’s conference attracted 400 delegates and 27 corporate sponsors.   

“Already, a similar number of sponsors has signed up and there is a pipeline of others, all expressing strong interest,” said Weihs.
A highly competitive offer from the Sheraton Hotel in Addis Ababa and feedback from delegates requesting the event to keep changing destinations also influenced the decision, Weihs admitted.     

Jonathan Worsley, AHIF Chairman, added: “From our experience in Nairobi, I can say with real conviction that Kenya understands the importance of the tourism industry and it gets hospitality. It will be useful to the whole industry for investors to see how other countries measure up.”
Weihs concluded: “Kenya has been good to us for the past two years but this development shows just how fast the market is moving. Relocating to the Sheraton in Addis means AHIF can reach its full potential.” (CMW)