Africa business hedges its future interests on the service industry including hotelier and aviation sectors as much as it relies on agriculture and other industries. According to Martin Jansen van Vuuren, who has authored a report on the economic impact of a top hotel conferencing organization, African economies have reaped over $4 billion either in direct, temporary or indirect impact from hosting the event. The Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) is a select event that has taken place since 2011 when it began in Morocco before signing off for its latest event in Rwanda in 2016. The report also reveals that hosting the event injects a direct benefit of a million dollars to the local economies besides creating temporary and permanent jobs. To learn more on the macroeconomic potential of the event, Bizrika spoke to the report’s authors.
Does AHIF impact only on countries that host its event or all regional countries benefit?
The impact of each AHIF event is not only on the country within which it is hosted but is also to the benefit of various regional countries through the deals that are concluded at the AHIF events. For example, the AHIF event hosted in Kigali may benefit Addis Ababa when a deal is concluded at the Kigali event to build a new hotel in Addis Ababa.
Over the past six years you have come up with a projection of $6.9 million as the figure AHIF injects into local economies. Do these mainly lie in the hospitality industry and aviation?
Our report focused on the impact of the events on the host countries. The spending on these events were mainly in the hospitality and aviation industry. The events, however, do have an induced impact on industries wider than the hospitality an aviation industry. The induced impact relates to the spending of the salaries paid to the employees in the hospitality and aviation industries on anything from food to luxury goods.
Since the hotel conferences are annual events, do they create permanent jobs in African economies?
The economic impact of the AHIF events have various impacts on employment in African economies. Some jobs are created specifically for the event, for example, a receptionist at the event, while other jobs are sustained, for example the waiter at the hotel where delegates stay. The employment impact relates to permanent and temporary employment created and sustained.
Your report reveals how CEOs who stay in host hotels impact on economies. What criteria makes them see a destination as worthy of investing?
CEO’s look for good returns on investments in destinations where they have certainty of the regulatory environment. These good returns can be generated through good air access and infrastructure, while certainty in the regulatory environment can be generated through a stable government and rule of law.
Are there direct examples of economic opportunities that AHIF has created in Africa?
There are various direct examples of economic opportunities that AHIF has created in Africa. Examples from the 2016 event include the following announcements:
• Hilton Hotels: 2 new hotels in Lagos, 1 in Nairobi, 1 modular hotel in Accra
• Launch of the Marriott hotel in Kigali and the announcement of six new deals – 3 in Cape Town, 1 in Mauritius, 1 in Cairo and 1 in Nairobi
• Best Western: 1 Hotel in Nairobi
• Carlson Rezidor: 5 hotels in Angola and the Soap for Hope campaign.
• Accor announced that its first of fifty new hotels in Angola will open on November 9th in Luanda.
• JLL announced LUX Resorts & Hotels agreed the sale and lease-back of its Tamassa Resort in Mauritius for US$40 million to African Property Fund MaraDelta
• CityBlue announced its new ‘aggregator platform’
Could you say which was the most lucrative (one that brought more economical impact) event AHIF ever hosted?
Each event is unique and it is difficult to single out a particular event. I would think that the next AHIF event would be the most lucrative as the events grow from strength to strength.
Which will be the next destination for hotel conference in the continent?
The next destination for the AHIF will be announced at the event in Kigali in October 2017.
Thank you so much for talking to Bizrika.