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Ethiopia awaits hotel investment forum’s return
AHIF has become an eventful platform where a number of business deals are sealed

Ethiopia awaits hotel investment forum’s return

Some 600 global hoteliers and major brand executives are set to return to Addis Ababa for the third time to take part in the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF), which is scheduled to be held in September.

Regarded as a major continental venue where top hotel industry players come together to deliberate on industry matters, the AHIF provides a networking and the possibility of deal-makings.

Mathew Weighs, managing director of Bench Global Business Events Ltd, a firm that organizes the AHIF, said on Thursday that the forum has become an eventful platform with some 16 global brands signing new investment contracts in Africa.

According to Weighs, Ethiopia-focused contracts will be announced during the three-day forum, which is scheduled to be held from September 23 to 25, 2019. However, he said that more contracts will be announced during the course of the event but declined to disclose further information. According to Neway Berhanu, managing director of Calibra Hospitality Consultancy and Business PLC, at least four brand hotel investment deals will be announced.

The pay-in lavish forum is said to create both direct and indirect impacts as an additional source of income for a city that hosts it. Based on the studies of an independent consulting firm, FutureneerAdvisors, during the upcoming AHIF, Addis will see USD 1.5 million and 2.5 million of direct and indirect revenues, respectively. Compared to the 2014 spending by participants in Addis, it will induce a USD quarter of a million based on a 10 percent added spending, this year, the study indicates. In total, AHIF will generate USD four million to the city during the three-day event.

Neway Berhanu, a local co-organizer of the AHIF since 2011, has worked with Bench Events to facilitate deals. During the 2014 and 2015 AHIF organized in Addis, Calibra has facilitated some 25 hotel deals in Ethiopia worth an investment value of 23 billion birr (close to USD one billion), and has facilitated a foreign financing of USD 70 million, Neway said.

Accordingly, Golden Tulip, Ramada, Best Western Plus and the Ethiopian owned Skylight Hotel have all opened their doors and the rest are to be operational within five years. Those global brand hotels, according to Neway, will create 8000 direct jobs adding 4000 International rooms. Hence, each year will bring about one or two brand hotels to Ethiopia's hospitality industry. Matthew said the deals settled between 2011 and 2018, had a monetary value of USD 6.2 billion in hotel investments.

This year’s AHIF will have two executive banquet dinners’ in addition to familiarization visits (fam), planting seedlings, run road-races for charities. According to Neway, hoteliers will have the opportunity to meet with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) and visit the National Palace turned museum. In addition to that, global hotel CEOs, consultants, financiers and the likes are in the guests and speaker’s lists. Regional and global CEOs of Marriot International, Accor Group, Radisson Hotel Group, Hilton and others have also booked seats at the AHIF 2019.

The UK based Bench Global Events initiated continental AHIF to organize the inaugural forum in Morocco, in 2011. Since then, AHIF was held on rotations and yet Kenya and Ethiopia have taken the lead in hosting the AHIF. Kenya has hosted the event three times and Ethiopia will equal Kenya followed by Rwanda that hosted AHIF twice.