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Secretary Balala seeks to utilise AHIF springboard

Najib Balala, Kenya cabinet secretary for tourism and wildlife, has said it the country will use Africa’s leading hotel investment forum – AHIF – as a launch pad for innovative tourism investment opportunities.

The news comes as the ministry aims to further boost the country’s thriving tourism sector.

The Africa Hotel Investment Forum takes place in Nairobi, next week, October 2nd-4th, and will be attended by some of the highest calibre international investors and hotel executives of any conference in Africa.

It is the leading forum of its kind, connecting business leaders from international and local markets, driving investment into tourism, infrastructure and hotel development projects across the continent.

Among those present will be Christopher Nassetta, president and chief executive of Hilton and Federico González, president and chief executive of Radisson Hotel Group.

Also expected to be in attendance for the event are Sébastien Bazin, chairman and chief executive of AccorHotels, Philippe Baretaud, chief executive of Mantis Collection, and Mossadeck Bally, chief executive of Azalaï Hotels Group.

As hosts, Kenya wants to use the platform for a series of ambitious new tourism ideas and projects, drawn up with business people from across the country and beyond.

The country has already been successful in developing its tourism sector, last year recognised as World’s Leading Safari Destination by the World Travel Awards, as well as taking honours for Africa’s Leading Beach Destination, Africa’s Leading Tourist Board and Africa’s Leading National Park.

AHIF is the most significant hospitality forum in Africa

Tourism Finance Corporation

Ahead of the event, the Kenyan Tourism Finance Corporation has been stepping up its work.

The body provides affordable development funding and advisory services for long-term investment.

Tourism Finance Corporation managing director Jonah Orumoi recently revealed his team has been holding one-to-one meetings to package up ideas to attract international finance and expertise.

Its vision is to be the leading and most reliable development financial institution, providing affordable and accessible financial facilities and advisory services to the tourism investors.

Among the plans are potential eco-lodges, cable cars in the Rift Valley, amusement parks and water fun parks, cruise boats for coastal and lake counties, and floating restaurants.

There are also countless opportunities for lodges and hotels within the Kenyan national parks and game reserves managed by the Kenya Wildlife Service.

Orumoi said: “Kenya’s tourism sector recorded a double-digit rise in earnings in 2017 – 20.3 per cent growth.

“Hoteliers are eager to capitalise on this.

“The latest research by W Hospitality reveals the country’s branded hotel chain pipeline is in Africa’s top ten, with 3,453 rooms under development spread over 19 hotels.

“During AHIF, we want to engage global investors on a wider spectrum of potential tourism investment opportunities in Kenya, to drive sector diversification and innovation.”

At meetings during AHIF, Tourism Finance Corporation will emphasise Kenya’s secure investment environment; good and serviceable infrastructure; simplified procedures for investment and business operations; good governance, and availability of market orientated skills.

Matthew Weihs, managing director of Bench Events which organises AHIF, said: “It’s impressive that Kenya is being so pro-active in the tourism sector.

“Not just in terms of ambition, but also aiding investment through Tourism Finance Corporation.

“We look forward to hearing more about its imaginative projects at AHIF.”

Africa Hotel Investment Forum

AHIF is the premier hotel investment conference in Africa, attracting many prominent international hotel owners, investors, financiers, management companies and their advisers.

It is organised by Bench Events, which has an established record of delivering high-level networking and thought leadership conferences for hospitality investment and aviation in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America.

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