Hotel investment forum contributed $16.8m to African economies’

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Created 5,462 jobs

The total contribution of the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) to economies on the continent, since inception, has hit $16.8 million. It is estimated that AHIF has been responsible for deals worth over $4 billion cumulatively.

An international audit, tax and advisory experts, Grant Thornton, which made the independent assessment, said the headline figures included direct, indirect and induced financial benefits – accepted economic multipliers – and run from the first AHIF in Morocco in 2011 to Rwanda last year.

AHIF is Africa’s premier hotel investment conference, which attracts many prominent international hotel owners, investors, financiers, management companies and their advisers.

AHIF is organised by Bench Events, which has a track record of delivering multiple premium hotel investment conferences and forums across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Key findings of the Grant Thornton report, which spanned over six year, listed AHIF’s economic benefits to include $6.9 million direct contribution of AHIF to local economies, additional $9.9 million generated through indirect and induced impact, ie boosting local suppliers, increasing local spending power.

The report obtained by The Naija247news, also said a total of $1.1 million were paid in taxes in various host countries, while a total of 5,462 jobs – temporary or permanent – were created or sustained.

Delegate survey, according to the report, indicated a total deal value of $124 million, an average of $4.6 million per deal – translated for all AHIF events between 2011 and 2016, deals total an estimated $4.4 billion.

Report author, Martin Jansen van Vuuren, said, “On average, hosting an AHIF event brings a million dollars in direct benefit to the local economy, an additional $1.4 million in indirect benefit and a substantial six-figure sum in tax to the host government.”

He noted that one key gauge of AHIF’s success was the high-level of the delegates it attracts. “The attending CEO’s and MD’s do not only spend more than average by staying in the best hotels, but much more importantly, they are people with the ability to make decisions, including whether or not to invest in a destination – and that’s reflected in the value of deals done,” he said.

Vuuren added that the report also highlighted the fact that host economies benefit from wide media coverage and from the credential of hosting a top-level conference like AHIF. He said doing so helps to attract further events, which boost local companies and provide job opportunities as well as the chance to develop skills.

Commenting on Africa’s broader economic prospects, Martin said: “Economic growth of African countries may have slowed at present because of commodity prices, but commodity prices will rise again.

“And given hotel development lead-in times, which are three years on average, and taking in to account the life of the asset, which is decades after the hotel is built, this is a good moment for investment, in my view.”

The Chairman of Bench Events, Mr. Jonathan Worsley, said: “We are gratified that this report bears out what we’ve always believed: that hosting AHIF adds value to the places we visit and the conference is a great place to discuss deals which benefit tourism in Africa.

“This year’s event will be our most comprehensive and exciting with an outstanding line-up of speakers, first-hand advice from experts and unique networking opportunities.”

The seventh edition of the AHIF is billed for Kigali, Rwanda, between October 10 -12, 2017. According to Worsley, “Rwanda is a prime example of what can be achieved in our sector by a country that is determined to use tourism to propel itself forward and we’re pleased to be back again in October.”

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