Rwanda will, from today until October 6, host the continental hotel investment forum in Kigali.
The three-day Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) is a leading hotel investment forum in Africa, bringing together top international hotel investors in Africa and local operators, government officials and industry experts to discuss all aspects of hotel investment and operation on the continent. The conference will be held under the theme, “Connecting Tomorrow” at the Radisson Blu Hotel and Convention Centre.
Dennis Karera, the chairman of Rwanda Hospitality Association, said the forum will serve as a platform for sector players to network with people from across the world, adding that it also presents the opportunities in Rwanda’s hotel industry.
“The expectations are high on our side, and we are looking forward to presenting the investment opportunities in the local hotel sector to participants and investors at the forum,” he said.
There are different industry operators with direct or indirect interest that are coming. Therefore, this is an opportunity for us to show them what we have achieved so far and where we want to go, he added.
The forum is taking place at a time when Rwanda is positioning itself as a top tourist destination in the region, and this clearly underlines the government strategy to attract investment in the tourism sector.
Rwanda’s hotel industry has registered a significant growth with new hotels coming up, including Marriott, Radisson Blu, Sheraton, Golden Tulip, Zinc and Kempisnki. Hosting the AHIF will no doubt contribute to growth of Rwanda as a leading Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Events (MICE) destination in the region, according to experts.
Karera said the meeting is also aimed at supporting hotel and infrastructure development across Africa, promoting Africa among international hotel investor and operator community, as well as educating the hotel investment community about the tourism potential of Africa.
It also seeks to foster networking between African stakeholders and the international community and support the continent’s ambition for growth through travel and tourism.
In Africa as a whole, travel and tourism is seen as a highly attractive growth industry. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), it is responsible for 8.1 per cent of GDP and it is forecast to rise at 4.9 per cent per annum until 2025.
Equally, Rwanda’s tourism sector continues to grow, positioning itself as the leading foreign earner for the country.
The sector registered a three per cent increase in the number of visitors to Rwanda during the 2013/14 financial year, growing from 1.14 million visitors to 1.2 million visitors. Revenue generated from the sector over the period rose from $293.4 million to $303 million in 2014, according to figures from Rwanda Development Board.
However, the country expects tourist earnings to hit $400 million this year, up from $318 million in 2015. This indicates a growth of 25.8 per cent compared to last year.
Meanwhile, AviaDev, a new airline route development conference, will also be held over the same period at Raddison Blu. AviaDev Africa is a unique event bringing together airports, airlines, governments and tourism authorities to determine Africa’s future air connectivity, according to a statement from organisers.