Several premium global hotel and tourism giants have confirmed their participation in the forthcoming Africa Hotel Investment Forum to be held in Nairobi.
The more than one dozen hotel chains will be hosted in Nairobi this September by the Kenya Tourist Development Corporation (KTDC) which is the 2012 host partner of the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) set for September 25-26.
Newly appointed Tourism Minister Dan Mwazo has also taken up the lead as the AHIF Patron with a pledge to facilitate international investments in the tourism sector.
In a development attributed to Kenya’s growing interest as an investment destination, the global hospitality chains that have confirmed participation include Accor Hotels, the world's leading hotel operator and market leader in Europe, present in 92 countries with more than 4400 hotels and 530,000 rooms under its fold.
According to KTDC CEO Marianne Ndegwa, Marriot International, a leading lodging company with more than 3,700 properties in 73 countries and territories worldwide, will also be participating in the major forum which will feature existing local operators and international chains eyeing local opportunities.
Besides Accor and Marriott, Ndegwa confirmed that Aecom Design + Planning, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Hotel Spec, Horwath HTL, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc, W Hospitality Group, WATG and Wyndham Hotel Group will all be trooping to Nairobi.
Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels, Société Marocaine d’Ingénierie Touristique (SMIT) and Lonrho Hotels, Ndegwa added have also confirmed participation as has existing premium players such as Hilton Worldwide and InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG).
Speaking during his recent tour of the Japan to attend the World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC’s) global Summit, Tourism Minister Dan Mwazo and Jonathan Worsley, Chairman of Bench Events, who is responsible for organising AHIF pledged to ensure a successful conference in the interest of regional tourism investments.
Hon Dan Mwazo said: “Tourism is extremely important to the Kenyan economy and our government is committed to doing all we can to encourage its growth. I see AHIF as a great opportunity to encourage the international hotel investment community to take a very serious look at Kenya. Hotels are critical to economic growth because business people and tourists, who are effectively the creators of new jobs, need somewhere to stay, to meet others and as a base to explore our wonderful country. Hotels are also great providers of employment locally, as they create work at all levels of society from cleaners and waiters to senior managers.”
According to the WTTC, the total contribution of Travel & Tourism to GDP in Kenya was KES. 403.7bn (13.7% of GDP) in 2011 and is forecast to rise by 4.3% in 2012, and to rise by 3.7% pa to KES603.1bn over the coming decade. The total contribution of Travel & Tourism to employment, including jobs indirectly supported by the industry, was 11.9% of total employment (778,500 jobs) in 2011. This is expected to rise by 1.2% in 2012 to 788,000 jobs and rise by 1.4% pa to nearly a million jobs in 2022.
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