Africa Hospitality Investment Forum (AHIF) kicked off in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, on Monday as participants seek to tap investment in the tourism sector.
The three-day event brought together over 500 delegates from more than 40 countries, including senior government officials, hospitality investors, and industry experts to showcase opportunities in Africa’s hospitality industry.
In his opening remarks, Kenyan Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi said the conference comes at an ideal time when Africa’s tourism sector is rebounding from the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Africa is open to all those who are eager to invest and capitalize on the abundant opportunities available in the thriving sectors of the tourism industry,” Mudavadi said.
He noted that most African countries have put in place supportive business environments that make the region an ideal hospitality investment destination.
John Ololtuaa Principal secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage, said that his country is keen to attract more foreign investors into the hospitality sector.
“Kenya has a large pool of hospitality talent who possess the knowledge and expertise to ensure the success of new hospitality ventures,” she added.
Zimbabwe’s Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu said his country’s tourism sector is in the midst of recovery, buoyed by increased interest from international visitors.
He noted that Zimbabwe has also prioritized investments into the hospitality sector, one of the largest sources of foreign
Haitham Mattar, special advisor of the United Nations World Trade Organization (UNWTO) and managing director of Middle East, Africa, and SouthWest Asia at the InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG) Hotels and Resorts, said that North Africa is leading the way in the continent’s hospitality rebound while sub-Saharan Africa is gaining momentum.
He urged African governments to partner with the private sector to expand the hospitality sector.
Mattar noted that foreign investors are turning to Africa because of the growing optimism over the prospects of the continent’s tourism sector. ■