(eTN) – In a move to raise its tourism profile, Africa needs more five-star hotels that would attract high-class tourists and global competitiveness in the hospitality industry.
Five-star hotel investments would be an optional and prerequisite in raising Africa’s accommodation portfolio by attracting leading global and regional luxury hotel chains to inject their capital in this continent, said hotel experts.
Ahead of the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) 2012 to be taking place in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi at the Inter Continental Hotel on September 25 and 26, several leading global hotel chains are expected to explore their chances to invest in Africa’s fast-growing tourism and travel business. These include Accor, Hilton and Rezidor, which have indicated an intention to explore possibilities of using the event as the venue to announce deals and new investments in Africa.
With a perspective of a fast-growing East African luxury accommodation chain, Serena Hotels and Lodges has entered into a list of leading hotel investment bandwagons in Africa.
After entering Tanzania in mid-1996 when former Tanzania President Mr. Benjamin Mkapa and His Highness The Aga Khan cut a ribbon to open two lodges and a hotel in northern Tanzania wildlife parks, Serena chain had extended its services to Tanzania’s southern tourist circuit and the capital city of Dar es Salaam.
Looking at higher business expectations, Dar es Salaam Serena Hotel General Manager Mr. Rahim Azad sees big demand on five-star hotels in Tanzania, especially the capital city of Dar es Salaam and southern parts of this African country.
Mr. Rahim told eTurboNews that the Serena Chain in southern parts of Tanzania expects even over 85 percent room booking in the next few months to come. On his personal perspective of the hotel business, Dar es Salaam has been an exciting area where international-class tourists visit, other than local visitors, including high-profile dignitaries.
“There is a big hotel business potentialities here in Dar es Salaam and other parts of southern Tanzania, which have been left behind on tourist investments,” Mr. Rahim said.
Dar es Salaam Serena Hotel had emerged a five-star hotel, competing with other two-star hotels, all in Dar es Salaam.
“We are careful in handling our business by looking at best services that we offer our clients, that is why Serena became a five-star class accommodation facility in the whole of Tanzania,” Mr. Rahim added.
Looking at Africa’s position in tourism, about 50 tourists visited this continent last year out of 990 million tourist arrivals in the world.
The Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) 2012 is fast approaching is on course to sell out with over 350 delegates from Africa and around the world. The program hosts a line-up of 50 key industry expert speakers including investors, developers, operators, and country officials who will share their insight into the opportunities across this thriving tourism in the African continent.
The program will discuss on how to explore the fundamental issues that will determine success or failure of hospitality projects in Africa. These issues to be discussed include: the political climate, local infrastructure, access to natural resources, government initiatives, overall market potential, specific hospitality opportunities in Africa, tourism policy, access by air, the practical challenges of doing deals in Africa, sourcing and structuring finance, brand creation and communication, ensuring long-term sustainability, deciding to manage or franchise, and gaining specific market intelligence.
There will also be special sessions focusing on West Africa capital, the anatomy of a successful hotel project, and the budget and mid-market segment – arguably the most exciting opportunity for all to gain abundant knowledge on this vital issue.
Kenyan Tourism Minister Dan Mwazo said the industry leaders have singled out the international conference and exhibition for exceptional support, because it attracts the most influential business people and goes to a different destination in Africa each year.
“During the two-day conference, local and international tourism sector investors will deliberate on a wide range of topics ranging from the political climate, local infrastructure, access to natural resources, government initiatives, overall market potential, specific hospitality opportunities in Africa, and the status of existing tourism policies,” Mwazo said.
AHIF moves to a different African city every year showcasing high-growth destinations across the continent. Last year the conference was held in Morocco, attracting more than 350 delegates from 34 countries.
Analysts say the event will undoubtedly attract quality investors who may wish to invest and develop world-class hotels within the traditional and emerging tourist circuit in Kenya and the rest of East African region.
Mwazo, who is also the AHIF patron, said that many leading tourism investment companies and practically all the global brands in the hotel industry have confirmed their participation in the forthcoming forum to be held in Nairobi.