News: Bench Events to launch bilingual FIHA in Morocco next year

Bench Events, organiser of the Africa Hotel Investment Forum, has announced that it is launching a sister event, named the Forum sur l’Investissement Hôtelier Africain.

The new show will focus more precisely on north and west Africa.

Proceedings will be bilingual, with presentations and panel discussions led in French with simultaneous translation to English.

The first edition of FIHA will take place in Marrakesh during the first week of February 2019.

In Africa, hotel investment is booming.

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Hotels are core infrastructure because they are essential to attracting tourists and business people who come with foreign currency to spend and invest.

As the economic environment in Africa has become increasingly less risky in the past two or three decades and because the number of hotels per head of population is a tiny fraction of what it is in highly-developed western economies, the growth in hotel development across Africa has consistently outstripped general economic growth – which in many African countries is currently higher than much of the rest of the world.

Imad Barrakad, chief executive, the Moroccan Agency for Tourism Development, said: “I am very pleased that Morocco will be the launch venue for FIHA, as I fully expect it will attract the kind of people who have the influence and resources to make a destination successful.

“At FIHA, we will be engaging with them and making a compelling case for further investment in the hospitality sector here.”

A recent economic study by Grant Thornton revealed that hosting AHIF brings, on average, a million dollars in direct benefit to the local economy, an additional 1.4 million dollars in indirect benefit and a substantial six-figure sum in tax to the government.

Jonathan Worsley, chairman of Bench Events, is keen to make a similar impact with FIHA.

He said: “I’m delighted we are taking this step. Until now, the strongest interest in hosting AHIF has come from countries in sub-Saharan Africa, but with increasing interest emerging from north and west Africa, it makes sense to launch another premium hotel investment conference event with a different geographic focus.

“Since announcing the plan, we have received immediate interest and already have sponsorship commitments from the Moroccan Agency for Tourism Development, AccorHotels and Louvre Hotels.”

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