“Hotel Rwanda” – from Shocker to First Address

The Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) will take place alongside AviaDev Africa in Kigali, Rwanda, from October 10 to 12. According to Bench Events, the organiser, the event was established last year as a meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) hub in the region. AHIF attracts more than 500 executives from 45 countries. AviaDev facilitated over 500 conversations between airlines, government officials and airports to discuss new aviation routes.

Last year, Accor, Best Western, Carlson Rezidor, CityBlue, Hilton and Marriott all made announcements about new hotel projects in Rwanda, 22 in total and Bench Events signed a new agreement with the UN World Tourism Organisation to cooperate closely and to jointly promote tourism through sustainable hotel and aviation development. This year marks the UN Year of Sustainable Tourism.

The joint forum – being held for the second time – provides a valuable opportunity to take a strategic approach to the expansion of travel across the continent as it brings together some of the leading executives and investors from the worlds of aviation and hotels, alongside top government officials and politicians, the view of the organiser.

Rwanda is increasingly becoming a destination of choice for international conferences and event organisers. The country has successfully hosted a number of high-level conferences such as the Africa Union Summit in July 2016, the World Economic Forum on Africa in May 2016, the Global Africa Investment Summit in September 2016, the Africa Hotel Investment Forum in October 2016, the 28th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol in October 2016 and the 2nd Aviation Africa Event (500 delegates) in February.

Rwanda will also be hosting the Transform Africa Summit (2 500 delegates) in May 2017, the Africa Health Forum (1 000 delegates) in June 2017 and the International Conference on Cancer in Africa in November, among others.

Jonathan Worsley, chair of Bench Events, said the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) is the forum to do business. He regards it as a unique opportunity for leading airline, airport and hotel executives, alongside government representatives, to explore the crucial link between aviation and hotel investment and discuss potential new airline routes.

“We are also very pleased to be returning to Rwanda, a progressive country that is investing in aviation as a catalyst for economic development,” said Worsley.

RwandAir is expanding its fleet and international network. Its first confirmed destination in Asia is Mumbai, and it has New York, London and China in its sights, as well as ambitions to grow as a hub airport for Africa. Work is due to begin this summer on a new airport on the outskirts of the capital, eventually able to handle four million passengers a year.

The CEO of the Rwanda Development Board, Clare Akamanzi, is fully backing the return of AHIF and AviaDev. “It’s a vital part of our mission to showcase Rwanda as a key destination to do business. I foresee many new business relationships developing,” said Akamanzi.

Rwanda has seen tourism grow as a major part of its economy having generated $404m in 2016.

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