Togo is to host an additional Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) on April 5 and 6 2016 to run parallel with two major development initiatives designed to enhance the country’s standing as a strategic investment destination for business and tourism. AHIF conferences bring together international investors, business leaders, government ministers and top officials from across Africa. It also reflects the country’s optimism about further economic expansion.
Lomé’s new airport terminal will increase passenger capacity from 400 000 to two million, and triple the international airport’s passenger and cargo potential. It will accommodate direct flights from Cairo, Turkey and Dubai. Within the next decade the expansion of the capital’s sea port will triple its capacity, to 1.2 million containers a year. “Our decision to host an additional AHIF conference in Lomé comes at a pivotal time for Togo. Business and tourism is growing and we’re confident this will fuel increased demand for hotel capacity,” said Matthew Weihs, managing director of Bench Events, organisers of AHIF. “We believe the airport and port expansion will trigger other infrastructure projects, presenting significant opportunities for business and tourism. Togo is increasingly becoming an important investment destination.”
The conference will take place at the new landmark Radisson Blu 2 Fevrier hotel in the capital. It will give delegates the chance to discuss the challenges and opportunities of investing and developing in the country. According to Ashok Gupta, CEO of Kalyan Hospitality Development, Radisson Blu’s partner in the Lomé hotel said what attracts them to Togo is the combination of several factors, not least the natural asset of its port with the government’s vision to create a trading hub for West Africa. He continued: “This is an important starting point for the further extension of our hospitality segment. And the fact that Lomé is hosting an AHIF conference will complement all our ambitions. We are looking forward to some serious and fruitful discussions.”
The Radisson Blu 2 Fevrier is an upscale 320-room prestigious complex with two auditoriums, business centre, swimming pool, tennis courts and casino. Togo attracts a variety of tourist visitors keen to explore its beautiful scenery and enjoy its tropical climate. Latest figures from the World Travel and Tourism Council show that travel and tourism directly accounted for 3.1% of total GDP in 2014 and is forecast to rise by 6% in 2015, and by a further 2.2% each year from 2015 to 2025. On a wider analysis, the total contribution of travel and tourism to GDP was 6.7% in 2014 and is forecast to rise by 5.4% by the end of 2015.
Bernadette Essossimna Legzim-Balouki, Togo’s Minister for Commerce, Industry, Private Sector Promotion and Tourism said: “Our government is keen to see sustainable economic growth, and travel and tourism is a major contributor to that effort. Of course we face a number of challenges, and discussion between government and business, such as at AHIF, will help us find the best way forward.” Elie Younes, EVP & Chief Development Officer of Carlson Rezidor, which manages the Hotel 2 Fevrier, concluded: “The emerging market of Africa is one of our key focus growth areas. We have high expectations for the AHIF conference this year based on its track record of attracting high-calibre speakers and delegates. I look forward to this prominent educational and a deal-making event.”