The Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF), which is the premier tourism and hotel investment conference in Africa, attracting many prominent international hotel owners, investors, financiers, management companies and their advisers, will take place on 25 – 27 June 2024, in Namibia.
The venue will be the Mövenpick and Mercure hotels in Namibia’s capital city, Windhoek. Both properties are receiving a total makeover after they were acquired in 2021 by a fund managed by Kasada Capital Management, the leading independent real estate private equity platform dedicated to the hospitality industry in Africa. Consequently, AHIF will showcase the relaunch of both properties.
For many delegates attending AHIF next year, the conference will involve a “safari” in more ways than one. The weekend before AHIF will feature various inspection trips to see some of Namibia’s best hospitality investment projects and tourism attractions. They include spectacular desert scenery, awesome adventure sports and sensational safaris, on which it is possible to see endangered black and white rhino, antelope, cheetah, elephants, giraffes, hippos, lions, ostriches and zebras. The trips will not only be educational; they will also provide valuable networking, as participants will also include delegates from AviaDev, Africa’s premier airline route development conference, which will be scheduled at the same venue, at the end of the week before.
In the seven-year period prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Namibia’s tourism sector had been growing consistently. According to the country’s Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, visitor numbers grew by around 5% per annum, from just under 1.2m in 2012 to 1.6m in 2019. However, the pandemic pummelled the country’s tourism industry, with visitor arrivals in 2020 falling below 200,000. Since then, they have recovered – by 40% in 2021; and they jumped by 98.1% to 461,027 in 2022.
Nangula Uaandja, Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer of the Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB), said: “Securing the bid to host AHIF 2024 is not just a win for Namibia, but also an affirmation of our national potential. We are delighted to welcome the international hospitality investment community to explore the untapped investment potential of our tourism industry. Namibia is a strikingly beautiful country, with picturesque landscapes that are guaranteed to charm at first sight. More than that, we are a country that is committed to developing our people by attracting foreign investments that catalyse economic activity and employment creation. Our government is deliberate about sustaining a conducive investment climate, supported by progressive regulatory and policy frameworks, a strong legal system, seamless repatriation of profits and an independent judiciary that protects the rights of all investors, and that allows disputes, if they arise, to be settled through the courts or international arbitration”.
Olivier Granet, Managing Partner and CEO, and David Damiba, Managing Partner, and CIO, Kasada Capital Management, said: “We are proud to be partnering with the Bench on AHIF 2024 and look forward to welcoming guests to Kasada’s newly refurbished and relaunched Mövenpick and Mercure hotels. The full refurbishment at Namibia’s leading hotel complexes and conference centre is a testament to our strategy of bringing capital and expertise to enhance the hospitality sector in key cities across Africa.
Matthew Weihs, Managing Director of The Bench, which organises AHIF, concluded: “We are very excited that AHIF will, for the first time, go to a SADC country next year. Investing in Africa is all about uncovering and seizing new opportunities. To do that, one needs to expand one’s horizons by going to different places, meeting new people, and exploring alternative scenarios. By scheduling AHIF and AviaDev either side of a weekend in Windhoek and laying on a selection of inspection trips for our delegates, we will be doing just that, as well as offering them unrivalled networking, which is a vital ingredient of any conference.”