The Africa Hospitality Investment Forum (AHIF) which has been going on since Tuesday, hosted at Radisson Blu Hotel, has attracted a number of key personalities in the hospitality industry. The annual conference was organized to bring together key players from the local and international scene.

The annual gathering has been known to attract the region’s most senior hotel investors, executives from leading global hotel chains, developers, operators, and advisors. This year, AHIF has presented more than 300 delegates with an aim of showcasing the investment opportunities across the continent.

The key sectors which have contributed personalities to the forum include hospitality, infrastructure, tourism and travel, from across Africa and beyond. The AHIF is the only annual hotel investment conference that brings together key personalities in the hotel investment community with passion to invest in Africa.

African hospitality has grown in leaps and bounds over the past five years as the travel and hospitality sectors continue to offer investors higher returns on their investments.

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“We consider Africa an attractive investment destination as positive developments in the continent changes its image. Accor Hotels is keen to expand the scale of our operations in Africa where we have invested heavily,” said Olivier Granet, the CEO of Accor Hotels, Middle East and Africa.

Investors used the platform to reveal their plans for the continent. Marriot, which plans to launch an AC brand in Cape Town later in the year revealed that it plans to have 200 hotels and 38,000 rooms in the region by 2023 while Hilton plans to double its portfolio on the continent.

Accor Hotel Group also plans to reach 130 hotels with more than 23,000 rooms in Africa by 2022 while Radisson Hospitality AB announced their signing of 10 new hotel deals in their five-year strategic plan to 2022.

Although returns are generally attractive to investors, key challenges remain to be tackled to improve the investment climate. These include poor infrastructure and a lack of well-trained workers to drive operations.

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The investors lauded the continent’s improved tourism and intercountry travel among other trends that have aided investors in their ventures.

Beyond the plenary sessions, AHIF’s contribution to the local host and to the industry in general is often economically impressive. last year, a delegate survey indicated that a total deal value of $124 million, an average of $4.6 million per deal – translated for all AHIF events between 2011 and 2016, with deals total estimated at $4.4 billion.