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OPTIMISM IN AFRICAS HOSPITALITY MAIN THEME AT HICADate: 09/11/2009
Article source: www.hippocommunications.com
Optimism was the main theme during the second day of the Hospitality Investment Conference Africa 2009, as speakers explored future prospects for the continent’s hospitality sector amid the current economic climate. The conference is currently on at the Sandton Sun hotel and ends today.
Speaking during an advisory panel discussion, Dr Auliana Poon, MD of Tourism Intelligence International, stressed that during these recessionary times, less focus should be placed on when the tourism industry will recover, but rather how the industry will look when it recovers. “We know the industry will recover, but what will be the fundamental changes to the industry?” asked Poon. The panel comprised of Dr. Poon as well as industry experts Gillian Saunders, Principal of Grant Thornton Strategic Solutions and Trevor Ward, MD of W Hospitality Group.
Regional investment featured strongly in most sessions - more so during the session tackling the difficult question of who will be the investors of today and tomorrow.
Typical concerns about the risks of investing in Africa, such as political unrest, safety concerns and corruption were also discussed at length with experts from the insurance industry sharing their perspective. The panel emphasized that although potential investors should be concerned about these risks, with proper assistance these risks can be managed. Panel member, John McMillan, MD of Rani Hotels and Resort cautioned against painting all the countries in the continent with the same brush, saying that an investor will encounter different challenges in different countries.
In his keynote address to the delegates, the Minister of Tourism, Marthinus van Schalkwyk said that he remained ever-optimistic about the future, despite the economic challenges.
“In South Africa, we have developed a slogan for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ that says ‘Africa’s time has come’. This is true not only for football, but we believe also for travel and tourism. Africa will be the theatre, and South Africa will be the stage for the 2010 World Cup.”