Press Release

23 Sep 2013

Nairobi Hotel Conference Proceeds as Planned

The organisers of the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF), taking place in Nairobi 23-25 September 2013, have confirmed that it will go ahead as planned, despite the terrorist incident at the Westgate Shopping Centre.

Jonathan Worsley, Chairman, Bench Events said: "The Westgate incident is horrific and our hearts go out to all the victims and their families, who have suffered the most shocking blow. The goal of terrorists is to spread fear and disrupt lives and we know that if we change our plans adversely; they win. Therefore, we will be proceeding with AHIF as planned, all be it with heightened security throughout the conference."

David Scowsill, President & CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), said: "Despite this terrible incident in the shopping centre in Nairobi and the appalling loss of life, I am planning to fly to Nairobi on Monday to attend the Africa Hotel Investment Forum. It is important that the travel industry supports Kenya at this difficult time."

Many delegates have already arrived in Nairobi for AHIF and there have been very few cancellations. According to WTTC, Travel & Tourism is one of Kenya's largest industries, responsible for 12.5% of GDP, KES 450 bn, and 11% of total employment, ~ 600,000 jobs.

Ends

Important Note to Editors
AHIF has a totally open policy towards the media and the AHIF media team will strive to fix interviews for journalists with all the business leaders present. Therefore, this will be the ideal place to find out exactly what the hotel and tourism industry really thinks about the terrorist attack.

About AHIF
AHIF, taking place in Nairobi 23-25 September 2013, is the premier hotel investment conference in Africa, attracting many prominent international hotel owners, investors, financiers, management companies and their advisers. The conference is also receiving support from the Kenyan government by way of sponsorship from the Kenya Tourist Development Corporation (KTDC) and the presence of the tourism minister Hon. Phyllis Kandie MP.

The speaker line up features government ministers from four countries and dozens of CEOs and board-level executives from the most important companies building and running hotels across the continent, including:

• Phyllis Kandie, Cabinet Secretary for East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism, Kenya
• Carvalho Muária, Minister of Tourism, Mozambique
• Dr Maria Mutagamba, Minister of Tourism, Uganda
• Jean Max Rakotomamonjy, Ministre du Tourisme Madagascar
• Simon Vincent, President EMEA, Hilton Worldwide
• Alex Kyriakidis, President & Managing Director, Middle East and Africa, Marriott International, Inc.
• Hervé Louis, Chief Finance Officer, ACCOR
• Ulrich T. Eckhardt, President India, Middle East & Africa, Kempinski Hotels
• Jean-Gabriel Pérès, President & CEO, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts
• Ewan Cameron, Chief Executive Officer, Lonrho Hotels
• David Scowsill, President & CEO, World Travel & Tourism Council
• Patrick Fitzgibbon, Senior Vice President Development - Europe & Africa, Hilton Worldwide
• Samer Abu Ayash, Senior Vice President - Head of Design, Construction & Real Estate, Kingdom Hotel Investments
• Rui Barros, Senior Vice President & Managing Director EMEA, Wyndham Hotel Group
• Neil George, Senior Vice President, Acquisitions & Development Middle East & Africa, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
• Peter Norman, Senior Vice President Acquisitions & Development, Hyatt International (Europe Africa Middle East) LLC
• Taras Ettl, Vice President Development - Middle East & Africa, InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG)
• Bani Haddad, Regional Vice President - Middle East and Africa, Wyndham Hotel Group
• Marianne Ndegwa, Jordan, Managing Director, Kenya Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC)
• Rohan Patel, Director, Sankara Hotel Group Kenya Ltd
• Olaf Schmidt, Global Sector Head - Hotel, Retail & Real Estate Investments, IFC (International Finance Corporation - World Bank Group)

Confirmed sponsors are as follows: 2013 Host Partner: (KTDC) Kenya Tourist Development Corporation. Platinum Sponsors: ACCOR, Mangalis Management Group and Marriott International, Inc. Gold Sponsors: AECOM Design + Planning, Africa Export Import Bank, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Colliers International, G1 Architecture, Golden Tulip, Grant Thornton, Hilton Worldwide, Horwath HTL, Hotel Partners Africa, Hyatt International LLC, HVS, IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group), Kempinski Hotels, Lonrho Hotels, Moevenpick Hotels & Resorts, Ole-Sereni, Shapooji Pallonji International, Starwood Hotels and Restorts International, STR Global and Wyndham Hotel Group.

About Bench Events
In addition to the next Africa Hotel Investment Forum, Bench Events is one of the organisers and founders, alongside Questex Travel + Hospitality and MEED Events, of several well-known conferences for the hotel investment industry including Berlin (IHIF), Dubai (AHIC), Istanbul (CATHIC) and Moscow (RHIC). www.benchevents.com

Further Questions
For further information and high resolution images, please contact: David Tarsh, David@Tarsh.com +44 (0) 20 7602 5262, +44 (0) 7770 816 070, Susan Gikera, sgikera@mediaedgegroup.com, O: +254 020 425 000, M: +254 724 651 791 or Joanne Howell, joanne.howell@benchevents.com, +44 (0) 7813 164 649.