Press Release

17 Jul 2013

Phyllis Kandie Becomes Patron of AHIF

Phyllis Kandie, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism is to be the Patron of the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF), which takes place in Nairobi on 24-25 September 2013.  AHIF brings together the leading international hotel investors in Africa with local operators, ministers, government officials and industry experts, who will discuss all aspects of hotel investment and operation in Africa.

In becoming Patron, Phyllis Kandie said: “After agriculture, Tourism is Kenya’s second most important economic sector in terms of export revenues and I am determined to encourage its growth.  One of the best ways to do so is to encourage investors from the private sector to build new hotels, restaurants and visitor attractions.  Since AHIF is the event that attracts the highest calibre international hotel investors and since it is taking place this year in Nairobi; we have an extraordinary opportunity to show off Kenya as a destination and to persuade many of the top business people in attendance that Kenya is an excellent place to invest their money.”

In Africa as a whole, Travel & Tourism is seen as a highly attractive growth industry. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), it is responsible for 9% of GDP and it is forecast to rise at more than 5% per annum until 2023.  In Kenya, tourism is worth KES450bn to the economy, 12.5% of GDP and it is forecast to rise by 2.2% in 2013, and to rise by 4.5% per annum to over KES700bn in 2023.  In employment terms, the industry is responsible for 600,000 jobs, nearly 11% of total employment.

Patrick Fitzgibbon, SVP Development for Hilton Worldwide in Europe and Africa, said: “The development opportunity in Africa is immense. It is a strategic development market for Hilton Worldwide, which is demonstrated by our 37 hotels trading today and more than 19 in the pipeline, which are due to open over the next few years. There is increasing confidence and a growing demand across the African capital cities, as they are thriving centres with significant hospitality needs. We are very excited about the future in Africa and are working with our partners to leverage our brands and expertise – and realize the opportunity this presents.”

Jonathan Worsley, Chairman, Bench Events, the company that organises AHIF and other top international hotel investment conferences, said: “There are a number of reasons to raise one’s level of optimism about investing in tourism businesses in Kenya - and the surrounding countries.  First, we saw peaceful elections in Kenya earlier this year, which boosted business confidence.  Second the government gets tourism and it is working on a range of plans to help the industry grow.  Third, there is a powerful trend of increasing trade between East African countries, which is being further reinforced by political efforts to create a common market in East Africa with a common currency.”

In 2012, AHIF attracted 426 delegates from 38 countries who represented 310 organisations.  Several networking contacts made at AHIF have since resulted in promising new business relationships and the event attracted considerable media attention, with around a hundred reports appearing in the media worldwide. 

For more information about AHIF, visit


About AHIF
AHIF 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.  [Other sponsoring governments include Burundi and Rwanda.]

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, Hilton Worldwide. AECOM Design + Planning, Colliers International, G1 Architecture, Golden Tulip, 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 Resorts Worldwide, Inc., 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).

Further Information
For further information and high resolution images, please contact: David Tarsh, +44 (0) 20 7602 5262, +44 (0) 7770 816 070 or Joanne Howell,, +44 (0) 7813 164 649.