Business & Finance

Economic Benefits of Hosting Events in Africa

An Independent report has revealed a seven-figure economic boost to destinations that have hosted the Africa Hotel Investment Forum over a six year period. By Martin Jansen van Vuuren.

The significant economic benefits to host countries of the influential Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) have been quantified in an independent assessment by the international audit, tax and advisory experts, Grant Thornton. The total contribution to African economies is estimated at $16.8 million and since inception, it is estimated that AHIF has been responsible for deals cumulatively worth over $4billion.

The headline figures include direct, indirect and induced financial benefits – accepted economic multipliers – and run from the first AHIF in Morocco in 2011 to Rwanda last year.

On average, hosting an AHIF event brings a million dollars in direct benefit to the local economy, an additional 1.4 million dollars in indirect benefit and a substantial six-figure sum in tax to the host government.

Evidence of the successful impact of AHIF – organised by Bench Events – comes ahead of the seventh edition taking place in Kigali, from 10 to 12 October and, like last year, running alongside the airline route development conference, AviaDev, which together attract some of the leading executives from the worlds of aviation and hotels, with top government officials and ministers.

AHIF’s benefits: Key findings – over 6 years:

  • Direct contribution of AHIF to local economies projected at $6.9 million.
  • Additional $9.9 million generated through indirect and induced impact, ie boosting local suppliers, increasing local spending power.
  • Projected total of $1.1 million paid in taxes in various host countries.
  • A projected total of 5,462 jobs – temporary or permanent – created or sustained.
  • Delegate survey indicates a total deal value of $124 million, an average of $4.6 million per deal – translated for all AHIF events between 2011 and 2016, deals total an estimated $4.4 billion.

A breakdown of AHIF’s economic impact can be accessed here.

One key gauge of AHIF’s success is the high-level of the delegates it attracts – the attending CEO’s and MD’s do not only spend more than average by staying in the best hotels but much more importantly, they are people with the ability to make decisions, including whether or not to invest in a destination – and that’s reflected in the value of deals done.

The report also highlights the fact that host economies benefit from wide media coverage and from the credential of hosting a top-level conference like AHIF. Doing so helps to attract further events, which boost local companies and provide job opportunities as well as the chance to develop skills.

Regarding Africa’s broader economic prospects, the growth of African countries may have slowed at present because of commodity prices, but commodity prices will rise again, and given hotel development lead-in times, which are three years on average, and taking into account the life of the asset, which is decades after the hotel is built, this is a good moment for investment, in my view.

And my view is supported by Jonathan Worsley, chairman of Bench events, who says: “We are gratified that this report bears out what we’ve always believed: that hosting AHIF adds value to the places we visit and the conference is a great place to discuss deals which benefit tourism in Africa. This year’s event will be our most comprehensive and exciting with an outstanding line-up of speakers, first-hand advice from experts and unique networking opportunities.  Rwanda is a prime example of what can be achieved in our sector by a country that is determined to use tourism to propel itself forward and we’re pleased to be back again in October.”

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About the author: Martin Jansen van Vuuren holds the post of Strategic Development & Planning Director at Grant Thornton Cape.

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