HICA 2015 broadens its focus across sub-saharan Africa

Mmatšatši Ramawela
Mmatšatši Ramawela

The 9th annual Hotel Investment Conference Africa, fondly known as HICA, will this year broaden its view of the hospitality sector across sub-Saharan Africa, with a focus on who’s behind the deals, growth markets, technology partners and trends driving profitability.

Hosted under the auspices of the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA), the conference will take place at the Hilton Hotel in Sandton, Johannesburg, from 9 to 11 September.  HICA continues its long-standing association with Pam Golding Hospitality, and is this year supported by HDG Advisory and Hospitality Investment Partners Africa.

As the leading hotel investment conference in sub Saharan Africa, HICA assembles the region’s senior hospitality professionals, international hoteliers, investors, developers and top public sector leaders from across the region. This conference is about decision makers rubbing shoulders, generating new business, doing deals and creating opportunity.

“In preparation of this year’s programme and topics, we conducted a survey amongst industry professionals and past participants to get their feedback on what they want to see and get out of HICA 2015 says Conference Chair and TBCSA CEO, Mmatšatši Ramawela. “We took notice, have embraced this feedback and introduced exciting sessions and events to make this year’s conference worth your participation”.

Ramawela added that after many years of paying explicit attention to the hotel sector, this year’s programme has a broader scope which includes other key aspects of development, technology and deal structures impacting the hospitality sector.

“Just in the past year alone, we’ve witnessed a remarkable shift in the market, with local and international hotel brands jockeying for market share and establishing unique partner alliances that are providing growth opportunities in countries such as Nigeria, Angola, Mozambique, Tanzania, Ghana and South Africa.  This dynamic has not only had an impact on the hotel industry but the broader hospitality sector, including the restaurant industry, the conference market and the mixed use development space.  Hence our conference theme – Growth Through Partnerships – which puts the spotlight firmly on recent acquisitions, takeovers, buy-outs and co-branding collaborations which are beginning to shape the growth and development of the sector in the region”.

One of the highlights of HICA 2014 was a plenary session on the Marriott/Protea Hotel acquisition, which featured Marriott International’s MEA region Chief Operating Officer Mark Satterfield and Protea Hotel’s former Group Chief Executive Officer Arthur Gillis on stage. HICA 2015 will take such discussions a notch up, to uncover who is behind these deal-changing partnerships; what are the winning formulas defining success and how can potential investors find synergy through the establishment of new business alliances.