By Abdul Rahman Suagibu –
NEW AFRICA DAILY NEWS ( NADN ) Freetown, Sierra Leonne- Multinational, soccer star – Didier Drogba, has improved his motherland, Côte d’Ivoire, strike a compromise of gold by enabling to compile MOUs for a total of $15 billion in obligations to back tourism projects in the West African nation.
The godsends UNWTO Forum for Africa, which took place in Abidjan last week. The momentous Forum de l’Investissement Hotelier Africain (FIHA), which takes place in Abidjan next month March 23 – 25, 2020. FIHA is realized for its proficiency to link up the new investors with developers, consultants, contractors, hoteliers, and political leaders.
The retired Chelsea striker – and now UN World Tourism Ambassador – was part of a thriving global thrust to nurture the soaring achievement and elegance of Côte d’Ivoire’s tourist economy. The country gushes a GDP progress symmetry of 8% in 2019 and, as an objective, it’s in third place in Sub-Saharan Africa, with two million international visitors, behind South Africa and Zimbabwe, ahead of Uganda, Botswana, Kenya or Mauritius (according to UNWTO 2018 data).
Matthew Weihs, Managing Director, Bench Events, which organizes FIHA, said: “This is a remarkable and stunning feat by Côte d’Ivoire; and it makes this year’s Forum particularly interesting because the funding commitments are in place and the task now is to make projects happen.” Last year’s successful FIHA in Marrakech attracted 300 delegates from twenty countries.
In partnership with the banner, Côte d’Ivoire’s Didier Drogba was a main player in a battalion of top Ivorian business and political leaders, as well as show business figures, who took a roadshow to Dubai and Hamburg. They returned with more than 15 billion dollars of funding commitments for a variety of tourism projects, from hotels to resorts and coastline development. All the backers have been invited to attend FIHA.
Philippe Doizelet, the Managing Partner of Horwath HTL, the world’s largest and most experienced hospitality consultants, has been guiding Côte d’Ivoire’s efforts. He said: “It’s a blank page that the industry can write on in the most exciting way. Much has to be built – hotels alongside cultural centres and conference facilities, among other things.
The incredible coastline proposes great ‘bleisure’ (a mix of business and leisure) opportunities. Beyond Abidjan; Boulay island, Bassam and Jacqueville are currently the most promising locations.” He sees the greatest potential in ‘mixed-use’ projects, combining leisure, office and retail units with hospitality, in particular, branded 2-star & 3-star hotels and extended stay apartments.
Leading the country’s ambition to make tourism one of the main pillars of the economy, is Tourism Minister Siandou Fofana. Described by Philippe Doizelet as “visionary and deeply committed. He works hard to bring people together and attracts the best experts.”
Bench Events, Managing Director, Matthew Weihs concluded: “FIHA and its affiliated event, the Africa Hotel Investment Forum, are central to driving investments in the regional hotel and mixed-use projects. The events connect key international and regional stakeholders, private and institutional investors to the hotel developers and operators that are fuelling the growth of the hotel industry across the continent. The projects that are promoted and funded at FIHA drive investments in tourism, stimulate economic growth in regional markets, create jobs and encourage much-needed infrastructure.”
For New Africa Daily News Abdul Rahman Suagibu Reports, Africa Correspondent