, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 30 – The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has forecasted the total contribution of travel and tourism to GDP in the country to reach Sh603.1 billion or 21.7 percent.
In 2011 travel and tourism contributed 13.7 percent of GDP to Sh403.7 billion, which the WTTC predicts will rise by 4.3 percent this year.
Employment in the country is also set to see an increase from tourism’s contribution, with jobs in the industry expected to rise by 1.2 percent to 788,000 this year, which WTTC says will grow further by 1.4 percent annually to nearly a million jobs in 2022.
This year’s WTTC global summit held in Japan saw newly appointed Tourism Minister Dan Mwazo become the patron of the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) taking place in Nairobi between September 25 and 26 this year.
Several premium global hotel and tourism giants have confirmed their participation in the forthcoming investment forum including Accor Hotels, Marriott, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Hotel Spec, Horwath HTL, W Hospitality Group and Wyndham Hotel Group.
Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels, Société Marocaine d’Ingénierie Touristique (SMIT) and Lonrho Hotels have also confirmed participation as has existing premium players Hilton Worldwide and InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG).
Speaking during his recent tour of Japan to attend the WTTC global Summit, Mwazo pledged to ensure a successful conference in the interest of regional tourism investments.
“Tourism is extremely important to the Kenyan economy and our government is committed to doing all we can to encourage its growth. I see AHIF as a great opportunity to encourage the international hotel investment community to take a very serious look at Kenya,” Mwazo said.
Jonathan Worsley, Chairman of Bench Events that is organising AHIF said “I am delighted Minister Mwazo has given the event his personal endorsement. The support of the government sends the right kind of signals to the investment community and the enthusiastic statements I have heard from several places in the Kenyan administration will encourage investors to come.”
AHIF is the premier hotel investment conference in Africa, attracting many prominent international hotel owners, investors, financiers, management companies and their advisers.
The Forum is held in a different African city every year showcasing high-growth destinations across the continent, with last year’s the conference held in Morocco, attracting more than 350 delegates from 34 countries.