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As the South African and broader African hospitality markets continue to recover post-Covid-19, investment and development activity is expected to increase as the sector evolves following its worst crisis in history, according to industry expert Wayne Troughton, CEO of HTI Consulting.

“Various themes and trends are hot right now,” he says, “especially as the industry rebounds and leading players reposition themselves in terms of product, planning, funding, and development pipeline.”

According to Troughton, some of the most notable trends for him are how the operational and investment landscape has shifted since the pandemic; how markets and products are adapting to these changes; and what the recovery and forward bookings look like for the upcoming season.

“One of the key questions we hope to answer is what the current state of recovery and forward bookings look like for the upcoming season.” 

HTI Consulting is conducting research with tour operators, travel agents, and hotel operators; the findings of these surveys will be presented at the Hospitality Forum and discussed in a panel discussion with key industry influencers and champions.”

“Because Covid-19 has changed the way we think, and to some extent how we work and travel,” he says, “it is critical to understand what new products have emerged and how existing brands have adapted to these changes, especially moving forward.”

Covid has also put significant pressure on cash flows, resulting in the restructuring of debt and equity structures, as well as longer-term changes in how projects are evaluated and financed in the future.

Troughton’s remarks come ahead of the inaugural API Hospitality Forum on September 22nd in Johannesburg (https://bit.ly/3er748T), which will provide over 150 attendees with insights into this fast-moving and exciting sector from leading industry experts, global hotel brands, funds, hotel owners, and others from across the value chain.

Created in partnership with Africa’s leading property investment and development summit, the 400-person API Summit (21 & 22 September) and sponsored by Radisson Hotel Group & HTI Consulting, the API Hospitality Forum is a much-needed and credible platform for South African and African hospitality leaders to gather and network with the wider real estate community says, Troughton.

“Over the last few years, a large proportion of investors in hospitality have migrated from other real estate asset classes making it even more important to create this linkage between the broader real estate community and the hospitality sector. Partnering with the API Summit also makes it more affordable enabling the summit to attract a broader and larger audience who may have found other international hospitality conferences inaccessible in the past.”

Troughton’s views are reflected by Radisson Hotel Group’s Senior Development Director, Sub-Saharan Africa Daniel Trappler.

“The API Hospitality Forum will bring together industry players, stakeholders, and leaders to provide a renewed focus on the South African and broader African hospitality market. There is no better time to gain insight into these markets’ recovery, investment activity, and trends. It is an excellent opportunity for everyone to reconnect, network, and participate in this inaugural hospitality forum opportunity.

For Trappler, the hospitality forum can play a strategic role in its efforts to continue growing in what has been a record-setting year across the continent.

“The trend for Radisson Hotel Group in Africa in 2022 has been a focus on hotel openings & the group has achieved a record year in this regard. The post-pandemic hospitality market recovery remains something to be understood (especially considering the impact of inflation globally, particularly relevant here in the construction industry) and something to take advantage of, where possible. As Africa’s largest organically grown international hotel brand, RHG has both the experience & the flexibility to achieve both,” he says.

With an enviable pipeline across the African continent, Trappler also stresses the major role that hospitality plays as a lever of economic growth and also by providing meaningful and sustainable job creation.

“Hospitality is a key economic driver, employment creator, & focal property type in regions throughout South & Sub-Saharan Africa. Currently, our hotel development pipeline in the Sub-Saharan region has an all-encompassing focus, including hotels within mixed-use schemes, serviced apartments, and appropriately located standalone products – ensuring that our developments are a response to market needs as we continue to cement our position as the most diverse hotel management company across Africa in terms of the number of countries in which we operate.”

For the API Summit host, Murray Anderson-Ogle, the addition of the API Hospitality Forum to its industry-leading gathering is a continuation of its strategy to drive development across the real estate sector in Africa, as he ends.

“The API Summit is recognized as the industry’s biggest annual industry gathering and in 2022, we are pleased to welcome over 400 attendees to this year’s event. The addition of the API Hospitality Forum to our programme is part of our strategy to create experiences that provide meaningful benefits to our community of leading African and South African real estate players, as there is increasing interest and exposure to the sector by our community.”

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