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Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) Podcast

Business & Economics Podcasts

The official podcast of AHIF, which is attended by the highest calibre international hotel investors of any conference in Africa. It is the only annual hotel investment conference that connects business leaders from the international and local markets, driving investment into tourism projects, infrastructure and hotel development across Africa.


United Arab Emirates


The official podcast of AHIF, which is attended by the highest calibre international hotel investors of any conference in Africa. It is the only annual hotel investment conference that connects business leaders from the international and local markets, driving investment into tourism projects, infrastructure and hotel development across Africa.







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Episode 86: Wesam Okasha, Managing Director | Board Member Head of Global Development Asia, Greater China & EMEA Regions, TUI BLUE Hotels LLC

In this AHIF podcast episode, Matthew Weihs sits down with Wesam Okasha, Managing Director of TUI Blue, to delve into the brand's remarkable journey since its establishment in 2016. Okasha sheds light on TUI Blue's ambitious growth targets, surpassing expectations by opening 97 hotels in their initial three years. He discusses their strategic expansion into new markets, including Africa and Asia, highlighting their innovative approach to delivering authentic holiday experiences. Furthermore, Okasha emphasizes TUI Blue's unwavering commitment to sustainability, detailing their initiatives to reduce environmental impact and promote eco-friendly practices across their properties. The conversation also touches upon TUI Blue's upcoming luxury property in Zanzibar, offering a glimpse into its unique offerings and contribution to the evolving hospitality landscape.


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Episode 85: Wytze Van den Berg, Vice President International Operations EMEA/ Vice President EMEA World Hotels, BWH Hotels,

Discussion with Wytze van den Berk, VP of International Operations for BWH, highlighting BWH's growth post-acquisition of World Hotels, expansion plans in Africa, diverse brand portfolio, and opportunities and challenges in the African market.


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Episode 84: Trevor Ward, Managing Director, W Hospitality Group

In the latest episode of the AHIF podcast, Matthew Weihs and Trevor Ward delve into the intricacies of Africa's hospitality market. With a focus on the annual Hotel Chain Development in Africa pipeline report, they explore the challenges, trends, and opportunities shaping the continent's hotel industry. From the surge in resort developments to the impact of currency devaluation on project viability, this conversation offers valuable insights for investors and industry players alike.


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Episode 83: Rahul Chaudhary, Managing Director & CEO, CG Corp Global & CG Hospitality Holdings

In this episode of the AHIF podcast, Rahul Chaudhary, MD and CEO of CG Corp Global and CG Hospitality Holdings, shares insights on the remarkable growth and strategic ventures of CG Global over the past two years. From expanding into emerging markets like Nepal and Sri Lanka to venturing into the automobile industry, Rahul highlights the group's dynamic approach to investment. Furthermore, he emphasizes the significance of wellness tourism and the group's plans for expansion in this sector.


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Episode 82: Michael Aldridge, Founder & CEO, KOFISI

In this episode of the AHIF podcast, Michael Aldridge, the Founder and CEO of Kofisi, shares profound insights into the dynamic world of shared workspaces. The conversation unfolds the strategic growth of Kofisi, fueled by a unique blend of hospitality and co-working principles. Aldridge sheds light on the sustainability practices embedded within Kofisi's operations and highlights the pivotal role of technology in enhancing the workspace experience. The discussion moves onto Kofisi's expansion strategy in Africa, exploring the untapped potential of the shared workspace sector on the continent. With a focus on well-being and service standards, Aldridge provides a comprehensive view of the evolving trends in the workspace industry.


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Episode 81: Thomas Emanuel, Senior Director, STR

Thomas Emanuel, Senior Director at STR, shares invaluable insights in this insightful podcast. The episode examines the recovery dynamics of the continent's diverse markets, presenting key statistics that underscore the robust resurgence of Africa's hotel industry. From dissecting occupancy and average rates trends to spotlighting exceptional performances in cities such as Lagos, Addis Ababa, and Nairobi, the discussion offers a nuanced perspective. Gain strategic insights into the interplay of domestic and international demand, the pivotal role of connectivity, and the promising trajectories of pivotal markets. This podcast serves as an invaluable resource, providing a panoramic view of the nuanced nuances shaping Africa's hospitality renaissance.


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Episode 80: Suhail Ashok Bhatia, Director Asset Management, Compagnie Hoteliere et Immobiliere du Congo (CHIC)

Suhail Bhatia, Director of Asset Management, shares the inception of CHIC, highlighting its commitment to bringing world-class accommodation to a region hungry for quality. Dive into the challenges and triumphs of simultaneously developing five state-of-the-art hotels, fueled by a vision for sustainable growth. Explore the strategic partnerships, including the game-changing collaboration with Accor, and discover how CHIC is revolutionizing the hospitality landscape with innovative technology like digital keys. From boosting local economies to pioneering future-ready solutions, CHIC's story is a testament to the golden era of opportunities unfolding in Africa.


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Episode 79: JS Anand, Founder, Leva Hotels

JS Anand, Founder & CEO of Labour Hotels, shares his vision for expanding in Africa, exploring opportunities in Rwanda, Ethiopia, and West Africa. He highlights the need for service improvement, training, and government support in the African hospitality landscape. Discussing challenges, JS addresses financial struggles, decision-making complexities, and the importance of synergizing efforts in the region. He commends AHIF for exposure and emphasizes Labour Hotels' commitment to local community development. The podcast unfolds insights on co-branding, greenfield projects, and the strategic role of AHIF in shaping Africa's hospitality future.


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Episode 78: Bani Haddad, Founder & Managing Director, Aleph Hospitality

Dive into the world of hospitality investment in Africa with Matthew Weihs on the Africa Hospitality Investment Forum podcast. In this episode, he interviews Barney Haddad, the Managing Director of Aleph Hospitality. Discover how Aleph Hospitality operates as a third-party white label hotel operator, providing flexible management services for hotel owners across Africa. Explore the unique challenges and benefits of their model, including flexibility, shorter contractual terms, and street-smart management that leads to higher profitability. Learn about Aleph Cares, their sustainability and social responsibility program, and how they engage with local communities in Africa.


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Episode 77: Maya Ziadeh, Chief Development Officer, MEA & Turkey, Accor

Maya Ziadeh, the Chief Development Officer for premium midscale and economy brands in the Middle East, Africa, and Turkey at Accor discussed Accor's strategy for the African hospitality investment market, their portfolio of brands, and their priorities for growth in Africa in our AHIF podcast series, Maya highlighted the potential for hotel investment in Africa, with its young and fast-growing population, and urbanization happening faster than any other continent. Accor was one of the first movers in Africa, and they continue to focus on expanding their network in key cities and growing their brands in tier two and tier three cities, especially with franchise partners.


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Episode 76: Wesam Okasha, Head of Global Development and Managing Director, TUI Hotels & Resorts

TUI Blue is not just another hotel operator, but a socially responsible company that invests in people and communities. In a recent AHIF podcast episode, tHead of Global Development and Managing Director, TUI Hotels & Resorts discussed their journey, development opportunities, and pipeline in Africa. TUI Blue's social corporate responsibility is at the heart of their business model, and they have created the TUI Care Foundation to contribute to sustainable tourism and hospitality.


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Episode 75: Thomas Emanuel, Senior Director, STR

Thomas discusses the data solutions provided by STR, which collects data from over 78,000 hotels worldwide on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. The company provides benchmarking analysis to help clients understand their competitive position in the market and their direct competitors. They offer a range of key performance indicators, including occupancy, average rate, and revenue per available room, as well as segmentation data and business on the books.


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Episode 74: Paul Bridger, COO, Rove Hotels & Mark Dunford, CEO, Knight Frank Kenya

Discover the Affordable Lifestyle in Africa's Hospitality Industry. Join us on the Africa Hospitality Investment Forum podcast as we dive into the latest episode featuring Paul Bridger, CEO of Rove Hotels, and Mark Dunford, CEO of Knight Frank. Learn about Rove Hotels, an affordable lifestyle brand bringing quality design and service without compromising on price. Explore the potential for affordable lifestyle in Africa, the demand for leisure properties, and Rove Hotels' expansion plans on the continent. Don't miss this insightful discussion on the hospitality and airport real estate sectors. Tune in now!


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Episode 73: Hala Matar Choufany, President Middle East & Africa, HVS Dubai

Investing in the African Hospitality Industry: Challenges and Opportunities Are you looking to invest in the hospitality industry? Have you considered Africa as a potential market? In a recent podcast episode, Halla Matar Choufany, President of HVS in Middle East, Africa, and Asia, shared her insights on the challenges and opportunities in the African hospitality industry. Choufany highlighted the diverse markets in Africa, each at different stages of development. However, she sees potential in conducting feasibility studies to identify sustainable schemes that tie into the bigger picture of tourism infrastructure. Connectivity, financing, safety, and mindset are some of the challenges facing the African market, but changing the mindset around the difficulties of doing business in Africa could lead to finding solutions. Despite the economic slowdown, there is a migration of money into the Middle East and Africa, making it a good time to invest in Africa as the cost to acquire certain assets is lower compared to other markets. Private equity firms are already showing interest in the African market, and Choufany believes that as more transactions and investments take place, lenders will follow suit. Instead of building new hotels, Choufany suggests converting and renovating existing assets in Africa, which requires less capital investment and can potentially bring newer and renovated products to the market. She also sees potential for unique and smaller hospitality offerings, such as lodges and local home accommodations. The conversation also touched on the importance of market research and having the right team and advisors in place to make successful investments in the hospitality industry. So, if you're considering investing in the African hospitality industry, be sure to do your research, understand the market, and have the right team in place to make it a success.


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Episode 72 : Wytze Van Den Berg, Vice President EMEA BWH Hotel Group®

Best Western's Strategic Approach to Growth and Expansion in Africa and Beyond Best Western Hotel Group's recent acquisition of World Hotels and expansion into the luxury market is a reflection of their CEO's global growth strategy. With a goal of having 80 hotels in Africa by 2026, Best Western is actively working with existing hoteliers and owners to rebrand and expand their footprint on the continent. Wytze Van Den Berg, the Vice President EMEA, explains how Best Western has integrated the World Hotels team into their own, adding experienced professionals in the upper upscale and luxury segments to their team. Best Western will continue to use all of their brand names for consumer marketing purposes, but for B2B sales, they will reach out to clients as BWH Hotels. In addition to growth and expansion, Wytze also highlights the importance of cost savings and competitiveness in the industry. Rising labor, energy, and construction costs make it increasingly important to collectively source materials for construction and invest in technology to make distribution more economic. Operational cost savings through combined buying power also play a crucial role. Best Western's strategic approach to growth and expansion in Africa and beyond is a reflection of their commitment to offering a wide range of options to keep customers loyal while remaining competitive in the current market. As the industry continues to evolve, Best Western is positioning itself for continued success and growth.


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Episode 71: Stephane Sebah, VP Development GTAF & East Africa, Louvre Hotels

Welcome to the AHIF podcast featuring Stephan Sebah, VP of Development at Golden Tulip, as we delve into Africa's hospitality investment landscape. Gain valuable insights from his 20 years in the financial market, specializing in analysis, risk management, and investment strategies. Discover how his expertise seamlessly transitions into the hospitality industry, bridging the gap between investors and the sector. Stephan shares exciting updates about Golden Tulip, currently operating 11 hotels with 900 rooms across East Africa and the West Coast. Explore their ambitious growth plans, including four upcoming hotel constructions and discussions for potential partnerships in the pipeline. With a focus on local sourcing, sustainability, and empowering local communities, Golden Tulip is shaping the future of hospitality in Africa. Join us for an engaging discussion at AHIF, where we'll dive deep into topics like regional sourcing, sustainable practices, and the economic impact of the hospitality sector. Don't miss this opportunity to connect with industry leaders, explore investment opportunities, and be a part of Africa's thriving hospitality landscape. #AHIF #GoldenTulip #HospitalityInvestment #AfricanDevelopment #SustainableTourism


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Episode 70: Trevor Ward, Principal, W Hospitality Group Podcast



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Episode 69: Jameel Verjee, Founder & CEO, CityBlue Hotels



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Ep67: Dan Fenton, Global Tourism Director & Bernadine Galliver, Vice President Tourism Advisory - JLL

Listen to Dan & Bernadine as they deep dive into explaining the features and relevance of the 'Tourism Readiness Report' published by WTTC & JLL. The report asseses what makes a city ready for sustainable Travel & Tourism growth. Find out how the report can serve as a useful index for the private sector especially investment firms.


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Episode 67: Rishabh Thapar, Director at HVS Middle East and Africa

Rishabh Thapar, Director at HVS Middle East and Africa, specializes in hotel realty development in emerging markets. With 15 years of experience across operations, development, pre-opening, and consulting, he has worked in diverse hotel markets in over 30 countries. He has undertaken individual and portfolio valuations, operator searches and management contract negotiations, market studies, strategic and transaction advisory for some of the leading hotel companies. Listen to Rishab in this insightful podcast as he talks about the emerging trends of conservation & climate awareness in the African hospitality sector. Hie gives an indepth analysis on how hotel chains have hotel chains have shifted their focus in favor of engaging the local community. He also highlights key leisure investment opportunities in East & South Africa.