Rezidor’s CEO Hails Inaugural AviaDev Conference that Will Discuss Issues Facing Travel in Africa

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Wolfgang M. Neumann The Rezidor Hotel Group President &CEO

The CEO of one of the world’s leading hotel chains has welcomed the launch of AviaDev Africa – the inaugural conference to determine future air connectivity – and called for even closer cooperationbetween the hotel and airline industries.

WolfgangM. Neumann, President and CEO of The Rezidor Hotel Group, will be participating at the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (‘AHIF’), on the panel discussing tourism infrastructure in Africa. AHIF, the premier hotel investment conference, which runs parallel with AviaDev Africa, will be taking place on 4-6 October in Kigali, Rwanda. Itbrings together top-levelinternational investors, business leaders, industry experts, government ministers and officials, from around the globe.

AviaDev visitors will be able to meet and network with 30 airlines, 40 airports and 500-plus delegates in 1,000 meetings.

The two conferences will provide a platform for airports, airlines, governments and tourism authorities to plan future air connectivity in Africa and to discuss those plans with the hospitality industry. They will also be able to discuss the main issues confronting economic growth in the region that have been recently compounded by the threat of terrorism and the outbreak of Ebola.


Matthew Weihs, Bench Events Bench Events Managing Director

Matthew Weihs, Bench Events Managing Director,said: “Hosting these two co-ordinated events provides a unique opportunity for everyone involved in the aviation and hotel industries. We have some exceptional speakers, as well as plenty of opportunities for networking and forming mutually beneficial partnerships.”

Both conferences have been organised by Bench events. They take place at a time when data produced by the International Air Transport Association (‘IATA’)has predicted strong growth for Africa,which will include seven of the top ten fastest growing aviation markets.

Wolfgang M. Neumannsaid: “The success of airlines and hotels are inextricably linked. The two industrieshave worked closely together for decades and it’s important that this dialogue is maintained. Wekeep a close eye on what’s happening with new routes and flights as these are ultimately a reflection of consumer demand.”

Neumann said that Rezidor hasseen a surge in growth in Africa “more than anywhere else in the world,” and added: “Scheduling a new airline route development conference alongside the Africa Hotel Investment Forum is a smart move and bound to attract more decision makers to shape the future of travel in Africa, and facilitate a meaningful discussion on the issues and opportunities in the region.”

Bench Events has outlined three key areas that could help the continent’s aviation and tourism industries achieve their full potential, in the face of Africa’s broad economic challenges which include falling commodity prices, slowing consumer consumption and lower growth.

Reducing aviation fuel taxes

Industry insiders say the fuel tax, set by governments in Africa, is too high and is stifling economic growth. Costs are being passed on to passengers, keeping travel numbers low.

Matthew Weihssaid: “Air fuel in Africa can cost up to 2.5 times the world average. The low oil price has undoubtedly assisted the growth of air transport worldwide and many airlines have enjoyed a good 2015 and 2016 but aviation is not a money-spinner. So surely now is the time for more enlightened taxation policies including a reduction in taxes on fuel to help aviation and hence commerce flourish in Africa.”

Resolving airline revenue repatriation

In June, IATA called on four African governments – Nigeria,Sudan, Egypt and Angola – to ensure airlines are able to repatriate revenues owed to them. The concern is that a shortage of dollars, because of a fall-off in oil revenues, will make airlines increasingly nervous about retrieving funds owed to them, resulting in route closures.Matthew said: “There’s no easy solution to this issue, but it could have catastrophic consequences for aviation markets and set them back many years.’

Developing a single African passport

This would offer visa-free access to passport holders from the 54 member states in The African Union. The aim is to have the passport fully implemented by 2020. The first recipients would be heads of state, government ministers and permanent representatives.

Behramjee Ghadially, Senior Manager Route Network Planning, Arik Air, who will be at AviaDev, concluded: ‘Without investment in infrastructure and hotel beds, there is no need for air services. AviaDev will bring together these two communities for the benefit of Africa.”

AHIFand AviaDev take place at the Radisson Blu Hotel & Convention Centre in Kigali from 4-6 October 2016.  Full details, including the programme and speaker line-up can be found at



Bench Events has a long track record of delivering the leading hotel investment events across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.  Jonathan Worsley, Chairman of Bench Events is one of the founders of the highly successful International Hotel Investment Forum in Berlin, now in its twentieth year.  In 2005, he was responsible for launching the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference in Dubai and in 2008 the Russia & CIS Hotel Investment Conference followed by Central Asia and Turkey Investment Hotel Conference.  In 2011, with industry backing, Bench Events opened the Africa Hotel Investment Forum which has been held in Casablanca, Nairobi, Addis Ababa and this year to be held in both Lomé, Togo and Kigali, Rwanda.  Bench Events addressed a gap in the market in 2014 with the successful launch of the Global Restaurant Investment Forum in Dubai followed by the 2015 edition of the Mediterranean Resort & Hotel Real Estate Forum in Madrid.  More recently it has moved into the aviation development space with the launch of the AviaDev Conference.  It also partners with the British Hospitality Association on the annual British Hospitality & Tourism Summit held in London.  Bench Events has recently announced a joint venture partnership with Arturo Rosa on the South American Hotel Investment Conference (SAHIC) for Latin America.

Bench Events is an industry platform for growth, networking and thought leadership around the globe.

Sponsors of AHIF Rwanda are:

Host Partners: Rwanda Development Board; Rwanda Convention Bureau, Remarkable Rwanda; Platinum Sponsors: AccorHotels, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Grant Thornton, Hilton Worldwide, Marriott International; Gold Sponsors: African Export Import Bank, Areen Hospitality Design, Best Western Hotels & Resorts, Colliers International, France 24, France Kitchen, Horwath HTL, Hotel Partners Africa, Hotelier Interiors, HVS, Hyatt, Insignia, JLL, Kempinski, KFW DEG, Kinza Yapi, Louvre Hotels Group, Movenpick Hotels & Resorts, Onlime, Starwood Hotels and Resorts International, STR, Swiss Education Group, Wyndham Worldwide

For further information and high resolution images, please visit or contact:

Sophie Luis +44 (0) 7961 145 787,

David Tarsh +44 (0) 20 7602 5262,

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