Is the conference well-received by the Nigerian hospitality industry?
As you are already aware, Nigeria is a country that is fully dependent on oil. So, a lot of people embrace anything that has to do with oil. The hospitality and tourism sector is largely under developed, and there is very little knowledge or maybe, I should say, very little interest in understanding what benefit this kind of conference will bring to the growth of the sector. So, to answer your question, everybody we have met personally and explained the benefits of the conference has been very pleased with the conference.
Can you measure the success of the first edition?
The last edition was well attended even though it was just sectorial. Moreover, it is the success of last year’s mini- conference that has made us to go this big and international
Expectations of the 2015 edition?
NHTIC 2015 will be quite interesting. This year, we are having many investors coming from Europe, America and China. About 40 international investors have already indicated interest to participate. Also, Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission is partnering with us this year and will be bringing to the conference The One Stop Investment Centre (OSIC) to help prospective investors to obtain all approvals and permits needed to operate any tourism or hospitality outfit. They will also be bringing to the fore, all incentives available to investors in the sector. We will be having an organisation from the US called KOFA International with the ability to grant long term loans at single digit to investors. So, 2015 edition will be great.
Again we will be having about seven international speakers who will be addressing various issues and challenges in the sector. They will also be sharing their experiences with regard to the growth in the sector. Therefore, it is a conference no stakeholder in the sector should avoid.
Sponsorship and target audience?
Obviously, we need as many sponsors and participants as possible. Though those that have confirmed attendance have been very impressive, we are still far from our expectation. You see, this conference is not just for hoteliers, but also for other stakeholders like the banks, architect, lawyers, suppliers, government officials and prospective investors. It will be a good forum for banks to understand the sector and key into the wide range of opportunities in the sector. So far, we have just a few sponsors two from Nigeria and one from Portugal. We are expecting more. Again, the conference will accommodate 1,000 participants.
Stakeholders keying into the conference?
NHTIC is a conference no serious minded stakeholder in the sector should miss. It is the largest and most prestigious gathering of senior hotel managers and investment executives that brings together over 1,000 national and international delegates. The conference has remained the premiere event for the industry to meet and do deals over three days.