Daily Archives: March 12, 2017

Africa Theme Park Stakeholders To Gain From ‘DEAL 2017’: International Expo Consults

The African stakeholders of the theme park industry will stand to benefit from the largest show in the amusement industry – DEAL 2017 [www.DEALmiddleeastshow.com], as per International Expo Consults, the organisers of the show.

With people patronizing theme parks across Africa and the growth of the amusement sector in the region, shows like DEAL can help the stakeholders of the amusement and leisure industry to come under one roof and discover the best kept secrets of the industry.

Tourism in Africa is booming as reports which state that in 2014, 65.3 million international tourists visited the continent – around 200,000 more than in 2013.

The numbers were meagre in 1990’s where the recorded number was 17.4 million. The tourism sector has leaped and boomed in size thanks to the infrastructure projects undertaken by government entities. According to the World Tourism Organization [UNWTO], Africa’s strong performance in 2014 makes it one of the world’s fastest-growing tourist destinations, second only to Southeast Asia.

Amusement parks in Africa offer more than fun as they induce historical and educational attractions to engage the whole family in unlimited immersive fun. Parks in Africa are known to inculcate fun mixed with learning. Most of the rides include looping rollercoaster rides, bumper cars, and exciting wildlife centered shows to historical attractions which form the base enabling a plethora of entertainment activities for all age groups.

“DEAL 2017 is at the right juncture as it will help African investors to catapult their business to the next area of growth. DEAL has been supporting the industry and its stakeholders, year on year and has grown from strength to strength.

This is the only show in the Middle East and Africa region to provide stakeholders with several billion dollar opportunities.

International Expo Consults, the organizers of the DEAL show are set to welcome African exhibitors and trade visitors to one of the colossal shows in the amusement vertical in the MENA Region,” said Sharif Rahman, CEO, IEC.

The Dubai Entertainment Amusement and Leisure [DEAL] show has shaped the region’s entertainment industry for the past two decades and it has brought together great minds and their world class innovations all under one umbrella.

DEAL has led the amusement and entertainment space during this period and the testimony to this is the fact that exhibitors at DEAL 2016 have signed multi-million dollar contracts in just 3 days. Foraying into the 23rd edition, DEAL 2017 expects to witness an even larger gathering of key players and visitors in the amusement industry from Middle East, US, Mediterranean, Asian, and especially African countries.

DEAL, since its inception in 1995 has developed into an unparalleled platform that gathers exhibitors, buyers, and professionals from the international amusement and entertainment industry. DEAL is the region’s most anticipated and leading attraction for global and local stakeholders in the amusement and entertainment industries. The show is slated to be held from 27th – 29th March 2017 at Halls 1, 2, 3 & 4 at the iconic Dubai World Trade Centre.

“Developments in the region with regards to entertainment and leisure are seen to be believed and the outcomes are very encouraging. Entertainment and leisure projects within the MENA region have boosted the confidence of the amusement and leisure industry manifold.

The growth of theme parks has spurred towards the organising of events such as DEAL within this region and bringing the industry experts and stakeholders together. ‘DEAL 2017’ is definitely set to don the mantle of the entertainment launch pad for amusement operators in this region. Like before we are all arms open to welcome delegates from Africa to our show,” concluded Sharif.

Ethiopia: Hilton Addis Ababa Hotel Up for Sale

Hilton Addis, Ethiopia’s first, and for a long time only, international hotel franchise, will be up for privatisation in no less than three years when the existing management contract comes to an end, sources disclosed to Fortune.

A decision made by the Prime Minister’s Office last week has been communicated to the board of directors of the hotel, chaired by Yinager Dessie [PhD] to prepare the property for auction, the sources disclosed.

Yinager, chief of the National Planning Commission, under the rank of a minister, declined to comment. The decision to sell the property followed a meeting between the board and an executive of Hilton Worldwide, based in South Africa, held on Tuesday, March 2, 2017 sources disclosed.

Hilton Worldwide has a 50-year management contract with the Ethiopian government to run the Hilton Addis property, first opened in 1969 by Emperor Haile Selassie. The contract, to be renewed every decade, gives Hilton Worldwide a 20pc share of revenues, while also restricting it from operating another property in the country under the Hilton brand.

Hilton is a global hospitality company with close to 17 brands, including Hilton Hotels & Resorts, which operates in Ethiopia. Designed to resemble the ancient Lalibela Church, Hilton Addis has remained an iconic property to the nation and a landmark to Addis Abeba, until the entrance to the scene of Sheraton Addis, in February 1998.

Lying on a vast tract of land estimated to cover over 60,000sqm plot, the hotel has a 12-storey main building – alongside a Garden Wing extension added to it in 1987 -making it the property with the largest number of rooms, over 400, in the capital.

However, the property has been in need of major renovations, including to the electromechanical workings of the hotel, and the interior of the rooms. About 10 years ago, experts from Hilton Worldwide estimated the renovation costs and proposed close to 280 million dollars, although it has not received government approval yet.

Despite its prime location on Menelik II Avenue, lush parking lots, swimming pool with a natural spring water, and gym frequented by many in the city, authorities regulating the hospitality industry have downgraded the property to three stars.

“The renovations were the major reason for the hotel being downgraded, among other factors,” said Fisseha Asres, who has worked in different management positions at Hilton. “Some service problems caused by management and the rush made by the assessors in grading the hotel were some of the other reasons. I still believe that Hilton Addis is better than some hotels that are graded as four stars” he added.

“I am surprised Hilton Worldwide did not downgrade it,” said a hotel expert with a vast experience in the hotel industry.

Other developers in the country have been eyeing management contracts with Hilton Worldwide, such as Samuel Tafesse’s Sunshine Group for its property in Hawassa, and Tsemex Hotels & Business Plc of Rezene Ayalew, for a property in Addis Abeba.

Currently, Sunshine is working on the design work of Hilton Hawassa after it signed a management deal with Hilton Worldwide two years ago. Sunshine and Hilton Worldwide signed an agreement to open Hilton Hawassa, subsequent to Hilton Worldwide getting government permission to use the brand outside of Addis in Hawassa and Bahir Dar.

Tsemex received a loan amounting close to 10 million dollars from the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation[IFC] to jointly develop a property in Addis with Intercontinental Hotels Group [IHG]. However, a dispute with a local hotel bearing the name Crown has led the company into bitter legal battle, which is now under review by a constitutional inquiry board at the House of Federation, people familiar with the case told Fortune.

There have been possible talks between Hilton Worldwide and Tsemex. The company appealed to the Prime Minister Office for Hilton to be released of its contractual commitments not to operate other properties, sources disclosed. However, Rezene strongly denied, when approached by Fortune, both the existence of talks with Hilton Worldwide and appealing to the PM Office.

The Prime Minister’s Office, which had declined a request from the board of directors a few years ago to consider the property for privatisation, opted to put the property on the auction bloc this time around, these sources disclosed. The executive who visited Addis last week has expressed to Ethiopian authorities Hilton Worldwide’s interest to be the main bidder when the property is put up for sale in few years, sources disclosed.

[By Fasika Tadesse, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia]