International soccer star Didier Drogba has helped his birthplace, Côte d’Ivoire, strike gold by helping to collect MOUs for a total of $15 billion in commitments to back tourism projects in the west African country.
The breakthrough comes ahead of the UNWTO Forum for Africa, which will take place in Abidjan next week (February 20-22) and the influential Forum de l’Investissement Hotelier Africain (FIHA), which takes place in Abidjan next month (March 23 – 25). FIHA is known for its ability to link up the new investors with developers, consultants, contractors, hoteliers and political leaders.
The former Chelsea striker – and now UN world tourism ambassador – was part of a successful global push to promote the rising success and attractiveness of Côte d’Ivoire’s tourist economy. The country boasts a GDP growth rate of about 8% in 2019 and, as a destination, it’s in third place in Sub-Saharan Africa, with 2 million international visitors, behind South Africa and Zimbabwe, ahead of Uganda, Botswana, Kenya or Mauritius (according to UNWTO 2018 data).
Matthew Weihs, Managing Director, Bench Events, which organises FIHA, said: “This is an extraordinary and impressive effort by Côte d’Ivoire; and it makes this year’s Forum particularly interesting because the funding commitments are in place and the task now is to make projects happen.” Last year’s successful FIHA in Marrakech attracted 300 delegates from 28 countries.
Under the banner, Sublime Côte d’Ivoire, Didier Drogba was a key player in a team of top Ivorian business and political leaders, as well as showbusiness figures, who took a roadshow to Dubai and Hamburg. They returned with more than 15 billion dollars of funding commitments for a variety of tourism projects, from hotels to resorts and coastline development. All the backers have been invited to attend FIHA.
Philippe Doizelet, the Managing Partner of Horwath HTL, the world’s largest and most experienced hospitality consultants, has been guiding Côte d’Ivoire’s efforts. He said: “It’s a blank page that the industry can write on in the most exciting way. Much has to be built – hotels alongside cultural centres and conference facilities, among other things.
The amazing coastline offers great ‘bleisure’ (a mix of business and leisure) opportunities. Beyond Abidjan; Boulay island, Bassam and Jacqueville are currently the most promising locations.” He sees the greatest potential in ‘mixed-use’ projects, combining leisure, office and retail units with hospitality, in particular, branded 2-star & 3-star hotels and extended stay apartments.
Leading the country’s ambition to make tourism one of the main pillars of the economy, is Tourism Minister Siandou Fofana. Described by Philippe Doizelet as “visionary and deeply committed. He works hard to bring people together and attracts the best experts.”
Bench Events, Managing Director, Matthew Weihs concluded: “FIHA and its affiliated event, the Africa Hotel Investment Forum, are central to driving investments in the regional hotel and mixed-use projects. The events connect key international and regional stakeholders, private and institutional investors to the hotel developers and operators that are fuelling the growth of the hotel industry across the continent. The projects that are promoted and funded at FIHA drive investments in tourism, stimulate economic growth in regional markets, create jobs and encourage much-needed infrastructure.”
- Uneasy calm at WondaWorld Estates as wildlife officers move in to remove tigers
- Renowned American producer Timbaland reacts to Black Sherif’s Kwaku The Traveller
- Video of trainer playing with Cheddar’s tigers pops up
- Who is Kelvin Taylor? – Yvonne Nelson quizzes
- 2 Nigerians arrested for attempting to kidnap a 5-year-old child
- Cheddar’s Tigers are well secured – Forestry Commission
- ‘My 2 tigers are to help boost tourism’ – Freedom Jacob Caesar
- Ghana records $4.5bn remittances in 2021, places 2nd in Sub-Saharan Africa – World Bank
- I took tramadol for confidence to approach my crush; I nearly died – 24-year-old man
- What the law says about keeping wild animals like tigers as pets in Ghana
‘A minister gave Cheddar licence to import his tigers’ – Barker-Vormawor claims
Euroget’s hospitals; the story so far
Livestream: Newsfile discusses impacting-influence topics for a better Ghana
Average lending rate rises to 21.6% in April 2022 – BoG
Mobile Money transactions register 9.99% year-on-year growth in 4-months of 2022
VRA bares teeth at Sentuo Steel over pollution
Court orders lawyer of Josephine Panyin to file her witness statement
Ghana’s public debt hits ¢391bn as of quarter 1, 2022
Mariupol: Russia declares complete victory at Azovstal plant
Monkeypox: 80 cases confirmed in 11 countries, says WHO
Kwesi Arthur – the Akan rapper inspired by dreams
Nigeria’s facial scars: The last generation
‘Put our taxes to good use’ – Agbogbloshie traders urge AMA to desilt clogged drains
Deliver textbooks for basic schools before end of second semester – GNAT President tells goverment
Ministry of Education signs contract with Publishers Association to print textbooks for basic schools