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Andre Walters breaks down the latest Hospitality Confidence Index and finds that Africa is making some serious waves

Africans know that their continent is full of great promise and beauty, and according to the latest research publications, much of the rest of the world is also beginning to realise that this is true! For example, the second edition of the Hospitality Confidence Index highlights a thriving tourism sector in Africa.

DMG Events and Moore Global have just released their latest Hospitality Confidence Index which is now in its second year and it serves as a vital resource for industry stakeholders, offering valuable insights into emerging trends and perceptions about Africa as a touring destination and investment opportunities.

This second edition of the Hospitality Confidence Index highlights a thriving tourism sector in Africa. With responses from 537 participants across 30 African countries, this year’s Index not only marks a significant expansion, but it also provides an impressive and greater, more comprehensive understanding of the continent’s hospitality landscape.

This latest research is a strong indication that Africa is now emerging as one of the world’s fastest-growing economic regions. Clearly, our hospitality sector is standing poised for exponential growth!

Margaret Peters, the Event Manager for the Hotel & Hospitality Expo Africa organisation at DMG Events, South Africa, is described as a leading authority on tourism and other African potential. She is quoted as saying: “The latest Confidence Index paints a vivid picture of a vibrant, positive industry in which the majority, (at 80%!), of hotel, bar and restaurant operators, along with industry suppliers are looking to the future with growing confidence and optimism.

“Many businesses have recovered from the pandemic and are entering a new growth- phase that encompasses greater technological development, increased access to financing and a focus on nurturing industry talent, whereby 55% of respondents now have systems to foster employee satisfaction and loyalty.”

And there is something exciting to look forward to: in the run-up to the seventh edition of the Hotel & Hospitality Expo Africa in June, the African Hospitality Confidence Index 2024 will share top insights into the trends that are shaping the continent’s hospitality sector.

A key factor among all the growing trends is the implementation of Artificial Intelligence (AI), where almost one in every four businesses are reportedly using AI tools to enhance their operations. AI offers a wave of innovation and it is transforming how businesses are operating and it is also easing revenue management and security, among its other operational efficiencies.

“Rising interest in AI is part of a wider acceleration in digitisation. It started to emerge during the pandemic, with early adopters seeing great results,” adds Martin Takacs, the Global Sector Leader at Hotel and Leisure, Moore Global.

The words, ‘business and leisure’ have lead us to the combinative word, ‘Bleisure’. An overwhelming 92% of respondents say ‘Bleisure’ accounts for a significant amount of customers. ‘Bleisure’ tourists have become increasingly popular and it is fuelled by a mix of pent-up travel demand post-pandemic and growing remote working patterns.

The greater emphasis on a work-life balance is predicted to set, and to shape, the tourism and hospitality industry even further over the next decade, with the value of the global Bleisure market more than doubling from the 2022 levels to $731.4 billion, globally, in 2032. This represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.9%.

Moore’s Takacs also says: “This growth will lead to an increasingly complex operating environment, particularly as digital transformation and modern measures can boost the bottom line and improve guest experiences.

“The industry across Africa remains ambitious, optimistic, and determined to overcome its challenges and embrace opportunities.”

The 2024 edition of the Hotel & Hospitality Expo Africa, that will take place from 11-13 June 2024 at the Sandton Convention Centre, will further unite the industry to grow, network, and thrive.

The Confidence Index provides a deeper understanding of emerging trends for those operators that are directly involved in the various industries. To return to Margaret Peters, she also adds that “the intention is for the industry to have a point of reference of their peers”. The implication is therefore that this is ideal through the emergence of AI, alongside a more intense focus on Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors, amidst the search for customers in a more competitive market.

Some 89% of the respondents are said to believe ESG action is vital for the long-term success and viability of the sector, but that there is still work to be done to see this taking shape. Those that have implemented ESG measures, such as green or renewable energy as well as increased recycling, acknowledge the business benefits. In fact, 57% of the respondents have reported a positive impact on customer satisfaction and loyalty. This is not only very encouraging but also quite exciting news for the African continent.

Furthermore, the Confidence Index is believed to provide the most comprehensive, authoritative, and up-to-date snapshot of the African hospitality industry. In its second year this new annual research endeavour, put together by DMG & Kaoun and Moore Global, captures the evolving perceptions of the industry over the past few years.

Responses grew from 315 respondents in 2023 to 537 (that is +70%!), with the number of African countries represented almost doubling from 17 in 2022, to 30 in 2023. The Confidence Index has also added suppliers to the participating respondents for the first time, enabling this crucial segment of the industry to share its views.

Bottom-line! The great news is that the African continent is forecast to be one of the world’s fastest-growing economic region this year, second only to Asia, and it also has the world’s youngest and fastest growing population; set to reach 2.5 billion by 2050. A growing middle-class and the emergence of mega-cities, hosting more than 10 million people, are predicted—all of which will drive the demand for greater hospitality. This will not only increase business opportunities here, but it will raise the African continent to the levels it deserves in our world today. Hooooray!

Let’s have some more information about DMG Events & Kaoun. Who are they and what do they do?

DMG Events have joined together with KAOUN International, the international event organising company of the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) to establish a joint venture company, now called DMG & KAOUN Ltd. This collaboration is aimed at organising market-leading international events in high-growth geographies that are fuelled by customer-demand.

DMG & KAOUN Ltd. are strategically leveraging their international infrastructure and existing brands, such as GULFOOD Global (the world’s largest F&B-event hosted in Dubai) and The Hotel Show, also hosted in Dubai, to create a synergistic portfolio of food, hotel, and hospitality events. This approach is designed to optimize the value proposition for customers, while driving business growth in these and other key sectors.

And now more info about ‘Moore Global’:

Moore is a global accounting, audit, and advisory network, consisting of over 34 000 people, across more than 228 independent firms and 112 countries. Moore Global is ranked by the International Accounting Bulletin as the 11th largest accountancy network in the world.

The Moore Global Hotel and Leisure Sector group comprises network member firms with well-established track records of providing business advice to hotel, leisure, and tourism owners and operators. An understanding of key market drivers helps clients to add value to their businesses and to gain a competitive edge.

The experts in this sector specialise in industry-specific strategic and development advisories; working closely with owners, developers, financiers, operators, and other industry stakeholders. They produce quarterly global reports on key trends and performance indicators in the sector; based on an analysis of select leading international-branded hotel companies.

The future is looking good—especially also in an era where job creation is a key factor in our economic and social growth picture.

Andre Walters is a veteran broadcaster.

By Editor