The Second Annual Hospitality Roundtable is right around the corner, taking place on December 7-8, 2015 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. This is an exciting event for hospitality professionals, where they can meet and discuss issues they face on a daily basis in an open forum.
3G Direct Pay’s very own Eran Feinstein will be holding a panel and speaking at the event about online payments and fraud prevention in the hospitality industry.
In honor of this event and our participation in it, we sat down with Meelis Kuuskler, CEO of Hospitality Design Partnership (HDP), to get his views on the event and his expectations for the coming year.
1. The event is turning 2! What makes you enthusiastic about it? What do you love about it?
When we launched Hospitality Roundtable in 2014, I could never have foreseen that we would be back here again bringing together such an extensive and diverse community, with international and domestic stakeholders and the Hospitality Association Tanzania as our co-organizer, and with a new year of marvelous collaboration and success. I am so excited by the enthusiasm, expertise and energy displayed this year by HRT participants. Without them, there would be no event, as they are what makes HRT the truly unique conference that it is. It is the response of the industry professionals that keeps my team motivated and enthusiastic, and it’s all the learning that we, at HDP, get to do through our delegates and speakers that makes us love the event.
2. How do you think this event contributes to the hospitality industry in the region?
The event is one of a few forums that empowers hospitality professionals to come together to learn from one another, share ideas and experiences, and merge international perspectives with local realities and solutions. The event is helping to mobilize a diverse set of stakeholders in the hospitality industry and beyond. It’s an event that has a direct impact on industry growth, as it fosters new and profitable business relationships amongst hospitality stakeholders and creates new links between the hospitality private sector, its service and supply partners, and governmental and non-governmental counterparts.
3. What are your predictions for the travel industry’s growth in the region? What trends should we expect?
We cannot make future predictions without considering past trends. Africa tourism numbers grew only 2% in 2014. Furthermore, in 2014, Africa received only 5% of international tourist arrivals, while the largest markets were limited to Europe, Asia and the Pacific. To compete with these markets, and ensure positive trends in the upcoming years, the industry requires the right regulatory environment. In Tanzania in particular, we at HDP are hoping that alongside the new administration, we will see new developments in terms of a more enabling business environment – an environment that will promote sustainable growth for the industry and the country. We will need to see more progressive policies on visas, taxation, the human resource base, wildlife protection, etc. Additionally, Tanzania will need tackle issues of property rights, development cost, and safety and security in order to actualize positive change within the industry.
We expect to see continued growth in the ecotourism niche, which has been gaining appeal amongst international and domestic tourists and hospitality brands. Furthermore, we anticipate that, assuming continued political stability, we will see increases in business travel alongside the growth of the manufacturing and oil and gas industries. Additionally, we anticipate increased entry of international brands, in the years to come.
4. What are your hopes for the travel industry in 2016?
In general, I would like the natural beauty and wonder of the East African landscapes and culture to shine through international media, and the awareness of this part of the world to move beyond Ebola and security fears. To do that, we will need to build an industry than can, with consistency, surpass the expectations of our travelers.
This year’s Hospitality Roundtable is expected to bring more than 300 attendees, including international hotel investors, local operators, government officials and industry experts from around the world. It offers a supportive environment for professionals in the hospitality industry to meet and learn from each other’s experiences and best practices.
If you are interested in attending and have not already registered, you can do so here.
If you are planning to attend the event, and would like to arrange a meeting with 3G Direct Pay, please contact us.