A Busy Month of Visits for Matthew Weihs

A busy couple of weeks in early July has led to two very significant trips for Bench Events.  The first one was my visit to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where I had chance to rekindle some previous relationships and make some new ones with the local launch of the African Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) there.  With AHIF due to take place in Addis Ababa in September it was a critical time to promote this event to the local market.  A planned press conference on Tuesday 1st July at the Sheraton Addis Ababa saw over 70 people in attendance. This included government dignitaries; private sector and media; Tewolde Gebremariam - CEO of Ethiopian Airlines and Board Chairman of the newly-established Ethiopian Tourism Organisation; Benyam Bisrat President of the Hotel Associations; and Tadessa Endaylalu Director General of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

Ethiopia has placed tourism development as a top priority for the country so to have coordinated my visit with the launch of the Ethiopian Tourism Organisation was well timed.  There was a real buzz about the city and I was welcomed warmly, with pretty much every person I met stating “the time was right” for AHIF to come to Ethiopia.  The number of developments that I saw around the city where clear indications that this was the case.  A new cross rail splitting the city is being developed and many new hotel developments are coming into the market.  With less than 900 internationally branded hotel rooms at present, Ethiopia seemed ripe to be our hosts.


Selected Press Coverage:

AHIF Programme Is Reaching New Heights

Destination report: Ethiopia

The second trip was to Madrid.  For a while now many of our clients have been asking for more representation of the Southern European markets during IHIF.  With so much activity happening in Spain and neighbouring Mediterranean countries it seemed an opportune moment to explore the potential.  Looking deeper into the real estate of this market, focusing on resorts, mixed use projects and wider tourism masterplans Bench Events, Questex Media and Study Let 04 (our local Spanish partner) are pleased to announce that in 2015 we’ll be adding a new event to our portfolio – MR&H.  The Mediterranean Resort & Hotel Real Estate Forum.  This was an exciting trip to confirm the venue, meet locals sponsors and Government and gain the local support that is so essential to making such a launch a success.

For more details on MR&H please contact me directly here.

Matthew Weihs.