The Vision Conference has been one the key highlights of The Hotel Show 2017 with a strong list of key speakers.

Yesterday morning a packed conference facility heard differing views on the importance of second tier cities and their development, which is one of the top expansion opportunities in the hospitality sector.

The final session of the morning was Why second tier city development is one of the top expansion opportunities

Speakers were:
Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa , chief executive officer, FEDHASA
Philippe Baretaud , SVP head of development, Africa & Indian Ocean, Accor Hotels
Kamil Abdul Karrim, managing director, Pam Golding Tourism & Hospitality Consulting

Chairman was Martin Kubler, pictured above, flown in from Dubai to moderate the all three days of the conference.

Delegates were told that secondary city development is taking off in Africa, especially South Africa where Baretaud told one questioner from the audience, that there was no problem sourcing major prodcuts in South Africa.

"It's not the same for all African countries currently though," he said. "In some African nationas the difference in tax on imported material can actually add up to 2 million euros."

The panel was asked whether it was secondary city's viability that led to its choice for new hotel developments or whether the development drove the boosted economy of the city.

Karrim admitted there was no single answer but again referred to a project in Vryburg, South Africa and he added that he had spoken to several developers.

"When developers are constructing a mall, the air above it is free - and that makes hotel building more viable and potentially more profitable," he said.

Concluding the session Karrim said no one should be put off by competition. "I always give the example of Audi - the motor manufacturer," he said.

"The fact that Jaguar, Mercedes and BMW exist, does not stop it from building a luxury car. Hotel operators who can compete and offer better will succeed because people move around from brand to brand, just like cars."

The Vision Conference continues today and all sessions earn CPD professional development credits.