Haile Gebrselassie won two Olympic gold medals at 10,000 metres and four world championships at the same distance. He also won major titles at all distances from 1,500 metres to the marathon and during his career he broke 27 world records. He is widely considered as one of the greatest distance runners of all time.
Although he is still a keen runner, with a daily gruelling schedule, he is also a prolific business man. Haile is the owner of three resorts in Ethiopia and an organic coffee farm. He is also the exclusive distributor of Hyundai in Ethiopia and the organiser of ‘The Great Run Ethiopia’, which attracted over 40,000 runners from around the world last year. Additionally, he is the owner of a real estate company, whose holdings include a cinema dedicated to showing Ethiopian films.
At the AHIF conference he will be interviewed on his life and times as a sportsman and how this has aided him in business and his thoughts on Ethiopia’s potential as a tourism destination.
“We are delighted to be able to welcome the world and Olympic champion Haile Gebrselassie as a speaker at our conference. Gebrselassie is a name synonymous with excellence on the athletics field and it is always fascinating to hear how a sportsperson’s motivation, dedication and vision enable them to transition to business. To actually have the opportunity to hear the journey and commitments he has made in his lifetime will be an honour. When you visit Addis Ababa it is obvious by the numerous billboards with his face on them that he holds great sway with the local communities so to hear more of his thoughts on the future of the tourism industry will be very interesting”, said Matthew Weihs, Managing Director of AHIF – Bench Events.
However, Ethiopia is not the only subject of the conference entitled “Reaching New Heights”. The event will focus on the geopolitical and economic climate across the whole continent and the latest developments in the hotel sector. Big issues such as the importance of conserving Africa’s tourism assets and connecting each of the African countries through decent, new infrastructure will be discussed too. The feasibility of investing successfully in Africa in general and in hospitality specifically will be explored in a series of panel discussions led by a group of experts on each topic.
Other speakers are drawn from the ranks of government, hotel chains, banks and a range of prominent consultants.