Robust UAE hotel performance drives investor demand
28.04.2012: Arabian Hotel Investment Conference opens today to debate regional investment landscape
Arabian Hotel Investment Conference opens today to debate regional investment landscape
Prominent industry experts will head to the annual Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) 2012, which opens its doors today (April 28) at the Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, to discuss the investment climate in the Middle East post Arab Spring.
Stewart Coggans, Executive Vice President, Middle East & Africa at Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels commented “The tourism and hospitality sectors in the GCC have improved. This is evidenced by increased tourism arrivals and stronger hotel performances throughout 2011 especially in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Robust market fundamentals coupled with political and economic stability appeal to investors, this correlates with increased investor demand and appreciative pricing of assets.”
The conference starts with an introductory speech by Nenad Pacek, Founder and President of Global Success Advisers Ltd., titled ‘Macro-Economic Overview: the Middle East After the Arab Spring’, which will set the tone for the rest of the conference, which will be dominated by the state of the regional hotel investment climate.
Pacek will address the business, economic and political outlook for the Middle East and North Africa in 2012 and 2013 in the wake of the political turmoil that has seized parts of the region since Tunisian Mohamed Bouazizi’s anti-government protest sparked a wave of pan-Arab reaction in late 2010.
Indeed according to the latest STR figures year on year to 31st March, hotel occupancy is up 8.9%, average daily rates up 7.2% and RevPAR is up 16.8%, underscoring the region’s buoyant hotel sector.
Jonathan Worsley, Chairman & CEO Bench Events, Board Member STR Global said: “We have an exciting, comprehensive schedule of events lined-up for this year’s conference tailored to provide valuable information for hotel investors on broad issues such as the Arab Spring.
“With Dubai currently topping the world in hotel occupancy rates, and as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) posts record-high levels of foreign direct investment (FDI) with more than $10 billion (AED36.7 billion) pouring into the country from overseas, it provides the ideal location to highlight the benefits of a thriving hospitality industry.”
Held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman Dubai Airports and Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline & Group, organiser MEED Events in partnership with Bench Events has put together a three-day programme designed to explore the investment landscape and outlook for the Middle East’s burgeoning travel and tourism industry.
More than 80 speakers and over 500 local and international delegates representing more than 40 countries will be attending the three-day conference which runs until April 30.
The event includes notable forums such as ‘The Investment Climate in the New Arab World’, ‘Developing Destinations’ and the ‘Finance Forum’, which explore issues from the changing geopolitical dynamics and risk analysis to what renders a project attractive for investors and developers.
In addition, the conference is hosting a session specific to the Saudi Arabian hotel sector – two geographical neighbours who are poles apart in terms of their tourism propositions – to address the challenges and prospects they face.
What’s more, this year’s AHIC is hosting the ‘A Focus on Investment Opportunities Outside of the Middle East Forum’, which among other demographics considers the European market as one worth tapping, as the sustained Euro zone crisis restricts European investment capabilities.
In the wake of the geo-political tumult that has shaken up the political make-up of the Middle East, major operators are positive about the hotel development opportunities. Developers are pushing ahead with a range of project plans. According to STR Global’s recent Construction Pipeline Report, the MENA hotel development pipeline constitutes 494 hotels, comprising a total inventory of 133,705 rooms.
Despite the upheaval of the past 12-months, the Middle East offers some of the world’s best tourism and hotel investment opportunities. The high level of political stability combined with government initiatives to attract tourism investment in the oil-exporting states of the Gulf, provides developers and investors with some very exciting opportunities.
“But importantly, the region does not simply represent a homogenous market. It encompasses a large number of diverse markets, each offering different investment opportunities – which will be explored extensively at this year’s AHIC,” added Worsley.
The confirmed list of speaker includes: Mark Wynne-Smith, Global CEO, Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels; Alex Kyriakidis, President & Managing Director MEA, Marriott International; Rudi Jagersbacher, President, Middle East & Africa, Hilton Worldwide; Jan Smits, CEO, Asia, Middle East & Africa, IHG; Bashar Al Natoor, Director, Corporates, Fitch Ratings; Iyad Duwaji, Chairman, West Asia Capital; Fergal Harris, Head of Real Estate Middle East, Standard & Chartered; Olivier Ebner, Senior Manager at Project and Structured Finance, National Bank of Abu Dhabi; Alexis Waller, Partner Clyde & Co; Olivier Granet, Director of Development Middle East, ACCOR; Kurt Ritter, CEO & President, The Rezidor Hotel Group; Samih Sawiris, Chairman, Orascom Development Holdings; Lo’ai B. Bataineh, DGM, Investment & Development, Head of Investment Management Group, Oman Arab Bank SAOC; Kevin Wallace, President and CEO of Jebel Ali International Hotels; Nilay Orzral, Director of Real Estate Operations, Aldar Properties PJSC; Sanjay Tanna, Director – Business Development and Investments, Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company.
About MEED Events
MEED's comprehensive portfolio of events has been developed over the last decade to cover the region's key business issues and sectors. From large-scale summits and conferences to unique one-to-one networking opportunities, MEED Events provide high-profile speakers, relevant and critical business content and the latest news from across the GCC.
About Bench Events
Bench Events is one of the founders and organisers of several well-known conferences for the hotel investment industry including Berlin (IHIF), Dubai (AHIC), Istanbul (CATHIC), Moscow (RHIC) and the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF).
About the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference
AHIC attracts over 500 industry leaders annually from over 40 countries, including many of the most influential names within the Middle East’s hotel investment community, as both speakers and attendees. Details of AHIC can be found on www.arabianconference.com
Platinum sponsors: Carlson & The Rezidor Hotel Group, IHG, Jumeirah Group, Wyndham Worldwide.
Emerald sponsors: Corinthia Hotels, Hilton Worldwide, Jebel Ali International Hotels, Moroccan Agency For Tourism Development - SMIT, Saudi Commission For Tourism & Antiquities – SCTA, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide.
Gold sponsors: Accor, AECOM, Argentina National Institute of Tourism Promotion, Clyde & Co, Fairmont Raffles Hotels International, Golden Tulip MENA, Fonatur National Trust for Tourism Development, Horwath HTL, WATG, Hyatt International, IFA Hotel Investments, Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels, Marriott International, MENA Hotels and Resorts, Orient-Express Hotels, Premier Inn, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Investments and Development Authority, Rixos Hotels, STR Global, Turnkey Ventures.
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