AHIC Hotel Investment Briefing in Jeddah Highlights Development as Critical for Hospitality Industry Success
Hoteliers in Jeddah upbeat ahead of Arabian Hotel Investment Conference, 25-27 April, Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai
Dubai, UAE -- Hoteliers in Jeddah and the Holy Cities attending this year's Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) highlighted the government's efforts in diversifying the economy by investing in large-scale development projects in efforts to boost the hospitality industry.
In a panel discussion, delegates discussed the large-scale projects underway in the region and what that meant for investment in the tourism sector. The projects include King Abdulaziz Airport, King Abdullah Economic City and the Haramain High Speed Rail, which will link the Holy Cities of Medina and Mecca as it passes through the new City, the new Airport and Jeddah.
Abdellah Essonni, Chief Hospitality Officer, Maad International Co, pointed out that the Maad Hospitality Towers, with its 11,000 rooms will be delivered in phases starting at the end of 2017. "This project, along with a dozen other mega-developments across the Kingdom, are a living testament to the government and the people's will to break the economy's dependency on oil," he said.
"The World Travel & Tourism Council foresees the total contribution of travel and tourism to Saudi Arabia's GDP will reach close to 10 percent from its current seven percent, and we at Maad International are proud to be allowed to play a small role in these diversification efforts."
Hala Matar Choufany, President Middle East & Africa, HVS, welcomed the government's drive to build the new developments, as well as infrastructure, adding, "Now is the time when I would encourage the government to review its visa policies to facilitate the employment of more people as the demand for manpower grows ever bigger to support the mixed-use developments underway. Improving the system would provide substantial growth in the hospitality sector."
Master developer of the Mayasem project in Jeddah, Shamayel United Development Company, in studying the need for family entertainment as part of its overall masterplan, Usamah Al Senan, its Chief Executive Officer, called for new hotels in the city to explore stronger propositions for family leisure with dedicated resorts. "I would urge smart hotel operators to partner and promote different types of entertainment options in the city to further enhance the visitor experience."
The lively discussion was aided in its assessment by the thorough presentation of Ismail AlKamal, Director of AlKamal International on the opportunities and challenges facing hospitality construction in Saudi Arabia.
"Being in the hotel construction industry, the AHIC regional briefing was a great opportunity to gain insight on the actual indicators of hotel supply versus demand in the local market," he said.
"The information provided was extremely valuable to us and will definitely assist us in planning for the years ahead. In addition, the vibrant discussion between operators, investors and developers at the briefing highlighted the challenges faced by each and where the opportunities are in the market.
"I'm really looking forward to attending the conference in Dubai next month, to expand on the themes we talked about during the briefing and exchange ideas with other leaders in the industry, Ismail concluded.
The full programme for AHIC 2017 is available here.
AHIC 2017 will bring together more than 700 hotel owners, investors, developers, operators, consultants and experts from professional services to debate the hospitality investment climate against a backdrop of global catalysts for change and the macroeconomic environment.
The conference will feature panel sessions entitled: The MacroEconomic Outlook for Middle East Hospitality; Do You Need An International Brand?; An A-Z of Reflagging Your Hotel; The Investment Climate Warms Up to the Mid-Market; and Concepts for the GCC.
Sessions specifically targeted at hospitality investors will tackle issues such as white label operations, asset management, alternative models of investment, how to exit a contract, overseas acquisitions, working with master developers and achieving ROI on F&B.
Photo caption: Richard Thompson, Editorial Director, MEED, leads a panel discussion at the AHIC briefing in Jeddah; from left: Hala Matar Choufany, President Middle East & Africa, HVS; Abdellah Essonni, Chief Hospitality Officer, Maad International Co.; Ismail AlKamal, Director, Al Kamal International; and Usamah Al Senan, Chief Executive Officer, Shamayel.
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About AHIC 2018
AHIC, now in its 14th year, is the annual gathering for the Middle East"s hospitality investment community organised by global hotel investment event organiser Bench Events in partnership with MEED Events. AHIC creates a knowledge and networking platform for global and regional investors of all backgrounds, offering essential insights to investing in hotels, showcasing regional and international hospitality investment opportunities and facilitating direct connections with hospitality industry stakeholders. AHIC 2018 will be held in a purpose-built AHIC Village on the beach of the Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah, UAE, from 17 April to 19 April 2018 in partnership with Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA). Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, AHIC 2018 will be co-hosted by its founding patron, His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Airports, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman and CEO of Emirates Airline and Group, whose continued support of the industry and AHIC has been critical to the region"s tourism growth.
AHIC 2018 Sponsors
AHIC 2018 is hosted by Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority. Sponsors include: Al Marjan Island, Hilton and The Rezidor Hotel Group as Platinum Sponsors; AccorHotels, Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB), Dur Hospitality, Emaar Hospitality Group, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), IWG (Insignia Worldwide Group), Marriott International; The Moroccan Agency for Tourism Development – SMIT and Wyndham Hotel Group as Emerald Sponsors; and Action Hotels, Colliers International, Louvre Hotels Group, Melia Hotels International, STR, Time Hotels and Roya International as Gold Sponsors.
About Bench Events
Global event organiser Bench Events has a long track record of delivering multiple premium hotel investment conferences and forums across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America. Market leading annual conferences include the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) in Dubai, now in its 14th year, the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) the new Asia Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference (AHTIC), The Summit in London and the Latin American Hotel & Tourism Investment Conferences (SAHIC). Bench Events" extensive portfolio also includes the Global Restaurant Investment Forum (GRIF) in Dubai and AviaDev, designed to promote the future air connectivity in Africa. Bench Events" mission is enabling prosperity by facilitating growth, networking, and thought leadership in the hospitality industry worldwide. www.benchevents.com
MEED is a remarkable senior management media brand, that encompasses subscription to the MEED Business Review publication and website, www.meed.com, as well as organising the MEED Quality Awards for Projects, AHIC and Innovation Live! MEED also works with clients on bespoke content, events, broadcast and digital offerings. MEED also has two high-value content businesses, MEED Projects and MEED Insight. MEED Projects is the Middle East's premium project tracking database and MEED Insight offers tailored research and in-depth analysis. Established in 1957, MEED, has been integral to delivering business information and news, intelligence and analysis on the Middle East economies and activities ever since. www.meed.com
About Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA)
The Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) was established in May 2011 under the government of Ras Al Khaimah. In order to achieve target growth of one million visitors by the end of 2018, the authority aims to develop the emirate"s tourism infrastructure and establish Ras Al Khaimah as a world-class destination for leisure and business travel, creating sustainable investment opportunities and enhancing the quality of life for its residents. In order to achieve its goals, the RAKTDA has a government mandate to license, regulate and monitor the emirate"s tourism and hospitality industry.