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WALDORF ASTORIA RAS AL KHAIMAH

Explore AHIC 2018 AND DISCOVER RAS AL KHAIMAH


AHIC SPECIAL EDITION APRIL 2018


WALDORF ASTORIA RAS AL KHAIMAH

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BERKELEY SQUARE HOUSE, BERKELEY SQUARE, LONDON W1J 6BD, UNITED KINGDOM Tel +44 (0) 20 3432 4351 Fax+44 (0) 20 7925 2552

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HEAD OF BROADCAST Phil Blizzard VIDEO CREW Sarah Hollyer Anjjelo San Buenaventura IT SYSTEMS ADMINISTRATOR George Cooke

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Ras Al Khaimah ready for Arabian Hotel Investment Conference Modern leaders, forwardthinking investors and bold new hoteliers will take centre-stage at annual hotel investment event which kicks off today (Tuesday 17 April) at the purpose-built AHIC Village, in the grounds of the fivestar Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah, UAE. The unmissable Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) 2018 programme also features global hotel CEOs representing IHG, Louvre Hotels, 25Hours and Standard International, as well as regional leaders from Majid Al Futtaim, Al Habtoor Group, ORASCOM and Action Hotels. Spanning three days, the 14th edition of AHIC will address the critical issues of innovation, leadership, destination development and industry disruptors amid the macroeconomic outlook from the investors’ perspective. The event will welcome 700 hotel investors, major developers, leading financiers, and C-level hotel executives to enjoy content, networking and events, live-onstage interviews with some of the world’s most respected businessmen and hotel leaders and the first AHIC Global Project Showcase, featuring hospitality investment opportunities from around the world. Held in partnership with Ras Al

AHIC SPECIAL EDITION APRIL 2018

Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA), AHIC 2018 is set to inaugurated by His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, who will give a keynote opening speech. His Highness will reveal further insights into the Strategy for Ras Al Khaimah, one of the world’s fastest growing tourism destinations, and share anecdotes that will inspire fellow leaders at AHIC. Haitham Mattar, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority said: “We are looking forward to showcasing Al Marjan Island at AHIC 2018 and to taking part in the dynamic conference programme. Tourism is one of Ras Al Khaimah’s most important economic sectors and is considered a key engine for continued GDP growth and job creation. Our decision to support AHIC 2018 comes at a pivotal time in our three-year Destination 2019 Tourism Strategy, which aims to attract one million visitors by the end of 2018.

To accommodate this growth in visitors, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority is providing potential investors with a range of innovative opportunities to develop stand-out properties across the emirate. We have considerable opportunities within several development projects, including Al Marjan Island, which has been earmarked for an additional 16 hotels by 2025.” His Highness’ welcome will be followed by a keynote interview with one of the Middle East’s most respected businessmen, His Excellency Mohamed Alabbar, Founder & Chairman, Emaar Properties, who has not only played a critical role in establishing Dubai’s reputation as a tourism hotspot but is also renowned for his entrepreneurial outlook and passion for digital disruption. Alabbar said: “With its natural setting, diverse attractions and a fast-evolving hospitality infrastructure, Ras Al Khaimah is setting new milestones in the industry, and evolving as one of the


FEATURE

AHIC is a networking platform for global and regional investors of all backgrounds, offering essential insights to investing in hotels, showcasing regional and international hospitality investment opportunities.

popular tourism hubs in the region. AHIC 2018 will put the spotlight on the emirate and drive inward investments, and underline the diversity of tourism offerings that our nation presents to the world. Through the Conference, which discusses future trends, we can collectively contribute to strengthening the prospects of the tourism and hospitality sectors, and unlock their true potential.”

showcasing regional and international hospitality investment opportunities and facilitating direct connections with hospitality industry stakeholders.

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.

I’ve no doubt the contributions from His Highness Sheikh Saud and His Excellency Mohamed Alabbar will set the scene for highly relevant debate and discussion around the all-important topics of leadership and innovation as they impact the global hospitality investment industry.”

AHIC creates a knowledge and networking platform for global and regional investors of all backgrounds, offering essential insights to investing in hotels,

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Jonathan Worsley, Chairman of Bench Events and Co-Founder of AHIC, said: “We are delighted and proud to open AHIC 2018 with insights from two such respected business leaders.

www.arabianconference.com


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MIDDLE EAST GALA CEREMONY RAS AL KHAIMAH, UAE 19 APRIL 2018

EUROPE GALA CEREMONY ATHENS GREECE 30 JUNE 2018

GRAND FINAL GALA CEREMONY LISBON PORTUGAL 1 DECEMBER 2018

ASIA & AUSTRALASIA GALA CEREMONY HONG KONG 3 SEPTEMBER 2018

WORLD SPA AWARDS MALDIVES 27 OCTOBER 2018

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AMERICA ONY UIL R BER 2018

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CARIBBEAN & NORTH AMERICA GALA CEREMONY JAMAICA 22 SEPTEMBER 2018

AFRICA & INDIAN OCEAN GALA CEREMONY DURBAN SOUTH AFRICA 6 OCTOBER 2018

WORLD SKI AWARDS KITZBÜHEL AUSTRIA 16-18 NOVEMBER 2018

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Reality of hotel investment risks to come under spotlight AHIC 2018 will offer a showcase of regional and global hospitality projects with live investment opportunities and provide more networking events than ever before

The programme has been shaped following the AHIC Advisory Board, held at the Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management in Dubai, at which 37 of the Middle East’s leading hotel owners, developers, and operators and consultants gathered to debate issues focused around the key pillars of hotel investment, innovation and inspiration.

Jonathan Worsley, chairman of Bench Events, organisers of AHIC, said: “Our annual Advisory Board meeting is an essential component of the programming for AHIC, and we are very grateful for the input of all members. Every year, the discussion is different, and this debate was dominated by a clear focus on the costs of development versus the reality of returns.”

The board revealed a collective desire to build hotels for ROI, with land, development and construction costs all coming under scrutiny. Participants look to better understand value engineering, the use of renewable energy sources and sustainable construction for decreased costs – all topics that will be featured in the AHIC 2018 programme.

He added: “There was a thirst for knowledge around issues such as risk adjustment and returns, supply and security, facilitation of foreign investment, ownership models and even exit strategies for distressed assets.”

AHIC SPECIAL EDITION APRIL 2018

Worsley continued: “Our Advisory Board also discussed new investment vehicles; innovative finance models; cryptocurrencies and digital

payments; the impact of the co-living and working movement on the hotel model; how to maximise the religious tourism market in KSA; and where and what is the new mid-market. These are the hard-hitting topics we plan to address at AHIC 2018.” Considering the latest Middle East hotel pipeline and performance data, presented to the board by Philip Wooller, area director Middle East, STR, owners and operators alike aired their concerns about the continuing imbalance between supply and demand and the inevitable consequence of declining RevPAR. Currently, the Middle East is one of only two regions globally, the other being South America, in which supply is outstripping demand, with supply increasing at a rate of


FEATURE

HAITHAM MATTAR

4.9 per cent versus demand at 3.2 per cent. The board also revealed a desire for insights from other business sectors and for the first time, AHIC 2018 will feature a ‘Spotlight on Innovation’ series with speakers from outside the hospitality industry taking to the stage.

their next hospitality venture. As Ras Al Khaimah draws closer to reaching its one million visitors target by the end of 2018 and charts a path towards attracting 2.9 million visitors by 2025, the need for quality hotel rooms has never been so important.”

In addition to three days of engaging content, AHIC 2018 will present its first Project Showcase, highlighting regional and international hotel investment opportunities.

He added: “To accommodate this growth in visitors, we are providing potential investors a range of innovative opportunities to develop stand out properties across the emirate,” Mattar said, adding that these would be showcased at AHIC.”

Haitham Mattar, chief executive, RAKTDA, said: “These strong performance indicators, which are expected to continue throughout the last quarter of 2017 and beyond, clearly outline the potential for investors in looking at Ras Al Khaimah for

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RAKTDA is working closely with the AHIC team to create the custom-built AHIC Village, in partnership with renowned designer Harlequin Arena Group

“These strong performance indicators... clearly outline the potential for investors in looking at Ras Al Khaimah for their next hospitality venture.” Haitham Mattar


Waldorf astoria ras al Khaimah A hidden haven in the peaceful Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah, Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah is an ideal destination for an unforgettable getaway. The resort offers signature attentive service, nine stylish restaurants and lounges, and elegant accommodation with pristine views of the Arabian shoreline. http://www.virtualworldinternet.com/portfolio/waldorfastoria-ras-al-khaimah


  

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Alan Stocker Waldorf Astoria Ras al Khaimah The Waldorf Astoria Ras al Khaimah is hosting both the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) and the Middle East Gala Ceremony, World Travel Awards. Ahead of these two prestigious events Phil Blizzard spoke with Alan Stocker, General Manager of the hotel Breaking Travel News: Last year you won the award for Ras al Khaimah Leading Resort, what does that mean to you and the hotel? Alan Stocker: It's fantastic. It's all about putting the name on a pedestal and I think when she start to get these awards people started to take note and you're being highlighted accordingly. It's a good feeling. BTN: How do you see these awards in terms of marketing what you have here, which is a very luxurious property? AS: We are quite discreet so we try not to overly plan, but I think for the team in particular it's really important. I think for their hard work and their dedication it's a nice payoff to see the awards coming through and so we spend a lot of time with the team to appreciate their hard work and their dedication, yes. BTN: It's a busy time for you with two major events taking place at the hotel, but before we go on to those, what has the first quarter of 2018 been like for you? AS: Super strong, so I

think our owners would be very happy that we've delivered so far. I think looking forward is well, the second quarter is also looking very strong. So in general, this is panning out to be after five years, we seem to be levelling out and quite consistent in terms of our business nowadays. BTN: What about your source markets? Do you find that they evolve, they change? How are they at the moment? AS: Little bit of change, so we saw a just little bit of the Russian market particularly last year. I think that was due to the change of flights going into some other areas of the region. There's also change in terms of visa, so the Russian market was certainly a pickup and that was excellent.

BTN: Coming on to events just, for example, at the side and front of the hotel some super cars there. This is something you do offer your guests, a motoring experience? AS We do, it's actually part of the Waldorf experience to have the driving experience. This happens periodically through the year, but beyond that we have the Super Cars Club that come up quite often and other clubs. We're quite blessed and I must say I've been on the doorstep quite often just videoing and photographing these vehicles because it's really stunning. In fact we had the highest number of cars any one time in the Arabian Peninsula which was 85 cars parked up on our doorstep.

BTN: What about the massive Chinese market? AS: Not so much for us, I think they tend to look at more of the iconic backdrops of the Burj and the Dubai skyscrapers. For us, we're a little bit more discreet in that respect and we haven't really pushed it, so very limited, if at all.

BTN: That's quite an achievement. Before we go to the corporate side of things, what other leisure type specials do you host and offer? AS: Well, recently, since the opening of the zip line up in Jebel Jais we've now packaged this in terms of a stay experience. A lot of our guests are coming through to go up into the

AHIC SPECIAL EDITION APRIL 2018

hills. As you know, recently, we won a Guinness Book of Records for the longest zip line in the world, where you're reaching speeds of a 120 to 150 kph at 1,600 meters above sea level. BTN: Looking at corporate events, we'll start off with the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC). You've created a village on the beach for this? How important is AHIC going to be to you? AS: Very important. I think it's been a true privilege to have this event come up. It's the first time after, I believe, 13 years of being in Dubai. A lot of pioneers have worked very hard to get us into the playing and, for us, now, to have it showcased on our property it's a great achievement. BTN: Attending will be investors and hotel leaders from major brands from across the world. How do you feel about hosting these important people from the industry? AS: A little daunting, I have to say, and in particularly with having World Travel Awards on the back of AHIC.


INTERVIEW

Because, it is not only the CEOs and the leaders in terms of business, but it's also leaders in terms of the hotels themselves. To have these events back to back, yes, it's a little bit off-putting, but a pride and joy to also have it here. BTN: Yes, the World Travel Awards are at the end of the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference. Again, leaders from the hotel industry across the Middle East coming to the Waldorf. A chance to showcase what you got as well? AS: It is not just for us at the Waldorf Astoria, but also for the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah. A lot of people maybe don't know much about this Emirate and so for the first time, I think we're trying to really put Ras Al Khaimah on the map and this is a great opportunity.

for that. Now, moving on from AHIC and the World Travel Awards to digital media. In this changing world and in particular that of hospitality how important is digital media in the way you position yourself, your market, your property. How are you using the aspects of social media? AS: As you say, it's really important nowadays, so much that we've actually extended our team recently in this respect. Whereas, before we would have just run it in terms of the marketing team looking through press and dabbling. Now we have a team of people who are really delving a lot more in terms of the opportunities and the links that we have out there.

BTN: When it comes to the World Travel Awards, what do you hope to achieve for the Waldorf Astoria and your team here? AS: Let's see, what comes out of the cooking book. It would be good to see something significant.

BTN: What are the challenges because social media is global isn't? You're going into countries like Russia where you do have guests and also China, a new market. How do you approach those countries in the perspective of digital and social media? AS: A lot more complicated. We do have an office that supports us in Russia, as an example. Otherwise, what we do is we really network through the Hilton system. We have offices all over the world and wherever we need to reach out they will support and assist us to make sure we have that leverage. We also use our other hotels specifically. With Waldorf and Conrad as luxury properties we try to network as best we can through them.

BTN: All fingers crossed

BTN: Let's look a few

BTN: Ras Al Khaimah has a very strong dynamic tourism board. How do they assist you? AS: They've been incredible and it's really ongoing and consistent. Particularly Haitham Matter of the CEO, he's very dynamic, he's everywhere. I don't know when he sleeps because the amount of opportunities he's bringing into this region is really significant.

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things specific to your property here in Ras Al Khaimah. What would you say your key offerings are? AS: The key thing, for me, is the beauty of this palatial architectural building. It stands out on the horizon not only from an architectural perspective, but from an interior perspective. The design and the time and attention that's been put into really fine detail is there. We just need to ensure we're matching it from a service perspective so that when you see it and anticipate we deliver. For us, yes, it's to make sure our team is up there, but in terms of the offer internally the rooms are stunning, there's a large variety of rooms. We've got the various suites and so on, in different areas of the lookouts. You can have a golf view or sea view depends on the size of the room you're looking for, depends on how big you are as a family group and so on. We match them with restaurants and bars. There's 10 on offer here - ranging from Umi, the Japanese restaurant, to Lexington,

to Maison, the Arabic restaurant. BTN: With your wide range of offerings do you get much business from the local community? AS: We do and we're hoping for more. Recently, we launched within the immediate area ferry service both for our guests to move around the area a little bit, but also for residents living in the area to come across. It's a complementary experience to come through and we were doing a lot more that way now to ensure they are aware of us. BTN: Thank you very much indeed for joining us here in Breaking Travel News and good luck with the forthcoming World Travel Awards. AS: Thank you so much. Appreciate your time, thanks.


Ras Al Khaimah plays host to World Travel Awards Middle East Gala Ceremony 2018 World Travel Awards (WTA) celebrates its 2018 Middle East Gala Ceremony in Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates (UAE) on 19th April 2018.

The red-carpet ceremony heralds the opening leg of the World Travel Awards Grand Tour 2018 – a search for the finest travel and tourism organisations in the world. The Grand Tour also marks World Travel Awards’ 25th anniversary of honouring excellence in the international hospitality industry. It will be World Travel Awards first visit to Ras Al Khaimah, the most northerly of the UAE’s seven emirates. The burgeoning tourism hotspot boasts an enviable climate, traditional culture, sandy beaches and a wealth of activities. Hospitality leaders from across the region will gather for World Travel Awards Middle East Gala Ceremony at the Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah to see who among them has been voted the best in the business. Graham Cooke, founder, World Travel Awards, said: “It will be an absolute pleasure to visit Ras Al Khaimah for the very first time. Fringed by the majestic Al Hajar Mountains amid swathes of terracotta coloured dunes, Ras Al Khaimah promises an authentic Arabian experience."

AHIC SPECIAL EDITION APRIL 2018

“WTA has maintained its position as the industry leader for the past 25 years, consistently proving its value as the global benchmark for excellence in the travel, tourism and hospitality business,” added Cooke. “This year will be extra special as we will be celebrating our 25th anniversary so there is a lot to look forward to, starting with our Middle East Gala Ceremony 2018 in partnership with Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority.” As part of the Grand Tour 2018, WTA is also hosting ceremonies in Athens (Greece), Jamaica, Hong Kong, Guayaquil (Ecuador), Durban (South Africa), with the winners progressing to the Grand Final in Lisbon (Portugal). A natural complement to the bright lights and skyscrapers of Dubai just 45 minutes’ drive away, Ras al Khaimah offers authentic and nature-based adventure and culture, with year-round sunshine, spectacular landscapes, 64km of sandy beaches, enticing desert adventures, adventure sports activities in the mountains and firstclass places to stay.


FEATURE

Fringed by the majestic Al Hajar Mountains amid swathes of terracotta coloured dunes, Ras Al Khaimah promises an authentic Arabian experience

breakingtravelnews.com

Haitham Mattar, CEO, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA), said: “It is a great honour to welcome the prestigious World Travel Awards gala dinner for the first time to Ras Al Khaimah, an event that brings together travel industry leaders worldwide. Choosing Ras Al Khaimah to be the host of this event is testimony of our growing appeal within the MICE sector and we look forward to the guests experiencing our authentic Arabian hospitality and diverse tourism offer.” Find out more about the event here,

www.worldtravelawards.com/event/middleeast-2018


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RAS AL KHAIMAH

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THE TOP 10 THINGS TO SEE AND DO IN RAS AL KHAIMAH Tucked away away at the northern tip of the UAE lies the country’s most underrated emirate, Ras Al Khaimah.

Make no mistake: Ras Al Khaimah abounds in archaeological sites, historical structures and natural beauty – from mountains to deserts and pristine white-sand beaches.

You won’t find the gargantuan skyscrapers, shopping malls and bars that dominate Dubai and Abu Dhabi Factor in year-round sunshine, first but you will be struck by a cultural class resorts and friendly locals – and authenticity that is hard to find in the you have an up and coming UAE other emirates. holiday destination.

HE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF S AL KHAIMAH Located in the western part of Ras Al Khaimah city in a fort that was the residence of the ruling family until the early 1960s, The National Museum houses a collection of archaeological and ethnological artefacts. Visitors will learn about architecture, pearl diving, date agriculture, farming and fishing in the various galleries.

www.rakheritage.rak.ae/en/pages/rakmuseum .aspx

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SCALING THE HAJAR HE The spectacular Hajar Mountains in the eastern part of the emirate, were formed over 70 million years ago and stand nearly 2,000 metres above sea level. The mountain range oers breath-taking scenery and a welcome respite from the heat of the beach resorts, with temperatures around 10 degrees cooler

than sea level. For those who wish to spend the night under the stars, there are a number of established camping spots or, to really get into the Arabian spirit, why not camp Bedouin-style in some remote wadis? jebeljais.ae/about-jebel-jais/


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JUST DESERT


No visit to Ras Al Khaimah is complete without taking a trip into the desert – the true heart of Arabia. Virtually every tour operator offers a half or full day desert safari tour: aer dune driving you can have your hands henna’ed, then make like Lawrence of Arabia and ride a camel, before enjoying a desert sunset, Arabic barbecue and a bit of belly dancing.

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GET WET Seven tenths of the world is covered in water and as satirist Dave Barry once quipped: “Staying on top of the water is like standing outside the circus tent.” As enjoyable as activities above the water are, it’s what lies beneath that is of real interest – particularly in Ras Al Khaimah, arguably the finest emirate in the UAE for snorkelling, diving and exploring the marine life. Adrenaline junkies will also be in seventh heaven: jet-skiing, fly-boarding, wake-boarding, parasailing and banana boat rides are all on offer along the 64km coastline.


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JAZIRAT AL HAMRA FISHING VILLAGE This abandoned ďŹ shing village, just outside of Ras Al Khaimah, is one of the oldest and best preserved coastal villages in the UAE (with roots dating back to the 16th century) and serves as a reminder of life before the oil boom. One caveat: watch out for ghosts – some of the abandoned buildings are believed to be haunted.

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AL MARJAN ISLAND Al Marjan, a series of four connected man-made islands, is located in the west of Ras Al Khaimah. Extending a vast 4.5km into the sea, the island covers an area of 2.7 million square metres. With waterfront homes, quality hotels and resorts, marinas, private resident beaches, leisure, retail and recreational facilities, this ambitious development represents the direction in which RAK is headed. almarjanisland.com

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TEE TIME

Most visitors flock to Ras Al Khaimah to fly and flop but the underrated emirate is also a great destination for golfers, thanks its enviable climate and world class golf courses including Al Hamra Golf Club. Designed by renowned golf course architect, Peter Harradine, the course incorporates both open water lagoons and desert landscapes resulting in a stunning par 72 championship course – measuring 7,325 yards at full length. www.alhamragolf.com


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DISCOVER DHAYAH FORT


This 16th-century mud-brick fort was built in a strategic hilltop position facing the Gulf to defend the region from aî…&#x;ack by the British and was the last holdout, before eventually falling in December 1819. More recently it housed the royal family until 1964 when, following a very short period as a local prison, it opened to the general public as a place to celebrate Emirati history.

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ZIP LINING A world record-breaking zip line measuring 2.83km – equivalent to over 28 football pitches – and reaching speeds close to 150km per hour is the latest addition to Ras Al Khaimah’s claim to be the adventure capital of the Middle East. Via Ferrata – which means iron street/path in Italian – includes three courses along the rocky facades of Jebel Jais, aka the UAE’s highest mountain. www.jebeljais.ae/book-now/


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PARK LIFE Opened in the 1990s, Saqr Park is the largest public park in Ras Al Khaimah, and is known for its vast areas of greenery. It is the perfect spot for big kids and liî…&#x;le kids alike to relax and unwind featuring, as it does, green spaces, playgrounds and other facilities.


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Discover Ras Al Khaimah

www.discoverrasalkhaimah.co


NEWS

AHIC to welcome Ranulph Fiennes Organisers at the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference have announced the event will welcome the legendary Sir Ranulph Fiennes on Thursday 19 April.

The intrepid explorer completes the stellar line-up of speakers at the annual gathering for the world’s hospitality investment community. Described by the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s greatest living explorer, Fiennes is world famous for being the first person to reach both the North and South Poles by foot and for completing seven marathons on seven continents (including Antarctica) in seven days – soon after receiving emergency heart surgery. He is also the oldest Briton to conquer Mount Everest, having made it to the summit at the age of 65. With teamwork, determination, patience, discipline and creative thinking critical in both expeditions and business alike, his keynote speech is set to give the 700+

AHIC SPECIAL EDITION APRIL 2018

hotel investors, developers, financiers, and C-level hotel executives in attendance a unique perspective on the parallels of surviving the challenges of an expedition in nature and surviving the business world. The annual gathering for the Middle East’s hospitality investment community, 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. For registrations and more information, visit the official website

www.arabianconference.com


AHIC NEWS

AHIC Programme of events RAS AL KHAIMAH 17-19 April 2018.

DAY ONE 17 APRIL 2018 09:00 - 13:00 Ras Al Khaimah Experiences * Experience the world's longest zipline as you leap off Jebel Jais, the UAE's highest mountain. Certified by Guinness World Records, with 2.83km span of zipwire, equivalent to 28 soccer pitches, reaching speeds of 160km/h. * Join the amazing dune bashing and falconry experience as you journey through Ras Al Khaimah's desert landscape *Only for AHIC 2018 VIP Pass holders 14:30 - 15:00 The Disruptor’s Feast with Frits van Paasschen Most companies will wake up too late to disruption. Established interests, changeblindness, set ways of working make it nearly impossible for incumbents to survive. However, there are ways for leaders to improve their odds of success. Former CEO of Starwood

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and author of The Disruptor’s Feast challenges industry leaders. 15:00 - 15:40 Challengers of the Status Quo Business models are looking to upend the status quo and bring a certain, special type of mindset and approach to growth. Hear from the few challengers - how they bring change to their industry and what we can learn (or embrace). With Eric Fulwiler (moderator), Maha Abouelenein, Richard Fitzgerald, Ritesh Tilani. 15:40 - 16:00 The World in Flux - Risk Comes with Opportunity Big picture talk on the state of the global economic, regulatory and geopolitical landscape. Identifying key global trends, risk and opportunities that are overlooked. With Basim Al-Ahmadi. 16:00 - 16:30 A Live Audience with a Hacker – What is the threat to you and your brand? In an age where IoT is

integrated into the everyday life of the guests and hotel staff alike, it’s critical that Cybersecurity is on top of the priority list. The question you need to ask yourself is: do I feel safe in CyberSpace? What’s at risk, my money, my brand, or both? With Richard Neale and Simon Taylor. 16:30 - 16:50 Ferrari F1 Tips to Stay in Racing Shape Modern Leadership positions demands that you spend a large chunk of the year travelling around the globe. Take it from an expert who has trained and conditioned a World Champion F1 racer, there are better ways to do it With Mark Arnall. 16:50 - 17:20 Using Blockchain to circumvent the OTAs Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies are changing the way governments and financial entities are doing business. What change does it hold in store for hospitality and your investment? With Maksim Izmaylov.

17:20 - 17:40 Industry Opportunity: Property Crowdfunding In an environment where even the financing of a hospitality project can be disrupted, pioneers in alternative investments open the doors to new possibilities With Siddiq Farid andJake Wright 17:40 - 18:00 Disrupting the Marketing Model What the Hotel World Can Learn from Luxury Retail In a world where it is increasingly difficult to cut through the noise and foster customer loyalty, what can the hotel world learn from high-end retailers? With Thuy Tranthi Rieder. 18:00 - 18:20 Addressing the World 3 words at a time With Richard Lewis. 18:30 - 19:30 Networking Business Card Exchange Networking 19:00 - 21:00 AHIC OPENING RECEPTION


DAY TWO 18 APRIL 2018 08:45 - 09:15 Welcome Remarks With Haitham Mattar and Jonathan Worsley 09:15 - 09:30 Official opening by Conference Host and Patron His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi 09:30 - 10:00 A Conversation with His Excellency Mohamed Alabbar, Founder & Chairman, Emaar Properties keynote His Excellency Mohamed Alabbar and Stephen Sackur 10:00 - 10:25 Macroeconomic Overview: Unpicking the Big Picture It is a rapidly changing, complicated and interconnected world to do business in, what do you need to have on your business plan in the short, medium and long term. With Nenad Pacek.

10:25 - 10:45 The Macro Outlook Hear from some of the most sophisticated investors and owners in the region about their priorities and market sentiments. With Lynn Chouman, Samih Sawiris and Saad Audeh 10:45 - 11:05 Global CEO in the Hot Seat – Focus on the Future, Innovating the Business Model & the Product Offering IHG’s new CEO is shaking up both the corporate structure and the guest experience to make his company more competitive. What does this mean for IHG’s place in the industry? With Keith Barr and Stephen Sackur 11:05 - 11:35 Follow-on Q&A with Nenad Pacek in the One to One Networking Area 11:05 - 11:35 Morning Refreshments and Networking in Sponsors Showcase networking

AHIC SPECIAL EDITION APRIL 2018

11:35 - 12:00 Market Overview and Pipeline Review With Robin Rossmann 12:00 - 12:20 An update on the longterm Macro-trends impacting the Middle East Hospitality Market In an ever-changing market landscape, we take a deep dive into the trends and factors influencing our industry. With Dr Martin Berlin. 12:20 - 13:00 What do investors want from the operators? From an owner’s perspective times are changing. Throughout the region’s major cities there is increasing supply, declining rates and returns are being squeezed from all angles. Investors discuss with our moderator what they want to know from the operators and their views on the current operating environment. With Stephen Sackur, Yannis Anagnostakis, Alain Debare, Kees Hartzuiker and Jalil Mekouar.

12:50 - 13:30 Leaders in the Hot Seat What are operators doing to support their owners? How are they adjusting as the market matures and the region shifts from being developer led to operations focused? Asking the tough questions initiated by the preceding panel. With Stephen Sackur, Pascal Gauvin, Olivier Granet, Alex Kyriakidis and Simon Vincent. 13:30 - 14:30 LUNCH Networking 14:30 - 15:00 International Investment Opportunities Looking around the world for hotel and tourism investment opportunities. Where in the world is good for your money? Which markets are emerging hot spots for development? With Dirk Bakker, Fardan Ali Al Fardan, Imad Barrakad, Rahul Chaudhary and Ahmer Naushad


AHIC NEWS

14:15 - 14:45 Discussion RoomRefurbishing Hotels: Increasing Relevance and Revenues in a Challenging Market Refurbishing hotels can make a major impact on the value of an asset. How can owners take advantage of the opportunities posed by a smart refurbishment? With Marcos Cain, Alan Christie and Nathan Hones.

Arabia achieve? With Stephen Sackur, Yousif Al Eid, Carlos Khneisser, Elie Milky and Richard Thompson. 16:00 - 18:00 The Owners Intelligence Den With Devina Divecha.

15:00 - 15:30 Destination Development How is Ras Al Khaimah creating an investment and tourism proposition to make it competitive on the global stage?With Stephen Sackur, Abdullah Al Abdouli, Olivier Harnisch, Dr Reem Osman and Shaji Thomas.

16:00 - 16:20 Hotel Pipeline Deepdive Significant growth in supply is forecast for the coming years underpinned by government strategies, key events (Expo 2020 and World Cup 2022) and expectations of good returns. Providing a deep dive on supply growth in key markets across the GCC, using mapping technology to understand risks and opportunities. With Philip Wooller.

15:30 - 16:00 A Focus on Saudi Arabia The Market with arguably the most potential in the region has launched itself as open for investment from international money. Where are the gaps for investors? What is the government doing to help support incoming capital? What can Saudi

16:20 - 16:40 Case Study Bahrain Developing a diversified regional tourism destination – how are hospitality, entertainment, retail and leisure all coming together with tourism infrastructure? Where are the opportunities for investors? With Jerad Bachar.

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16:40 - 17:10 A focus on North Africa Presentation looking at Morocco followed by a discussion on the wider region, Egypt, Algeria and Tunisia With Devina Divecha, Feras Hasbini, Alban Mabille de Poncheville and Salim Mikram. 17:10 - 17:25 Adventure tourism Adventure tourism – looking at the untapped potential of this market. What are the key things that need to be in place to drive this segment? Where is the potential for investors? What are some success stories to learn from? With Luca Franco. 17:25 - 17:45 The Middle East: Risk, Resilience and Reward Evolving economic, regulatory and political trends shape the region. Despite the risks, there are plenty of opportunities across the region, from Saudi Arabia, UAE to Egypt. Can you use a mitigation strategy to capitalize on these opportunities? With Basim Al-Ahmadi

16:00 - 18:00 The Conversation Den With Terence Baker. 16:00 - 16:40 Agreements of the 21st Century What are the current factors in the GCC market that should lead the modern owner to choose Franchising or 3rd Party Management? What other realistic alternatives are there? With Vikram Loomba (moderator) and Louis Abboud, Joby Beretta, Panos Loupasis and Costas Verginis. 16:40 - 17:10 Branded Residences – Managing Expectations In an environment where branded residences can be misunderstood, what are the realities of the asset class and how can investors and owners realign their expectations to make more stable returns? With Tea Ros (moderator), Jerome Briet, Selim El Zein, Jaidev Menezes and Suma Venkatesh.


17:10 - 17:40 Asset Management The ultimate goal of both the operator and the owner is maintaining and optimising the value of the asset. Are operators and owners really focusing on the real benefits of Asset Management as a tool? With Rene Beil, Rabih Feghali, Harry Johnson, Naim Maadad and Amit Nayak. 19:00 - 21:00 AHIC EVENING RECEPTION Hosted by Marriott International networking

DAY THREE 19 April 2018 07:00 - 07:45 5km Running Tour of Al Marjan Island With Abdullah Al Abdouli. 08:00 - 08:45 Breakfast Briefing A detailed overview of hospitality projects in the region by Ed James, Director of Content, Meed Projects 08:45 - 09:00 Industry Opportunity Emiratization With Jonathan Worsley (moderator), Haitham Mattar, Olivier Harnisch 09:00 - 09:30 Finding Finance Where should you be looking for finance? What are the right questions to be asking to be sure you've got the right partners to make your project a success? With Alison Grinnell (moderator), Andrew Lindley, Alejandro Martin, Shane Moore and Cyril Piaia.

AHIC SPECIAL EDITION APRIL 2018

09:30 - 10:00 OTA and Rate Parity The Unconventional Truth- Do Hotel Direct Bookings Really Matter? Driving ADR in a Digital Era. What is the current stateof-affairs in a market where hotels are pushing direct booking, but are relying on distribution platforms that are becoming increasingly stronger. What can owners do to get the best of both worlds? With Filippo Sona (moderator),Maksim Izmaylov, Terry Kane and Charlie Osmond.

10:15 - 10:30 Industry Insight – Trendlines Survey Results Insights into the consumer. What do they want to from our industry and how can you apply this to your business model? With Gaurav Sinha.

10:00 - 10:15 CDO in the Hot Seat What are the key ingredients to doing the right deal? Where in the world holds the most opportunity from an operator’s perspective? What are your challenges? With Jonathan Worsley (moderator) and Elie Younes.

10:40 - 11:00 Global Perspective with Stephen Sackur Presenter HARDtalk, BBC – Focus on the Future; One Way One Belt One of the most valuable economy in the world is also one of the largest emerging markets for hospitality. How has Groupe du Louvre harnessed the power of its Chinese owners to overhaul their business model? With Stephen Sackur (moderator), Amine Moukarzel and PierreFrédéric Roulot.

10:30 - 10:40 CEO in the Hot Seat Tapping into opportunities overcoming challenges in the hospitality industry in KSA. With Lynn Chouman (moderator) and Dr Badr Al Badr.


AHIC NEWS

11:00 - 11:30 Discussion Room – Round table: Manchise – What are the benefits? Do I have to give up power over my asset and my investment? Do I have the ability to manage it myself? With Philippe Bijaoui, Elias Hayek, Patrick Smith and Filippo Sona 11:00 - 11:30 Coffee Break 11:30 - 12:00 Tapping into the Millennial Mindset, why investors need to broaden their thinking Generating revenue beyond the room, revolutionising the traditional hotel model and creating cool, covetable properties with enviable returns for owners. With Benoît-Etienne Domenget (moderator), Michael Bisordi, Olivier Harnisch, Amar Lalvani, María Zarraluqui

11:45 - 12:15 Discussion Room – Round table; Holy Cities As development in the Kingdom pushes forwards, the possibilities for progress grows. What is the current state of play? Where do you fit in? With Hassan Ahdab and Abdellah Essonni. 12:00 - 12:30 Collaborative Asset Management Moving from a revenue management to cost management market. How are owners and operators working together to maximise ROI? With Damien Rizzi (moderator), Khalid Anib, Mariano Faz, Zoltan Kali and François Kassab. 12:30 - 13:00 Discussion Room – Round table; VAT – Are we doing it right? In an environment that seems very unsure of how to proceed, how can you ensure your investment is operating according to legal obligations? With David Daly.

12:30 - 13:00 Focus on Value Engineering How can you build ROI into the foundations? The Hotel Model in the GCC has changed forever along with its status as an emerging market. Market maturity means that owners and investors need to develop with the end in mind. With Ismail Al Kamal (moderator) and Mohamed Awadalla, Hala Matar Choufany, David Daniels and Tarek M. Daouk.

13:30 - 14:30 Closing Keynote - Hear From The World’s Greatest Living Explorer The intrepid explorer, described by the Guinness Book of Records as the “World’s Greatest Living Explorer”, will round up the three days with a closing keynote speech set to give us a unique perspective on the parallels of surviving the challenges of an expedition in nature and surviving the business world. With Sir Ranulph Fiennes.

13:00 - 13:30 Acquiring the Next Generation An inside look at the modern approach to expansion and innovation. AccorHotels’ acquisition strategy is creating the travel industry it wants to see through its acquisitions of portfolios, brands and startups. With Stephen Sackur (moderator) and Gaurav Bhushan, Christoph Hoffmann, Gurjit Singh.

13:30 - 14:30 Lunch in the AHIC Village & Beach Bar 15:00 Departing for RAK Experiences

www.arabianconference.com

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Day of Disruption to kick off Ras al Khaimah event The Arabian Hotel Investment Conference will kick off with a Day of Disruption, designed to shake-up traditional ways of thinking and bring insight to the hospitality investment industry from forward thinkers operating in various sectors .

Taking place at the purpose-built AHIC Village in the grounds of the Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah, UAE, in partnership with Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, AHIC promises to harvest knowledge from outside of the hotel industry and challenge the status quo. Jonathan Worsley, chairman of Bench Events, organisers of AHIC, explained: “The hospitality industry is often criticised for not keeping ahead of trends or driving innovation. That’s because hotels are a rooms-based business model, offering bed and breakfast – something that will always be needed, as long as people continue to travel. There is little motivation, quite understandably, to change this.” He added: “However, as the hotel market in this region matures, competition increases, putting performance and profitability under pressure, so investors are quite rightly focusing on the future and carefully analysing the potential of current and future assets alike,” continued Worsley.

AHIC SPECIAL EDITION APRIL 2018

“Many of the hotel owners we speak with at AHIC invest in other industries as well and are keen to see how the hospitality industry will adopt new technologies and create alternative operating models. This is why we are kicking off AHIC 2018 with The Day of Disruption, which will bring together chief executives from some of the world’s most forward-thinking companies, such as Winding Tree, Vayner Media and TINT, to share their knowledge with the industry. “This will no doubt fuel the debate for the rest of AHIC, which will address business-critical issues including the macro economic outlook, global leadership, destination development, international investment opportunities, value engineering and asset management,” said Worsley. Headlining the Day of Disruption is Frits Dirk van Paasschen, author of The Disruptor’s Feast and former chief executive of Starwood Hotels & Resorts. According to van Paasschen, established interests, change-blindness and set ways of

“There is so much change still to come, and most of the industry is still asleep” FRITS Dirk van PaasschEN


FEATURE

FRITS DIRK VAN PAASSCHEN

working mean hotel brands will wake up too late to disruption, making it nearly impossible for incumbents to survive. “There is so much change still to come, and most of the industry is still asleep,” said Paasschen, who believes “lodging capacity in the space between traditional hotels and first-generation peer-to-peer accommodations” will be the major disruptor to the hospitality industry in 2018. In this highly-relevant kick-off to AHIC, van Paasschen will present his own thoughts – including those on how the hospitality industry can lead the way to a carbon-neutral future - and welcome other experts from outside of the industry to share their essential insights for hotel owners and operators. Speakers include Maksim Izmaylov, chief executive, Winding Tree, specialist in blockchain technology, who holds a similar view to van Paasschen.

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“There is no innovation in the hospitality industry, that’s the main problem. There are no and will be no new disruptors in the industry until we break the monopolistic grip on it,” said Izmaylov, who will present how blockchain can be used to circumvent OTAs. Partner of AHIC 2018, Haitham Mattar, chief executive, RAKTDA, said technology would be the biggest disruptor to the hospitality industry in 2018. “I am referring to technology that improves the customer experience, and tech that improves operator efficiency. The ultimate disruptors will be tech that achieves both,” said Mattar. “The UAE’s leadership has a clear plan to build smart cities, and a smart society. They are investing heavily in all the pillars that will enable this vision, including smart transportation, crowd management, smart buildings and smart tourism. Investors need to be aware of these developments, and align with them,” he added.

AHIC 2018, which promises to further knowledge, deepen existing relationships and forge new ones among the leaders of the hospitality investment community, will attract around 800 hotel investors, major developers, leading financiers, and C-level hotel executives to attend three days of content, networking and events.


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Significant opportunities for Middle Eastern hospitality investment The Arabian Hotel Investment Conference 2018 is forecasting significant opportunities for hotel investors targeting the Middle East in light of new data from MEED Projects, which predicts that more than US$14 billion worth of hotel construction contracts will be awarded in 2018.

According to MEED Projects, the online projects tracking service, the value of new hotel investments in the MENA region could hit a record high in 2018. Ed James, director of content and analysis at MEED Projects, said: “After a relatively subdued 2017 up to end of November which has seen US$5.45 billion worth of new hotel construction contracts awarded, the value of hotels due to be awarded next year is more than US$14 billion. This total would comfortably exceed the US$8.5bn awarded in 2016 and the previous record of US$11.9 billion awarded in 2015.” James added: “On the back of its forecasted performance, investment in hotels will comprise about seven per cent of the total US$200 billion scheduled projects spending in the MENA region next year, making it one of the most important construction subsectors. “On a country basis, the UAE will be by far the largest market, with an expected US$8.4 billion worth of contracts, followed by Saudi Arabia at US$1.9 billion and Qatar at US$1.7 billion.”

AHIC SPECIAL EDITION APRIL 2018

“These new figures are exciting for the Middle East hospitality investment community.” Jonathan Worsley


FEATURE

These figures will be discussed at the 14th edition of AHIC, which will be held at the purpose-built AHIC Village in the grounds of the Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah, UAE, in partnership with Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority. Jonathan Worsley, chairman of Bench Events, said: “These new figures are exciting for the Middle East hospitality investment community, which gathers annually at AHIC. With oil prices now trading significantly higher than the January 2016 lows, we expect to see signs of recovery and stability in most regional economies.” AHIC 2018, which promises to further knowledge, deepen existing relationships and forge new ones among the leaders of the hospitality investment community, will attract around 800 hotel investors, major developers, leading financiers, and C-level hotel executives to attend three days of content, networking and events. Partner of AHIC 2018, Haitham Mattar, chief executive, RAKTDA, added that hotel investors would need to rise to the challenge of meeting the shifting demands of travellers and the specific requirements

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of certain demographic and geographic groups, such as millennials, families, and baby boomers, as well as halal travellers and those from emerging markets such as China and India. “Investors need to understand these requirements and must also take into consideration from the outset which type of technology will drive the sector in the future – they need to consider this right at the beginning or risk becoming rapidly irrelevant,” said Mattar. He observed: “The biggest risk for hotel investors is not embracing the changes and challenges outlined above and expecting traditional business to keep on coming. It’s no longer a case of build it and they will come. It’s more a case of build what they want, and they will come. There’s a lot of competition on the global scene for the business of the new emerging markets. The hotel guest is now very much in the driving seat from


Jonathan Worsley Bench Events The Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah is hosting both the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) and the Middle East Gala Ceremony, World Travel Awards. Ahead of these two prestigious events Phil Blizzard spoke with Jonathan Worsley, Chairman, Bench Events Breaking Travel News: Arabian Hotel Investment Conference 2018 and the final preparations are being made in this amazing construction the AHIC village. Jonathan - in Ras Al Khaimah what does it mean to be here? Jonathan Worsley: It’s so exciting to here. After 13 years in Dubai now to be in Ras Al Khaimah in this fabulous venue. It’s incredible they’ve constructed this venue for this event. It’s very exciting we’ve got a great audience coming as well all very supportive. BTN: What brought you to what is known as the emerging emirate of the United Arab Emirates? JW: We’re all for supporting these events for the region for the Middle East. We had the Saudi Investment Conference in Riyadh in February, we have briefings in Bahrain, in Doha - we have a lot going on in the region. So we thought it was time we brought the main event to Ras Al Khaimah. We looked at an emirate which is also growing like Dubai was 15 years ago and still is.

BTN: So were talking hours before the opening. How long does it take you to prepare this enormous structure? JW: Well we’ve been working on it all year and of course designing it so it’s been quite fun. Normally you’re given a venue with pillars and you’re stuck with it! This time we’ve got this fabulous venue which we’ve been able to help design. BTN: Now going onto the agenda. The focus this year is called ‘Focus’, what’s going to be the key elements? JW: I think it’s important for us all to ‘Focus’. There’s a lot of stuff happening in the world at the moment and I think we all need to stay focused. Focus on your business focus on intelligence, focus on networking, just focus on what you do well and keep doing it! BTN: Focusing on those elements, also chance to focus on the attractions and on the important elements here in Ras Al Khaimah- driving people here. Alot of adventure of course…..

AHIC SPECIAL EDITION APRIL 2018

JW: Well that’s right -we had 25 people here this morning who went up to Jebel Jais Zip Line. It’s good the emirate is doing things differently here through the ruler HH Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi. It’s good for Ras Al Khaimah to think outside of the box looking at the adventure travel, looking at the destination, looking at leisure tourism. Ras Al Khaimah enjoys high occupancies. There are good investment opportunities here. BTN: Talking of Jebel Jais the Zip Wire - have you tried it yet? JW: Absolutely, and I’m doing it again! BTN: Well, it’s great to be here again at the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference in a different location and we wish you all the best for the next few days.


INTERVIEW

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Live the dream.


INTERVIEW

Abdullah Al Abdooli CEO, Al Marjan Island the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) Phil Blizzard spoke to Abdullah Al Abdooli, Chief Executive Officer, Al Marjan Island, Ras Al Khaimah to find out what it means to host this event in the emerging northern emirate.

Abdullah Al Abdooli: It’s our pleasure to welcome the guests of AHIC to Ras Al Khaimah. The emirate presents unique investment opportunities on Marjan Island to hotel owners and developers who are looking for an investment opportunity in Ras Al Khaimah. Here investors can enjoy a 16.1 per cent return on their hospitality investment.

BTN: In terms of growth and tourism development- 19% growth in recent times, one of the strongest across the GCC region. What does that mean to possible hotel developers on Marjan Island? Abdullah Al Abdooli: It just

AHIC SPECIAL EDITION APRIL 2018

shows how hard Ras Al Khaimah is working towards the goal of 2.9 million visitors by 2025. This means 15,000 additional hotel keys are required. This is why we are encouraging hotel operators and investors to come to Ras Al Khaimah.

BTN: This is an investment conference and you are telling potential investors about the aractions of Marjan Island. What would you say are the key attractions? Abdullah Al Abdooli: Marjan Island offers Freehold plots to international investors and developers to develop either a hospitality asset or a

residential building. International investors and developers can enjoy beneficial investment opportunities.

BTN: Hotels in the pipeline come from local hoteliers such as Emaar through to international chains. What can we expect in the future and will you be making any announcements here at AHIC? Abdullah Al Abdooli: During AHIC Marjan Island will be making multiple announcements on multiple sectors. We have some exciting news - just wait and see!


PHOTO DIARY

PHOTO DIARY DAY ONE

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PHOTO DIARY

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PHOTO DIARY

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PHOTO DIARY

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PHOTO DIARY

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Reaching new heights: 50+ investors attending AHIC 2018

AHIC SPECIAL EDITION APRIL 2018


AHIC NEWS Over 50 investors are attending AHIC 2018. Investors that will be present at the three day event in Ras Al Khaimah include: ABD Group Abdulrahman Saad Al-Rashid & Sons Co. Ltd. Action Hotels Adeem Capital Advanced Hotels Co AIMS Co Akar Properties (Bay Gate) Al Ain Holding Al Bayan Holding Group Al Fahd Investment Al Futtaim Group Real Estate Al Habtoor Al Hejailan Holding Al Hokair Group Al Jammaz Group Al Kholi Group Al Mal Capital Al Mousim Travel Group Al Mozoon Group Al Qattara Al Saedan Real Estate Co. Al Serkal Group Al Shaya Group Al Tayyar Travel Group SJSC Al Tuwairqi Group Alesayi Hospitality Company Al-Fahd Investments Company Almajdouie Investment Company Alpen Capital (ME) Limited Anasafaya Hospitality Arabian Investment Co. ARADY Arenco-GSH Hotels Asdaf for Real Estate Development Atlas Hospitality Audeh Group Aujan Group Holding Bhatia General Contracting Co LLC Bhatia Hospitality Group Bin Jabr Group CG Corp Cooperation Investment House BSC Crowngate Damac Properties Dara Developments Deyaar Development Diyar Al Muharraq DMCC Dubai Holding Hospitality Management Dubai World Trade Centre Emaar Emirates REIT Equitativa Erbium Real Estate & Hotel Investment ESTA Holding European Wealth Group Evans Randall Investors Exotix Capital GENCOM

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Hadia Abdul Latif Jameel Hashimi Hospitality Group Highpoint Hospitality Inter Group Kaya Project Development Kingdom Hotel Investments Leisure Investments Group LP Group SRL Maad International Mada'in Properties PJSC Magna Group Majid Al Futtaim - Hotels Meraas Holding Mirage Leisure & Development MLC International Muscat National Development & Investment Company - ASAAS Naissk Hotel Pvt Ltd Naseej Nashwan Hotel Group of Companies National Hotels Company Oman Holdings International Co. SAOC Oman Hotels & Tourism (OHI) Omniyat Middle East Real Estate Developments ORASCOM Development PE Plus Capital Advisors Prime Group Propagate Plus Radar Holdings RAK Hospitality Holding LLC Riyada International Hotels & Resorts Co Ltd Royal Oman Police Ruaa Healthcare LLC Saud Bahwan Group Saudi Gulf Intertrade Seef Properties Select Group Shaikh Holdings Shree Siddhi Developers SKAI Holdings Smartotels Hospitality International St. Angelo's VNCT Ventures Sultan Investments / Royce Hospitality Tabarak Investment Taiba Holding Tameer Holding Investment TAMLIK COMPANY Tamweel PJSC Thakher Investment The First Group Torunlar Real Estate Investment Trust Tulip Infrastructure Tungsten Partners UKM Group Unicca Union Investment Real Estate WOW Investments


RAS AL KHAIMAH BRINGS ITS MOUNTAINS TO LIFE WITH ROCK VS CLASSIC CONCERT Ras Al Khaimah is set to take musical performances to new heights by hosting its Rock Vs Classic concert at the top of the UAE’s highest peak, Jebel Jais this May 4 and 5, 2018. The two-day concert brings together Moscow’s symphony orchestra in a unique mash-up with some of the greatest rock artists of all time. Featuring Bill Champlinformer CHICAGO front man, Bobby Kimball lead singer of TOTO and Dave Bickler Former lead singer of

AHIC SPECIAL EDITION APRIL 2018

SURVIVOR, the concert will bring together the musical genres under the direction of award-winning artist and conductor, Vladimir Rylov. The unique event, set at 1600 metres above sea level, will be a dazzling live performance and reiterates Ras Al Khaimah Tourism

Development Authority (RAKTDA) efforts to grow its lifestyle entertainment to attract more guests to the Emirate as it aims to reach 1 million visitors by the end of 2018.


FEATURE

Haitham Mattar, CEO, RAKTDA said: “We always strive to create amazing experiences for our guests utilising Ras Al Khaimah’s most iconic landmarks. Nightlife and entertainment is an important part of our strategy to grow the destination and attract a diverse range of visitors looking for experiences and adventure beyond the traditional sun and sand holiday. This concert will be unique in terms of line-up and location and we hope visitors will join us from far and wide to experience all Ras Al Khaimah has to offer.”

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The concert will assemble a large orchestra to cover classical and artrock instrumentation on a speciallyconstructed mountain stage. Featuring a complex and sophisticated light show utilising cutting-edge technologies to create an incredible musical experience. Tickets for the concert start from AED300 and are available at Virgin Megastores. Ticket holders going to Jebel Jais can reach the concert via shuttle buses for AED 10 from Ras Al Khaimah Chambers Building at 4:00pm.

The Rock vs Classic concert is in partnership with Marjan Island and in sponsorship of Stevin Rock, RAK Rock and Hilton Garden Inn. The event is organised by Double E. For more information about the Rock vs Classic concert, please visit

www.jebeljais.ae/event


Amit Aurora General Manager Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah The Waldorf Astoria Ras al Khaimah is hosting both the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) and the Middle East Gala Ceremony, World Travel Awards. Ahead of these two prestigious events Phil Blizzard spoke with Amit Aurora, General Manager Ritz-Carlton, Ras Al Khaimah Breaking Travel News: Looking at your second hotel Ritz-Carlton, Ras Al Khaimah al Hamra Beach, give us an introduction to the property. Amit Aurora: Our beach property has only recently opened. The resort was completely closed down and has gone through a full refurbishment including all the villas. We've introduced a new restaurant called the Shore House which is doing extremely well and is a complementary experience to the Farmhouse restaurant in the desert. The desert is all about sand and here we are on the ocean. The two restaurants really complement each other very well and provide guests the option of having the best of both worlds. BTN: For guests who are looking for a two centre experience the desert and the water, how do

they travel between the two properties? AA: It’s a 15 minute car journey between the two resorts. We have a luxury shuttle bus which connects the two and travels back and forth several times during the day. We can offer guests a great twin centre experience where they can experience staying in the desert for a couple nights and then go to the beach, or if they’re staying at the beach, they can come to the desert and dine at the Farmhouse or just enjoy the falcon show. BTN: In terms of guests staying at the beach property. What is the range of accommodation? What can they experience? What can they expect? AA: We have 32 beautiful secluded beach villas, all with private pools. There are two villa categories: the Al Bahar and the Al

AHIC SPECIAL EDITION APRIL 2018

Naseem. It's really a very boutique property and feels almost like you're staying on an island. In fact it is an island and is connected via a pathway to the mainland. It’s very secluded, island-inspired and unique to Ras Al Khaimah.

BTN: We're talking on the occasion of the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference and the Middle East Gala World Travel Awards which are taking place very close to your beach property. AA: We're right adjacent to the AHIC village which is where the Conference and the World Travel Award ceremony is taking place. Our hotel team are super excited because a lot of the delegates are actually coming to see the property. The delegates are in town, they've heard of the new Ritz- Carlton on the beach and they're booking the restaurants. Obviously

this is a great opportunity to showcase the property.

BTN: Moving on from the Arabian Hotel and Investment Conference to the World Travel Awards. Last year when they were held in October, for the Middle East region, your beach property was not operational. Now it’s open, what are your expectations for this year’s awards? AA: This year we’ve been nominated for an award and would love to see our hotel team be recognized for their hard work. Our ladies and gentlemen have worked very hard to bring this hotel to life. A luxury resort hotel with 32 private villas located on the most pristine beach of Ras Al Khaimah is something very unique, the scenography of the hotel is second to none.


INTERVIEW

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BTN: Last October, you won a couple of World Travel Awards. Tell us which ones you won and what they mean to you. Amit Aurora :The one award which really stood out was the Leading Middle East Luxury Resort for Families.That's really the positioning which we’re aspiring towards, and it was a key recognition because this is a conversion hotel that went through a major refurbishment, it was very pleasing to hear that we were on the right track.

BTN: That was one award, what was the other one? AA: The other was Leading Resort for Desert Experiences.

BTN: At that time you were a Ritz- Carlton partner hotel, and a month later you had the flagging ceremony. What did that signify? AA: Well it's called the branding process. There were a number of milestones which needed to be accomplished in order to bring the hotel to a level for it to operate as a Ritz- Carlton. On the 11th of November 2017, we raised the flag and we officially joined the RitzCarlton network as a RitzCarlton property.

BTN: What were the key aspects of the branding from what it was before to a Ritz -Carlton property? AA: There are three things we look at. The first is the product, where you upgrade areas in the hotels such as the restaurants. We've got brand new restaurant concepts, a brand new lobby which really changes the whole arrival experience. It's also about the people, bringing in new talent and about the processes, implementing all the marketing and sales network points to make sure the engagement is there to fulfil the Ritz- Carlton brand expectations.

BTN: A lot to be done and considerable investment no doubt? We're talking on the occasion of the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference, which is taking place in Ras Al Khaimah, have you received support from the owners? AA: Absolutely, a lot of support and a lot of commitment from the owners. The idea was to re-position the hotel to really make it internationally renowned which is why Ritz -Carlton was brought in to really take it to the next level. This was supported by major financial

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investment in the product which has provided us with all the tools and resources we need to operate at the level of a Ritz -Carlton property.

BTN: No doubt a long-term plan when it comes to investment. What’s the likely time-frame for the return on that huge investment? AA: Well, it's a phased investment. The first phase was really to take over the property and implement the systems. The second phase was to re-do the restaurants which we've done now. There is still more commitment coming. We're going to be implementing a resort pool very soon. We're going to be redoing the rainforest and there are a number of other areas of the hotel that still need to be upgraded. By the end of this year, we will have fully completed every single aspect of the hotel.

BTN: A very much work in progress and this is a magnificent seing, the Farmhouse restaurant overlooking the watering hole. A quick overview of what one could expect to find here at this splendid resort? AA: Well, we are in a 500hectare nature reserve just an hour's drive away

from Dubai. That's what makes us so unique. We're far away to really switch off and be in a resort environment, yet close enough if people want to do business and want to do team building etc. We have our own stables and our own equestrian centre, 101 villas and four restaurants. The Farmhouse we're in is our signature restaurant. It's a farm to fork concept. We also have the Moon bar that just reopened, a fantastic setting overlooking the dunes. We have Moorish which is a Moroccan/ Spanish tapas restaurant and we have Cahuilla which is our all-day dining plus the lobby lounge.

BTN: On to the business side of things nowArabian Hotel Investment Conference is a key event being held here in Ras Al Khaimah as well as the World Travel Awards, what do you think this means to both Ras Al Khaimah and the hospitality industry? AA: It's a big coup to have the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference take place for the first time ever in the northern emirates. It really brings the northern emirates in to the forefront. There have been a lot of conferences in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, but now Ras Al Khaimah, is ready for


INTERVIEW

business. Talking of business our conference centre is also being renovated. We can offer companies the perfect location for team building, to spend a day away from the office to plan and strategize. Ras al Khaimah is really serious about tourism. The zip line at Jebel Jais has recently been launched, there’s the viewing platform and there’s more attractions coming. Ras Al Khaimah is really on the rise and they couldn't be a more opportune time to host the conference here.

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BTN: We started off talking about the World Travel Awards, so let's finish off with that and tell me how you use your awards to help market your two properties? AA: Well the World Travel Awards are really the Oscars of the travel industry. We take a lot of pride in it. It really is a commitment and a recognition and accolade for our ladies and gentlemen. We celebrate the success and of course, we use it in our sales and marketing

channels. This year we have been nominated for two exciting awards and I'm really looking forward to the World Travel Awards Middle East Gala Ceremony.

BTN: We’ll keep our fingers crossed for you!! Of course, social media is very important you have a very strong presence on the various social media platforms. How do you see that moving forward? AA: Social media is the way forward. We have great guidelines from our

brand to be active on all the channels; Facebook, Instagram, etc. We really use that to market our food and beverage as well as market our other products and offerings. We’re constantly updating and keeping ourselves up to date with all the social media channels.


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LUXURY RAS AL KHAIMAH

WALDORF ASTORIA RAS AL KHAIMAH Set in a charming beach-front location, and only 50 minutes from Dubai, the luxurious Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah is ideal for leisure getaways. The multi-award winning resort offers palatial rooms, stylish dining and an 18hole golf course. Surrounded by desert, mountains and sea, Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah promises adventure and relaxation a true all-in-one. The resort boasts an extensive size and includes:

• 18-hole golf course and a tennis court • 350 meters of private white sand beach • Water-sport activities • Spa, fitness center and a Kids Club • 9 restaurants • Four meeting rooms, a boardroom and the adjacent Convention Center This grand palace features 346 guest rooms and suites, all with WiFi and HD plasma TVs. Meal time is bliss at our hotel with intricate sushi plates, juicy steaks and an array of Middle Eastern dishes. Aer sundown, 17Squared is the go-to places for one of the best cocktails in the area. Enjoy aentive service synonymous with Waldorf Astoria, and for a more personal touch select our Private Concierge service.

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ACCoMMoDATioN Experience an unforgeable stay in one of the 346 spacious rooms and suites with indulgent amenities, True Waldorf Services and spectacular views of the Arabian Gulf and Hajar Mountains. The King Imperial Suite is a truly unique duplex that stands alone over 2 whole floors with its own private internal staircase, a VIP elevator and direct private spa access – an extravagant and unparalleled address suitable for only the most discerning guests. Admire the views from the balcony at this abundantly expansive 422sqm space which features separate king-sized and queen-sized bedrooms, a full sized foyer, two en suite bathrooms, a dining room, kitchen and the living room with a grand piano.

GoLF Al Hamra Golf Club offers a challenge for golfers of all skill levels, from novice to expert players. This par-72 championship golf course has hosted regional golfing championships and is home to some of the most outstanding facilities in the region. The course measures 7,325 yards total and boasts five tee options on each hole. For night time play, the club uses the latest zero pollution floodlights. Book an individual or group lesson with Al Hamra's Golf Academy. The Golf Academy is run by PGA qualified professionals. Hone your skills by utilizing the designated bunkers, pitching, chipping and puing areas. Fine tune your swing with the swing analysis soware provided in the swing studio. Shop for all of your golf needs at the two pro shops on-site. Both shops provide the latest in equipment, clothing and accessories from the top brands in the golf industry.


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RESTAURANTS AND LoUNGES Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah is home to a variety of bespoke restaurants and bars, offering an exclusive range of dining and entertainment experiences to suit every mood and taste. Dine on an extensive range of favorite global and local dishes served at Qasr al Bahar. Enjoy first-class ingredients in dishes cooked in open kitchens, featuring Arabic classics, Indian tandoori, European-Mediterranean and Asian cuisine. Lexington Grill, the US steakhouse, showcases grills, steaks and seafood with private dining room and long bar seating. UMI, the Japanese restaurant, serves Teppanyaki and sushi. Relish elegantly presented home-style dishes at Marjan, featuring finely spiced, marinated and grilled food from the Middle East.

WALDoRF WEDDiNGS From the moment you say, "Yes", to the day you say, "I do", we'll work with you to guide your wedding journey to ensure your event is handled expertly. The palatial Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah hotel provides an idyllic destination for an unforgeable wedding. Revel in meticulous aention to detail, inspired catering services and seamless organization by our expert wedding planner, all within a seing of luxury beach resort luxury. The beautiful golden sands of the private beach and the azure waters of the Arabian Gulf beyond provide an ideal backdrop for intimate outdoor and unforgeable wedding ceremonies and magnificent receptions tailored to your specifications.

Sate your appetite with refreshing cocktails, juices, salads and sandwiches at the poolside in Azure or at the beach in Al Fayrouz. Visit 17Squared for its high-energy and stunning 17th floor views or relax with specialty coffees and cakes at the icons Peacock Alley. Camelia Lounge caters to tea lovers and offers the traditional Waldorf Astoria high tea.

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WALDoRF ASToRiA SPA A place of refuge and restoration; the spa offers enchanting and mystical signature treatments combined with captivating exceptional care to create a place where guests can surrender and restore personal wellbeing to reach subliminal levels of relaxation. With an undersea theme that flows through the tranquil area, the calming blues of the raw silk clad walls, lighting and floor to ceiling windows allow for a sense of serenity and space. Two differing product lines are used in the spa; Voya, totally organic, sustainable seaweed products which have been produced on the shores of Ireland by the same family for over 100 years and QMS Medicosmetics, powerful, intelligent skincare formulations based on scientific logic not miracles.

SPoRTS Sports lovers will appreciate the wealth of activities on offer at Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah. Due to its diverse landscape and commitment toward providing tourists with a range of activity choices, Ras Al Khaimah has become a hub for outdoor sports and indoor games. The emirate provides safe and cost-effective opportunities for guests to try out a wide variety of activities in picturesque natural locations, whether exploring the magnificent mountains or playing a round of golf on a championship course. Stay fit during your holidays, Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah boosts 2 tennis courts where hotel guest can practice their tennis skills free of charge, day and night. Bookings are available at the hotel health club of through the Personal Concierge. Coaching is also available upon advance request and against a fee. hp://waldorfastoria3.hilton.com/en/ hotels/uae/waldorf-astoria-ras-alkhaimah-RKTWAWA/index.html


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X-GOLF SHOWCASES MARKET-LEADING TECHNOLOGY AT AHIC X-GOLF, THE WORLD’S MOST ADVANCED INDOOR GOLF SIMULATION TECHNOLOGY BRAND, will showcase a new standard in sports entertainment technology at AHIC 2018. Founded in South Korea, X-Golf was designed to address the conflict between an increasing demand for golf versus the global pressures of climate, time, affordability and space. In the digital and experiential era, XGolf simulators provide an innovative take on one of the world’s oldest and most popular sports. With over 10 years of research and development and 16 global patents, X-Golf simulators are the result of impressive engineering designed to re-create ball flight to within 98% accuracy and deliver insights on your game. The accuracy of this technology appeals to the golfing elite, whilst the modern, social approach to golf has popular appeal with millennials, families and time-poor corporates. Simply, golfers at any level can play, practice or compete on an extensive selection of beautiful world-class golf courses, driving ranges and chipping and putting greens. At a global level, X-Golf is rapidly expanding its footprint in the US, Australasia, Korea, China, Russia & Japan, and is set to take the Middle East by storm given the brand’s relevance and burgeoning demand in this market.

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X-Golf’s elite virtual concept takes on the sophistication of the real game on your terms, however you imagined, in any space. Perfect as a unique amenity or revenue driver in hotels, residential or commercial developments, malls & other hospitality spaces, airports and at events. Simply put, X-Golf simulators are pure fun. A driver of curiosity. A room full of delight, a challenge to master. Totally addictive. Don’t miss the chance to test the simulator and compete in ‘Closestto-the-Pin’ competitions with some cool prizes to be won each day! www.xgolfnovi.com


FEATURE

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RAS AL  KHAIMAH UNITED ARAB EMIRATES | 19 APRIL 2018 VENUE Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah With over 7,000 years of fascinating history and culture, Ras Al Khaimah is the perfect getaway from everyday life. Offering magnificent landscapes, breathtaking coastlines and rich, terracoa desert planes, the emirate has firmly established itself as the UAE’s most authentic destination in the Middle East. With year-long sunshine and 64km of white sandy beaches, just 45 minutes from the bustling metropolis of Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah offers an entirely unique experience from its neighbouring emirates. www.rasalkhaimah.ae


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RAS AL KHAIMAH Ras Al Khaimah, the northern-most emirate of the UAE, offers its visitors a truly authentic Arabian experience; from its golden beaches, lush mangroves and terracoa deserts, to the towering Hajar Mountains bordering Oman. Along with boundless natural aractions and activities, Ras Al Khaimah boasts a number of ancient archaeological sites, giving visitors a fascinating insight into its history and the rich culture that still runs through the very heart of its local population. Bask under the emirate's golden sun rays or spend the day discovering Ras Al Khaimah's finest local products from artisanal textiles to delicious traditional cuisine.


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THINGS TO DO DHAYAH FORT

AL HAMRA MARINA & YAcHT cLUB

With a backdrop of steep mountains, the bay of Dhayah has always been a very fertile area and has been seled in at least since the third millennium BC. A conical shaped hill at the edge of the palm gardens and at the foot of the mountains, served as a natural defense post for the oasis. People have used this hill since prehistoric times for selement and fortification alike. Today it is crowned by a fortress, built during the 19th century on the foundations of much older structures. It is the only hilltop fort still existing in the UAE and offers a fantastic view of the lush palm gardens, the sea and the dramatic mountains.

Sailing has traditionally been an integral part of Ras Al Khaimah's culture. Due to the favorable weather and water conditions, the emirate has been a destination of choice for sailors to practice their skills at sea. The Royal Yacht Club of Ras Al Khaimah, under the Patronage of HH Sheik Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, is a members club for sailing, yachting and water sports enthusiasts.

AL JAzIRAH AL HAMRA Al Jazirah Al Hamra is the last authentic and traditional town still standing in the United Arab Emirates. Once a small island, its inhabitants subsisted on maritime and pearl trading before they abandoned their houses in the middle of the 20th century, when the rush to modernized started. An undisturbed picture of life before the discovery of oil was le behind and preserved until today. This is a unique area for Ras Al Khaimah and the whole country. Al Jazirah Al Hamra shows all elements of a traditional town, including a fortress for defence purposes, a small market, several mosques and a variety of houses types. These range from simple buildings to ornate houses with courtyards which belonged to rich pearl mercahants. Al Jazirah Al Hamra is one of the best places to study traditional coral-stone architecture, used along the coast of the UAE.

JEBEL JAIS Jebel Jais is definitely the UAE’s tallest mountain and is every bit as exciting as a tall mountain should be. Rugged, at times wind -swept, valleys with sweeping views…and absolute isolation.

AL HAMRA MALL Al Hamra Mall is a 37,000 m2 two-storey shopping center set the stunning residential development of Al Hamra Village in Ras Al Khaimah, offering a perfect blend of shopping, entertainment, dining and recreational options. Al Hamra Mall houses a wide range of stores and services catering to its international customers, synchronizing perfectly with the demands and wishes of the multi cultural population in the UAE.

TOWER LINKS GOLF cLUB RAS AL KHAIMAH Tower Links has long been touted as the most natural golf course in the Emirates, with as many as 11 out of the 18 holes meandering around a mangrove reserve. Not only does the reserve provide a natural and safe habitat to many aquatic and bird species, but also presents new golfing challenges to test the skill level of every player.

AL WADI EqUESTRIAN ADvENTURE cENTRE A dedicated equestrian and adventure centre steeped in the stunning nature and culture of Ras Al Khaimah. The Al Wadi Equestrian Adventure Centre believe that their natural unspoilt environment and offering are totally unique and bring people back to nature through outdoor and equestrian activities.

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ATHENS, GREECE 30 JUNE 2018

VENUE zappeion Magaron Hall Oen referred to as the cradle of Western civilisation, Athens is Europe’s oldest city and dates back 2,500 years. Since 2004, the Archaeological Promenade, a 2.5-mile long, pedestrian-only walkway skirts the foot of the Acropolis and links all the city’s major archaeological sites. This huge archaeological park has reconciled past and present, with the city’s cultural and social life once again taking place around the ancient monuments and surrounding neighbourhoods. But visitors don’t come here just for the ancient monuments. Contemporary Athens boasts one of the most thriving nightlife in Europe, from the urbanchic bars around Monastiraki (at the foot of the Acropolis), to lounge-bars and fusion-food eateries of up-market Kolonaki. www.visitgreece.gr


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ATHENS Athens is the historical capital of Europe, with a long history, dating from the first selement in the Neolithic age. In the 5th century Bc (the “Golden Age of Pericles”) – the culmination of Athens’ long, fascinating history – the city’s values and civilization acquired a universal significance. Over the years, a multitude of conquerors occupied Athens, and erected unique, splendid monuments - a rare historical palimpsest. In 1834, it became the capital of the modern Greek state and in two centuries since it has become an aractive modern metropolis with unrivalled charm. A large part of the town’s historic centre has been converted into a 3-kilometre pedestrian zone (the largest in Europe), leading to the major archaeological sites (“archaeological park”), reconstructing – to a large degree – the ancient landscape.


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THINGS TO DO AcROPOLIS MUSEUM

PLAKA

Modern, up-to-date building on the foot of the Acropolis, housing important ancient Greek statues and much more.

Historic neighborhood located at the base of the hill topped by the Acropolis.

AcROPOLIS

EREcHTHEION

The most famous site in all of Athens, this large hill lies in the centre of the city and contains a cluster of ancient ruins.

PARTHENON The majestic ruins of an ancient Greek building, known for its dignified white marble columns and perfect sense of proportion.

TEMPLE OF HEPHAESTUS This ancient Greek temple, located on the Acropolis and dedicated to Hephaistos, god of the forge, is one of the few temples to be almost entirely preserved.

The second largest temple on the Acropolis has a complex and unique structure, including its famous Porch of the Caraytis with statues of six graceful maidens on the south side and a four-pillared porch with six Ionic columns on the north side.

MOUNT LYcABETTUS Walk or take the funicular tramway to the top of this hill for the best views of Athens.

HEROD ATTIcUS ODEON Second-century theater built into the hillside.

NATIONAL ARcHAEOLOGIcAL MUSEUM A truly wonderful museum that covers many eras of Greek history.

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HONG KONG 3 SEPTEMBER 2018

VENUE Intercontinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong A few weeks, days or just hours are enough to get you hooked on the incredible city that is Hong Kong! Whether you’re a first timer, or already have a love-affair with our great city, this series of guides has something new for you: it’s a compilation of stories, recommendations and tips on Hong Kong from people in the know. Pick a topic that interests you—from incredible Chinese superstitions in “Traditions and Spirituality”, to funky art galleries in “Industrial Revolution”—and you’ll discover many exciting experiences and adventures. www.discoverhongkong.com/uk/index.jsp


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HONG KONG Global connection hub, autonomous country of china, former British possession, haunt of opium mongrels and pirates, Asia’s World city, and favorite visitor’s destination – Hong Kong is all this and more. Hong Kong Island itself, with its world-famous skyline, is the center of this archipelago set in the South china Sea, just off the mainland. It enjoys freedom from government interference unrivaled in china. Once a prize reluctantly given to British traders by the former chinese Emperor aer the first Opium War, Hong Kong was returned to the motherland in 1997, very much under its own terms.


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THINGS TO DO STAR FERRY

cHI LIN NUNNERY

Step back to the days of old and experience an era when third generation Star ferries were the major passenger connection between Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon Peninsula. Step aboard the fabulous double-decker ‘Shining Star’ ferry, a beautiful re-creation of a 1920s ferry. Relax and enjoy the magnificent view while sipping a cup of fine coffee in an on-vessel cafe or soak up the sun on the open decks while enjoying the cooling sea breezes.

One of the most beautiful and arrestingly built environments in Hong Kong, this large Buddhist complex, originally dating from the 1930s, was rebuilt completely of wood (and not a single nail) in the style of the Tang dynasty in 1998.

vIcTORIA PEAK (THE PEAK) Hong Kong’s number one tourist destination features the Peak Tower and the Peak Tram, the city’s oldest mode of public transport.

TIAN TAN BUDDHA (BIG BUDDHA) Tian Tan Buddha, also known as the Big Buddha, is a large bronze statue of Buddha Shakyamuni, completed in 1993, and located at Ngong Ping, Lantau Island, in Hong Kong.

HONG KONG TRAMWAYS (DING DING) Since 1904, trams have been running from East to West of Hong Kong Island, and they remain the most economical mode of public transport in Hong Kong. Today, Hong Kong Tramways owns and operates a fleet of 163 tramcars, including 2 antique tramcars, carrying a daily average of 230,000 passengers. It is the world’s largest fleet of double-deck tramcars still in service.

NAN LIAN GARDEN Established in 1934 and renovated in Tang dynasty style (AD 618–907) in 1990, the Chi Lin Nunnery is a large temple complex of elegant wooden architecture, treasured Buddhist relics and soul-soothing lotus ponds. The complex also includes a series of temple halls, some of which contain gold, clay and wooden statues representing divinities such as the Sakyamuni Buddha and bodhisavas.

HONG KONG MUSEUM OF HISTORY Founded to preserve the historical and cultural heritage of China, the museum continually adds to its collection new items that are related to the history of Hong Kong and the territories of South China. Currently, its collection counts over 90,000 historical objects and materials. In the museum guests will see the unique collection of natural history, exclusive historical developments and materials, and a wide range of Hong Kong’s archaeological objects.

LANTAU ISLAND Buddhist architecture; fireworks over Sleeping Beauty’s castle; a long sandy beach; a mall of shopping outlets — Lantau Island has it all. Whatever your persuasion, Hong Kong’s largest outlying island brings solace to the soul, senses and shopping bags.

vIcTORIA HARBOUR The energetic Victoria Harbour is truly Hong Kong’s lifeline, and with its constant parade of vessels and breathtaking surrounding scenery, a harbour cruise is a must-do on any trip to Hong Kong. Step aboard for a journey into the true heart of Asia’s world city.

HONG KONG DISNEYLAND Get ready for non-stop Disney fun with all your favourite rides and characters! Extend the magic with a hotel stay to enjoy world-class hospitality and indulge in incredible meals by award-winning chefs. Don’t forget to pick up cool gis for your loved ones to share the magic of Hong Kong Disneyland!

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GUAYAQUIL ECUADOR 15 SEPTEMBER 2018

The most visited city in Ecuador, Guayaquil is bursting with energy and optimism. Thanks to a massive regeneration project of public squares, parks and urban areas, the city is evolving into one of Latin America’s most talked-about tourism destinations. The waterfront Malecón "Simón Bolivar" is a magnificent riverfront town square, which defines Guayaquil identity, and serves as the hub of its thriving cultural and gastronomy scene. Aractions range from historical monuments, artisan markets and botanical gardens to a new ferris wheel and several museums. The harbour and promenade of Puerto Santa Ana is the latest addition to the waterfront. Just across the river, set in mangroves, caiman, monkeys and parakeets can be observed in the Parque Histórico. Guayaquil, which is located on the western bank of the Guayas River, also serves as the perfect gateway for both the Pacific Ocean beaches and the Galapagos Islands. www.guayaquil.travel


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GUAYAQUIL, ECUADOR Founded in the 1530s, Ecuador's largest city and main port is the top access point for Galapagos cruises and home to a bustling import-export business. Tourism is on the rise as well, thanks to a new international airport and urban renewal projects along the River Guayas promenade and in the historic neighborhood of Las PeĂąas. The 465-step climb to the top of Santa Ana Hill provides sweeping views and a chance to stand on the site of the city's birthplace.


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THINGS TO DO PARquE HiSToRico GuAyAquiL

EL FARo dE GuAyAquiL

It includes eight hectares divided in three zones: Wild Life, Traditions and Urban - architectural, where the nature, rural and urban aspects are brought together in one concept: encouraging the environment preservation, rescue and promotion of our customs.

Walking up the 440 steps to the lighthouse was truly a delight. The view from inside the lighthouse was breathtaking!

MALEcon 2000 Stretching for several miles along the Rio Guayas, this lively boardwalk is well-patrolled day and night and features small food stands, other eateries and a blend of historic and modern buildings.

LAS PEnAS The Malecón ends in the north at the picturesque barrio of Las Peñas, itself at the foot of Cerro Santa Ana. There’s lile more to it than a short, dead-end road – Numa Pompilio Llona – paved with uneven, century-old cobblestones, but the colourful wooden houses here make this one of the preiest corners of Guayaquil. Many of the houses have been beautifully restored, but part of the area’s charm derives from the flaking paint and gentle disrepair of those that haven’t.

cERRo SAnTA AnA Like the ugly duckling to swan tale, this once poor area was transformed into a prime tourist araction – a 465-foot stairway flanked by colorful houses, eateries, gi shops and galleries.

PARquE dE LAS iGuAnAS Seminario Park is also known as the Iguana Park, since dozens of iguanas live in its ornate gardens. According to the tourists they give a prehistoric and natural ambiance to the Park. The reptiles that measure up to 1 metre in length are the main araction of the Park and mingle amiably among the people.

HAciEndA LA dAnESA Hacienda La Danesa (accommodation available) is a traditional dairy and cacao farm with over 145 years of rich heritage and history, located about an hour drive from Guayaquil, Ecuador. Family-owned and managed by the third generation Olsen family, the farm offers a unique selection of tailor-made activities for guests, including horseback riding trails, hands-on artisan chocolate making and other hacienda-related programs. La Danesa offers an intimate and authentic experience for those who would like to spend the night.

LA PERLA With 187 feet high, it’s the first giant ferris wheel in Ecuador and the biggest in South America. Enjoy a new view of the city and the landscapes that surround it inside a complex with all the facilities.

cAPTAin MoRGAn’S PiRATE SHiP A tour through the Guayas River on board of a pirate ship in which several renowned locations of our city are visited, like: Santa Ana Port, Las Peñas Neighborhood, Malecon 2000, Santay Island, Caraguay Market (south of the city), among others. Under the pirate theme, the boat with a capacity for 160 people and an exclusive zone for 60 people, also offers family tours, events like the famous “Pirate Parties”, which last an hour and include shows and free drinks.

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JAMAICA 22 SEPTEMBER 2018

Wherever you go in this enchanted paradise, you will find natural beauty so stunning, it will take your breath away. And people so genuinely friendly and hospitable, it will warm your heart. Jamaica is home to a magnificent landscape of rolling mountains lined by endless white-sand-beaches, covered by lush foliage and crisscrossed by streaming rivers and cascading waterfalls. Jamaica is a wonderland of allure and stunning, natural beauty. From scenic cliffs and majestic waterfalls to pristine lagoons and bubbling hot springs, the region boasts plenty of things to do amid a diverse terrain. Relax on a river ra ride along the Martha Brae or zip down a canopy at full speed over ancient sugar mill ruins – whatever your fancy, Jamaica offers tours and excursions that satisfy the whims of the most adventurous or the most laidback traveler. www.visitjamaica.com


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JAMAICA cOME ON AND FIND YOUR HOLIDAY RHYTHM We’re the island of happy days, vivid nights and dreams that come true. Paradise in Jamaica can be whatever you want it to be – lose yourself in the adventure and take it all in. Get back to nature in the magic of our rainforests, which seem to be as alive as any of the tropical animals that live there. Take your loved ones to hike the Blue Mountains and look at the world through new eyes. Meet our friendly people, try our food and watch the sunset over the caribbean Sea to the sound of slow reggae rhythms and good times. Join us, in the Home of All Right.


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THINGS TO DO BLUE HOLE (OcHO RIOS) Come experience a lile thrill and adventure, geing to see breathtaking views, and doing optional jumps on the way down, through a Jamaican jungle! The river is refreshing, and the views are once in a lifetime, it is a experience you won't regret, or soon forget!

SEvEN MILE BEAcH (NEGRIL) Pirates once haunted this seven-mile stretch of golden sand beach, now ruled by pleasure-seeking beach bums and sun-worshipers. This iconic stretch of paradise is a perfect example of a quintessential tropical seing.

DUNN’S RIvER FALLS AND PARK (OcHO RIOS) The famous Dunn’s River Falls is one of Jamaica’s national treasures. This major tourist araction is the perfect environment for fun and relaxation for the entire family, with many a delightful new discovery to be made around every corner.

NEGRIL cLIFFS (NEGRIL) Located on Negril’s West End, these dramatic and soaring ‘Thunderball.’ Situated away from the large beach resorts, this stunning area of high cliffs, sea caves and clear deep turquoise waters is famous as a location for professional cliff diving.

YS FALLS (SANTA cRUz) YS Falls boasts a magnificent seven-tiered cascading waterfall and an expansive wading pool fed by underground springs. You can take in the spectacular views on an exciting canopy ride which careens you

down the alley high above the falls, or enjoy the beautiful surroundings on a river tube ride. adventure waits for you in the jungle! This stunning location, just off the Black River, is lined with plenty of picnic areas for pleasant aernoon lunches al fresco.

BLOODY BAY (NEGRIL) On the West coast of this laid back island lies Bloody Bay. The heart and soul of the Negril, Bloody Bay plays host to a ribbon of white sands and lapping azure waters, as well as all sorts of beach activities.

RAINFOREST ADvENTURES JAMAIcA (OcHO RIOS) A must on the list of places to explore and activities to enjoy in Jamaica, the eco-friendly Mystic Mountain, 2010 Tourism Excellence award-winner for Ocho Rios aractions, is an unforgeable rainforest adventure for everyone in your family.

ROSE HALL GREAT HOUSE (ROSE HALL) The greatest of Jamaican great houses, the Rose Hall Great House has a story with all the elements of an engaging novel. Built in 1770 by John Palmer and his wife, it eventually became the residence of their grandnephew, John Rose Palmer.

BLUE MOUNTAINS (KINGSTON) Want a wild outdoor adventure that’ll leave you breathless, exhilarated and home in time for supper? Then push your way through the dense tropical forest of the Blue Mountains for an aernoon that will feast your eyes and work your quads.

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SOUTH AFRICA DURBAN | 6 OcTOBER 2018

VENUE The Durban International convention centre Known for its melting pot of cultures, beautiful coastlines, Big-5 Game experiences and spectacular mountain ranges, South Africa has become a major tourist destination on the African continent. Durban, the economic hub of the province, and one of the oďŹƒcial New7Wonders Cities, captures the heart of its visitors with its buzzing, vibrant atmosphere and warm hospitality. Aî…&#x;ractions in and around the city include the impressive Moses Mabhida Stadium, uShaka Marine World, a variety of cultural markets and museums, upmarket shopping centers and world-class golf courses, all of which combine to make Durban a must-visit destination. www.southafrica.net


WORLD TRAVEL AWARDS  AFRICA & INDIAN OCEAN  GALA CEREMONY 2018

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DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA The Indian and colonial influences in this South African beach city can’t be missed, and the blend of cultures and architecture makes Durban unique in South Africa. Durban’s Golden Mile is a destination for surfers, families and fisherman, due to its blend of natural beauty and modern resort. Major-city aractions abound, making this a good destination for families and couples alike. With its sunny beaches and fascinating Afro-Indian culture, Durban is becoming a don’tmiss stop in South Africa. Take an hour flight from Johannesburg or a two-hour trip from cape Town to explore this historic city in the Kwazulu-Natal province.


WORLD TRAVEL AWARDS  AFRICA & INDIAN OCEAN  GALA CEREMONY 2018

THINGS TO DO ExPERIENcE INDIAN cULTURE

DIScOvER zULU cULTURE

More Indians reside in Durban than any other country outside India itself. Early immigrants worked on sugar cane farms in current-day KwaZulu-Natal, and many women still wear sarees, the national dress of India, and Indian cuisine is popular. Try a samosa (a savory fried pastry filled with spiced vegetables or meat) or bunny chow (a hollow, halfloaf of bread with curry).

Take in a Zulu experience to learn more about the culture of South Africa’s largest ethnic group (some 10 million Zulus live here). At Shakaland and PheZulu Safari Park, both located in the magnificient Valley of a 1000 Hills, you can walk through beehive huts (replicas of Zulu homesteads), sip traditional beer, watch tribal dances and participate in traditional ceremonies. Journey about 40 miles west of Durban to see Isithumba Adventure Park, an authentic, rural Zulu village. While you’re there, join a tour and experience more Zulu customs, go horseback riding, or see the sights on a 4x4 excursion.

cRUISE THE GOLDEN MILE Durban's Golden Mile, a 3.7 mile stretch of sandy beach, invites surfers and swimmers to enjoy the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. Vendors sell assorted cras along the shore, and you can find many beautiful swimming pools along the esplanade. Hop into a rickshaw and ride along the beach; later, dine and dance at a beachside restaurant, trendy club or luxury hotel.

SEE MARINE LIFE AND MORE At the end of the Golden Mile, look for uShaka Marine World, a 40-acre theme park. There are five main sections to explore: a snorkeling lagoon, an interactive animal show area, a shark cage diving area, a water park with slides and a reptile exhibit. Save time to pick up a snack or shop for ethnic clothing, surfing gear or souvenirs at Village Walk.

SHOP AND DINE FROM DAWN TO DARK Look for fine dining, shopping and entertainment along Durban’s Florida Road, considered one of the city's top spots for nightlife. Sidewalk cafes open in the early morning hours, and locals and tourists browse the galleries, boutique shops, and eateries until they close late in the evening. But don't leave yet. That's when the trendy bars and clubs start buzzing.

DIvE INTO HISTORY Follow the Inanda Heritage Route, where you can take a deep dive into some of the city’s most important historical sites. You’ll find Mahatma Gandhi’s house and International Printing Press and Museum in his Phoenix Selement, a communal living society. Stop by Ohlange Institute to see the place where Nelson Mandela cast his vote for democracy. Continue to beautiful Inanda Dam to make a day of it.

PLAY AT MOSES MABHIDA STADIUM Like London’s Big Ben or the Parthenon in Greece, Moses Mabhida Stadium, with its distinctive arch, is an iconic landmark. This 85,00-seat stadium hosted the 2010 World Cup and is a venue for the Essence Festival Durban and many sporting events. Try one of its six signature activities, which include the Adventure Walk, a 500-step climb to the top of the arch, and the Big Rush - Big Swing, a 722-foot free fall adventure. If you’re not that daring, enjoy a Segway Gliding Tour or ride the stadium SkyCar for breathtaking views.

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LISBON, PORTUGAL 1 DECEMBER 2018

Discover Lisbon, a historical city full of stories to tell, where the sun shines 290 days a year and the temperature rarely drops below 15oC. A city where you feel safe wandering around day or night, where the cuisine is dedicated to creating over a thousand ways to cook the beloved bacalhau (salted cod), and where you’ll find hotels and restaurants to suit every taste, budget and requirement. Discover Lisbon, a city full of authenticity where old customs and ancient history intermix with cultural entertainment and hi-tech innovation. Lisbon is ageless, but it loves company, as you’ll find out if you meet someone and ask them to explain, with lots of gestures and repetition, where the best place is to listen to Fado. Aer all, Lisbon is famous for its hospitality and the family-like way it welcomes visitors. www.visitlisboa.com


WORLD TRAVEL AWARDS  GRAND FINAL GALA CEREMONY 2018

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LISBON, PORTUGAL Seven cinematic hillsides overlooking the Rio Tejo cradle Lisbon's postcard-perfect panorama of cobbled alleyways, ancient ruins and white-domed cathedrals – a captivating recipe craed over centuries.


WORLD TRAVEL AWARDS  GRAND FINAL GALA CEREMONY 2018

THINGS TO DO BEYOND BAcALHAU: LISBON FOR FOODIES Dining in Lisbon is far more dynamic than navigating countless preparations of Portugal's beloved bacalhau (dried and salted cod fish; 365 recipes and counting!). While bacalhau à Brás (shredded cod with onions, eggs and potatoes; a Bairro Alto original) is never far, Lisbon's strategic seaside position on Europe's doorstep means a bounty of fresh seafood (octopus, tuna, monkfish, shrimp, sardines, clams, snails) rules the city's kitchens, from Michelin-starred restaurants to gourmet-food markets to countless corner tascas (taverns). Top-grade Alentejan beef beckons with juicy steaks and gourmet burgers; and you'll find everything from tantalising Indian curries to authentic Moroccan couscous in-between.

LAST cALL LISBON! The absence of open-container laws and cheap booze means Lisbon loves a night on the town! Don't be fooled by Bairro's Alto's sleepy daytime feel – by night, these narrow cobbled lanes transform into one of Europe's most raucous drinking addresses. Student dives, traditional fado houses, upscale wine bars and LGBT hotspots merrily coexist among the muddled mess. In Cais do Sodré, 'Pink Street' and environs are home to some of the city's classic nightclubs and best cocktail bars, while trendier megaclubs stretch along the waterfront from Santos to Santa Apolónia. Last call? Sunrise!

defined as before or aer the earthquake – and the Pombaline architecture that defined post-quake Lisbon reconstruction counts as some of the first seismically protected constructions in Europe.

MIRADOURO MANIA: ScENIc cITY vIEWS Lisbon's trademark seven hills are peppered across the cityscape like loy guardians of colour and history. Capped by a collection of terraces known as miradouros (viewpoints), a must-see web of no-filter-necessary views over Lisbon, the Tejo and beyond is formed. Our favourite miradouros – Portas do Sol, São Pedro de Alcântara, da Graça, da Nossa Senhora do Monte, Santa Luzia and, of course, Castelo de São Jorge – all offer stunning spots to get your bearings and while away aernoons overs bicas (espresso), elegant glasses of Touriga Nacional or refreshing pitchers of sangria, while rubbernecking the city's stupendous horizons.

THE GREAT LISBON EARTHqUAKE You couldn't blame your average lisboêta for thinking of the apocalypse when the ground gave way just before 10am on 1 November, 1755. What followed was up to eight astonishing minutes of city-shaering shaking spread across three tremors, followed 40 minutes later by a massive, city-engulfing tsunami, culminating in a weeklong firestorm that incinerated what lile was initially spared. Lisbon was decimated. Today, the modern city is shaped by that cataclysmic day – nearly everything is

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WORLD SPA AWARDS 27 OCTOBER 2018


WORLD SPA AWARDS  2018

www.worldspaawards.com


KitzbüheL AUStRiA 16-18 NOvEmBER 2018


WORLD SKi AWARDS  KitzbüheL 2018

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WORLD GOLF AWARDS La maNga CLuB, SpaiN | 1-4 NOvEmBER 2018


WORLD GOLF AWARDS  2018

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A magazine to tantalise your senses, a place to think and be luxurious, published daily l , weekly ly l and monthly ly l . Luxury is much ly more than expensive things. It is about appreciation, the experience and time. Luxury is a state of mind and a life f sty fe t le choice. ty

LUXURY R REDEFINED. RY Luxury news, now available to explore daily, weekly & monthly

www.worldluxurymedia.com


Ricardo Lizano CEO Toro Verde Chris O’ Toole, Editor, Breaking Travel News catches up with Ricardo Lizano, Chief Operating Officer, Toro Verde to find out more about the world’s longest and highest zip line

BTN: Ricardo - you head up one of Ras Al Khaimah’s most exciting tourist attractions – the world’s longest zip line. What can you tell me about it? Ricardo Lizano: We have the biggest cable in the world. It’s in the Guinness Book of World Records. It’s an amazing experience. The views of the Jebel Jais Mountains are beautiful and we’ve taken advantage of that! You can take a ride, have an adventure and see the mountains at the same time. BTN: I know you’ve had some key figures of Ras Al Khaimah try out the attraction, how’s it been received by your first visitors? RL: We’ve had VIP’s from all over the UAE. From Ras Al Khaimah we’ve received His Royal Highness and his sons. They love it and they keep coming back and

spreading the word.

parties.

BTN: Already recognised by the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest zip line in the world, but this is just the start and I understand you’re opening up a second phase?

BTN: You’ve certainly been very successful so far and have been recognised as the Middle East Leading Adventure Tourism Attraction by the World Travel Awards. How does it feel?

RL: Yes that’s right. Toro Verde is not just a ride – it’s a park. This is the first ride of a park we are building. Phase two will start in the next couple of months. We are aiming to be open by the end of this year, early next with more rides on offer.

RL: It’s an honour to be nominated for this prestigious award. This is a huge thing for us. We’re just beginning and have only been open for a couple of months and we have reached this stage. We are very happy.

BTN: We’re here at AHIC in Ras Al Khaimah, how important is this attraction to this destination? RL: I think it’s very important. Around the hotels you need attractions. Visitors come to the hotels and they need things to do. We are an essential part and it’s a win-win situation for both

AHIC SPECIAL EDITION APRIL 2018


INTERVIEW

breakingtravelnews.com


van Paasschen urges Middle East hospitality to wake up to disruption Frits van Paasschen has warned hoteliers in the Middle East that digital disruption is radically altering the market in which they operate.

AHIC SPECIAL EDITION APRIL 2018


FEATURE

Change is coming, whether they are prepared or not, he warned. Pointing to the impact of Booking.com and Airbnb – both of which have grown to dominate sections of the industry in recent years – he warned traditional hotel companies they would have to change in order to survive. “The biggest mistake we make is to keep doing the same thing and expect the same results,” van Paasschen warned. Established interests, change-blindness, and set ways of working make it nearly impossible for incumbents to survive, he added. “We suffer from change-blindness: humans and companies overestimate their ability to understand the world around us. “We focus on what we are doing, what we do well, and we tend to lose sight of what is happening around us,” van Paasschen explained.

breakingtravelnews.com

Self-interest also played a role in the downfall of large organisations, the former Starwood Hotels & Resorts chief executive said. “If you are a successful business, you do not wish to disrupt it. This is a hard sell to investors – to explain that you want to cannibalise your own business.” However, this desire for change is essential in those organisations which prosper, van Paasschen argued on day one of the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference in Ras al Khaimah. “You wake up one day and you realise you are in big trouble,” he warned an industry audience. “Either you did not see that change coming, or you did see that change coming, and you did nothing about it.”


Meet the advisory board: Arabian Hotel Investment Conference 2018 Industries, and member of the Saudi Korean Business Council at the Council of Saudi Chambers. A holder of Master of Science in Project Management and a Bachelor of Architecture with Honors from KFUPM, Dhahran, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; Certification in Strategic Hospitality Management from Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA; and an Alumni of the Entrepreneurs Development Executive Training, University of California at San Diego, California, USA.

Muhammad Al Amir Managing Director, Riyada International Hotels & Resorts Co. Ltd Muhammad Al-Amir is the Founder and Managing Director of Riyada International Hotel and Resorts Company Ltd.: the exclusive master developer and operator of the Wyndham Hotel Group’s two prominent brands: Ramada and Days Inn in Saudi Arabia. He has previously held several executive roles in several distinguished organizations such as Saudi Aramco, Accor Group, SEDCO, and Elaf Hotels. He is currently the vice chairman of the Board at the Saudi Hotels Association , a member of of Real Estate Committee of Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and

AHIC SPECIAL EDITION APRIL 2018

Dr Badr Al Badr Chief Executive Officer, Dur Hospitality Dr. Badr bin Hamoud Al Badr, a veteran business leader, a published author, and a blogger is the Chief Executive Officer of one of the oldest Saudi publicly listed companies in Saudi Arabia, Dur

Hospitality Company. Established in 1976, the Saudi Joint Stock hospitality company is recognized for its extensive record in managing, developing and operating a wide portfolio of hotels and residential compounds across the kingdom. Prior to being with Dur, Dr. Badr held many leading positions in local and multinational companies, earning him numerous “Best Manager” awards during his career. He was the MD of Cisco Systems Saudi Arabia which, and under his leadership, twice won the top “Best Work Environment” Award in Saudi Arabia, he was also the CEO of AwalNet Company and CEO of Al Alamiah Internet and Communication Company. Dr. Badr earned his masters and PhD from Washington University, USA and his B.A degree from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran. An entrepreneur and contributor to leading and developing emerging business, Dr. Badr actively participated in many leadership programs at several renowned universities including Oxford, Cornell, and George Washington University. Dr. Badr sits on the board of directors of a number companies and he is also a thought leader and activist on social media, offering a one-stop source of information on the hospitality industry. He preserved his position as the 17th most influential hotelier for the


AHIC 2018

second year in a row in the Middle East on the 2017 ‘Power 50’ list issued by Hotelier Middle East, and was ranked 25th in the same list 2015. He also held the 65th position on the list of top 100 CEO in the GCC for the year 2016 by TRENDS magazine and INSEAD – international business school. Dr. Badr is a regular speaker at major conferences such as Saudi Arabia Hotel Investment Conference (SHIC), Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC), Global Competitive Forum, Hospitality Summit, and IPD MEA Summit.

Saad Al Qahtani Accommodation Sector Manager, Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities Sanjeev Agarwala Chief Operating Officer, Habtoor Hospitality and Al Habtoor Investment, Al Habtoor Group Sanjeev Agarwala is currently the Director Strategy and Business Development of Al Habtoor Group LLC. He is member of the Executive Committee for major business verticals of the Group. He is an experienced Hotelier with more than 23 years in the Hospitality industry. Sanjeev was the Group CFO from 2009 till 2011& Chief Investment Officer of Al Habtoor Group from 2007 to 2009. During this time, he was involved in transactions relating

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Khalid a 53 yr old Finnish citizen of Moroccan origin, holds a Masters in Business Administration from the Strathclyde University, United Kingdom.

to Real Estate, Equity, Derivatives & Fixed Income. Prior to this Sanjeev was in charge of the Hospitality division of Al Habtoor Hotels in various capacities, last of which was Chief Financial Officer, Habtoor Hotels. Sanjeev joined the Al Habtoor Group in 1997 after spending 2 years in Nairobi, Kenya and 7 years with ITC Limited in India. He is a Chartered Accountant from India and a CPA from USA. Also, regularly lectures at the Becker USA AICPA classes. He is a graduate from St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata; and a trained Co Active Life Coach from CTI California, USA. Sanjeev and his wife have one son and one daughter. His Son is studying at the McIntire School of commerce @ University of Virginia, USA & daughter at Gems Modern Academy, Dubai.

Khalid Anib Chief Executive Officer, Abu Dhabi National Hotels PJSC With more than 25 years in the hospitality industry, Khalid had the opportunity to manage various hotels under well-reputed international hotel chains in different countries. Khalid has had exposure to different business models, resorts, city hotels and mix used development. Before joining Abu Dhabi National Hotels, Khalid spent 5 years in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He was the Managing Director of Al Hokair Group, where he played a key role in the group’s successful IPO. Prior to that, Khalid worked as General Manager for Accor & Banyan Tree.

Scott Antel Partner, Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP Scott Antel is an internationally regarded emerging markets hotels & hospitality lawyer. He has more than 20 years’ experience advising both owners/developers and international operators in the Middle East, Russia/CIS, Turkey, the Baltics and Asia on hotel, branded residence and mixed use developments. A senior partner in BLP's Abu Dhabi and Dubai offices, Scott recently joined BLP to lead the firm's "tier one" global Hospitality Practice in the Middle East as well as focus on developing the Russian, African and Asia Pacific practices. Scott regularly advises clients on all aspects of hotel, branded residence and mixed use development and operational matters, including litigation. He has acted on hundreds of hotel projects, including numerous landmark projects with major international hotel brands. He most recently advised on several luxury hotel and branded residence projects on Dubai’s iconic Palm Jumeirah. He also works in the franchise sector advising hotels, restaurants and retail clients. Scott is recognised as a “leading advisor” and “go to hospitality


lawyer” by Chambers Europe and Legal 500 law directories. He serves on the advisory board of the Russian and Arabian Hotel Investment Forums and is a regular speaker at events, as well the Berlin IHIF and is regularly published and quoted on hospitality related topics. Scott was recipient of the Russia/CIS Hotel Investment Forum's 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the industry in emerging markets, the only lawyer to ever receive this prestigious award.

Mohamed Awadalla Chief Executive Officer, Time Hotels An international hotelier with over 30 years’ experience, Mohamed Awadalla has worked with some of the leading global hospitality companies including Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, Hilton International, Rotana Hotels and now at TIME Hotels Management L.L.C where he was one of the founding members. After completing his studies at the German Academic Institute for Hotel Management in 1985, Awadalla began his career with the well-known Swiss hotel group, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, in the Egyptian city of Luxor. He then joined Hilton International in Luxor and was subsequently tasked with running the travel trade division out of the Area Sales Office in Cairo, with the responsibility of 12 properties. In 1996 Awadalla relocated to the UAE, and returned to operations, joining the Hilton Corniche

AHIC SPECIAL EDITION APRIL 2018

Residence team in Abu Dhabi as Rooms Division Manager. Recognising the Emirates’ burgeoning potential in the hospitality sector in 2000 he was appointed Director of Business Development for the Al Ain Hilton Hotel, where he spent two years driving the brand’s business strategies. Following his successful tenure with Hilton International, Awadalla was headhunted by UAEheadquartered Rotana Hotels and joined the Al Maha Rotana, Abu Dhabi, as General Manager in 2004. His reputation for operational excellence then saw him take on the role as opening General Manager for the new five-star Al Manshar Rotana in Kuwait City, where he quickly established brand presence, setting new standards of hospitality within the local market. Being one of the founders of TIME Hotels Management in 2007, Awadalla started as the Area Vice President. In 2012 he moved to the position of CEO with overall responsibility for the company’s Ten Hotels, Hotel Apartments and Residence with a remit to spearhead the future development and drive the commercial success of TIME’s rapidly expanding portfolio of Middle East and Northern Africa based properties.

Europe, Middle East and Africa for AccorHotels. He brings over 25 years of hospitality experience spanning across Europe and the Middle East within leading hotel companies, including Starwood Hotels & Resorts, InterContinental Hotels Group and FRHI Hotels & Resorts (Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel). It was with Starwood in 1993 as Project Controller Europe where Francois was responsible for numerous developments and hotel refurbishments and was a member of the acquisition team of Ciga Hotels. When he joined InterContinental Hotels Group in 2003, Francois held the position of Director of Corporate Finance Europe and subsequently Director of Development Europe. He first joined FRHI in 2007 as Vice President Development Europe and soon after added the Middle East and Africa to his portfolio as Senior Vice President for the luxury hospitality company. Francois is a graduate of IMHI Cornell/Essec in Paris (1993) and is based in Dubai.

Francois Baudin Senior Vice President, Development Luxury Hotels, Europe, Middle East & Africa, AccorHotels Francois Baudin has recently been appointed as Senior Vice President Development, Luxury Hotels for

Ignace Bauwens Regional Vice President Middle East and Africa, Wyndham Hotel Group Ignace Bauwens joined Wyndham Hotel Group as Regional Vice President, Middle East and Africa in 2016. Based in the company’s Dubai office, Bauwens joined WHG with almost 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry, including senior operations roles at Accor and InterContinental Hotels Group. Wyndham Hotel Group is the


AHIC 2018

world’s largest hotel company based on number of hotels and one of three hospitality business units of Wyndham Worldwide. Driving the democratisation of travel, Wyndham Hotel Group is elevating the experience of the everyday traveller, changing the game so every traveller – no matter how much they spend or how they like to travel – has an extraordinary experience. As both a leading hotel brand franchisor and hotel management services provider, the company’s global portfolio consists of more than 8,000 hotels and approximately 697,600 rooms in 77 countries. Wyndham Rewards, ranked number one hotel rewards programme for 2016-2017 by U.S. News & World Report, offers more than 49 million members the opportunity to earn and redeem points at 25,000 hotels, condos and homes globally. For more information, visit www.wyndhamworldwide.com.

René Beil Managing Director, Beaufort Global Partners LLC Beaufort Global Partners LLC is a private boutique Investment, Asset Management & Development Firm specializing in hospitality real estate and public market ownership with a focus on hotels, commercial buildings, residential projects, and industrial complexes. The firm is based in Dubai, UAE.

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Anil Bhardwaj Director, A.A. Al Moosa Enterprises LLC Anil Bhardwaj, a Chartered Accountant by profession, is a director with A.A. Almoosa Enterprises LLC, Dubai (The Arenco Group) for several years. The Group is a diversified conglomerate with interests in real estate, hotels, manufacturing, services and trade. As one of the largest landlords of Dubai it has, inter alia, several hotel and hotel apartment ownerships, with the hotels being managed by internationally renowned operators. The Group pioneered the hotel apartment concept in Dubai almost 25 years ago. Anil sits on the board of the group company that regularly interacts with the hotel operators and their management.

Ali Borhani Founder & CWO, Incubeemea Ali Borhani is the founder and the self-styled "Chief Welding Officer" of Incubeemea, which advises Senior Executives in Fortune 500 companies and allows them to enhance the value of their activities in the MENA region. Through his journey in the corporate world and start-ups, he has learned from both success and failure. Until 2010, he was the Director of Corporate Strategy & Business Development at Bosch Siemens in MEA, where he guided the strategic direction of the distributor network in 25 countries. Before that, he was the Regional Sales Manager for Philips Consumer Lifestyle, and its Business Excellence Manager. At Philips, Ali grew sales by 45% in less than three years and built a solid distributor network that has allowed the business to continue growing ever since. A Canadian with Iranian origins living in the UAE, Ali understands the sensitivities, markets and opportunities across the region. With hands-on experience at every key level and a deep understanding of MENA, Ali and his board open up a huge network of senior contacts across the region. His expertise and smart, often unconventional, but

always culturally correct and incisive strategic thinking have assisted his clients to outperform and break through barriers in some of the most demanding frontier markets. He mentors budding entrepreneurs in the region and also works with a number of not-for profit causes, NGOs and public private partnerships organizations, such as Gavi the Vaccine Alliance. Ali's very strong interest in people is best illustrated by a quote from world-famous choreographer Pina Bausch: "I'm not interested in how people move, but what moves them.”

Michael Byron Resident Director - UAE, SSH Michael is an Architect who has more than 25 years’ experience working on projects in Europe and the Middle East. Since his arrival in Abu Dhabi in 2010, Michael has applied his extensive experience in the delivery of major projects in Europe to the Middle East environment. As a talented organiser, he has continually applied his team management skills to the wider business, leading to him gradually taking senior management roles in the businesses he has joined. At SSH, Michael is responsible for overseeing all aspects of business development and client management, and is involved in bidding, negotiation and management of major contracts. Aided by his fluency in German and English, and his profound


understanding of the construction market in the Gulf region, he provides a key interface with our Middle Eastern clients, who can draw on this considerable experience. Michael graduated from Dublin’s University College with a Bachelor of Architecture Degree and is a member in Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland (RIAI).

Marc Dardenne Group Chief Operating Officer, Jumeirah Group Marc Dardenne joined Jumeirah in September 2016 as Group Chief Operating Officer and oversees Group operations across its international portfolio. Marc has a long and established career as a hotelier having worked internationally for more than 30 years. He has been instrumental in the development of a number of brands and curated guest experience across a range of diverse hospitality assets including hotels, branded residences, serviced apartments, resorts and clubs and brings his unique insight, global expertise and passion for hospitality to Jumeirah. Marc’s appointment hails his return to Dubai after 5 years in Singapore. His experience and distinct contribution will further enhance the Jumeirah management team as well as Jumeirah’s continued evolution as a world leading hospitality brand. A Belgium national, Marc has lived and worked in Europe, Africa, Asia

AHIC SPECIAL EDITION APRIL 2018

and the Middle East and is fluent in French, English and German.

Catalin Cighi Managing Partner, Cain Hospitality Innovation

Catalin works to reinvent decisionmaking in hospitality development. His time is divided between research (80%) and consulting (20%). To validate his findings - and fund the next round of research - he works with hospitality asset developers, tourism authorities and governments. His current focus is on experience design. To understand why people fall in love with places. To use these findings in development strategies that optimize $/m2. Before founding CHI in Dubai, Catalin worked in Europe and North America with companies such as PwC, HVS and The Economist Group.

Oliver Ebner Executive Director - Institutional Banking Group, First Abu Dhabi Bank Oliver Ebner has over 20 years of work experience in arranging and advising on transactions in Project Finance and Asset Finance for transactions in Middle East, Europe, US and Asia. At FAB he covers corporate and government clients which includes the arranging of large scale project as well as structured corporate financings for

local and international projects and supporting all aspects of clients’ requirements in the bank’s strategic focus areas. Prior to FAB he spent most of his time with WestLB and SEB in London on a wide range of limited recourse transactions, with a particular focus on the asset and leisure sector. His Project Finance experience includes transactions in real estate, transportation, energy, oil & gas, telecom, infrastructure and other sectors. He started his career with Merger & Acquisitions before moving to the Project Finance arena. Oliver is a German national with a degree in Business Administration & Economics from Augsburg University. He now lives in Abu Dhabi with his family.

Abdellah Essonni Chief Hospitality Officer, Maad International Co. An accomplished real estate and hospitality specialist with over 25 years of managerial experience in operations and development spanning four continents and encompassing the industry’s various facets, including opportunity identification, product definition, asset management and the oversight of several hotel openings with residential and commercial components. Abdellah is Chief Hospitality Officer at Maad International Co. a development conglomerate that’s preparing to deliver the largest hospitality complex in Makkah with 21 towers and almost 11,000 rooms


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in close vicinity to the Holy Haram. Before his current role, Abdellah was CEO at Abjar International Hotels, a subsidiary of Almulla Group of companies, that owns and operates a dozen managed and franchised hotels in Dubai under renowned global brands. Prior to that he held several senior positions globally with investment funds and major hotel chains such as Hyatt, Four Seasons, Jumeirah and Kempinski.

Mariano is a Spanish national and holds a Bachelor degree in Business Administration from the University International of Catalonia, Spain and a Master in Finance from EADA, Barcelona. Mariano is a regular speaker at prominent Hospitality Conferences in the Middle East. He also collaborates in multiple hotel sector publications related to Hotel Asset Management topics.

Mariano Faz Head of Asset Management, The First Group Mariano Faz is Head of TFG Asset Management in Dubai. www.tfgassetmanagement.com. He is responsible for the asset management of the company’s Hospitality and Real Estate portfolio which comprises over 3,000 units in the UAE and an additional 3,000 hotel units under development. During his tenure, Mariano has guided the strategic planning efforts to achieve investment objectives on behalf of owners. He provides leadership to the asset management team and ensures that the hotels are managed to the best of their capacity. Mariano is an active HAMA (Hotel Asset Management Association) member and also is part of the HSMAI (Hotels Sales & Marketing Association International) Advisory Board. Mariano brings over sixteen years of expertise within the hospitality sector, where he has held a number of management, finance and operational roles. He has successfully negotiated multiple hotel management contracts, coordinated pre-openings and possesses in-depth knowledge of hotel industry trends. Before joining TFG Asset Management, Mariano served as the SVP of JLL Hotels in Dubai where he focused on investment and advisory. Prior to that, he worked for Ilunion hotels as a Chief Operating Officer for three years and Barcelo hotels in Europe where he successfully managed to expand the brand through management contracts and lease contracts.

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Olivier Harnisch Chief Executive Officer, Emaar Hospitality Group An international hospitality management leader with over 30 years of experience, Olivier Harnisch is the Chief Executive Officer of Emaar Hospitality Group. He is mandated with driving the overall operations of the organisation with a focus on setting new benchmarks for Emaar Hospitality Group in Dubai and other international markets. He is responsible for the overall management strategy for 11 operational hotels and three serviced residences in Dubai, and the pipeline of over 30 projects in the UAE – in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Fujairah - as well as in international markets including Egypt, Maldives, Bahrain, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. With the goal of national and international expansion as well as enhancing productivity and profitability, Olivier leads the company in unlocking the potential of its three hotel brands – the premium luxury brand Address Hotels + Resorts, the upscale

lifestyle brand Vida Hotels and Resorts, and the contemporary midscale brand Rove Hotels. He is also responsible for the leisure clubs under Emaar Hospitality Group and the Lifestyle Dining assets. In addition, he will focus on further enhancing guest experiences and implementing new strategies that create long-term value for all stakeholders. Olivier joins Emaar from Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group in Brussels, where he was Chief Operating Officer, responsible for a portfolio of over 350 leased, managed and franchised hotels in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He has acquired in-depth expertise in all aspects of the hospitality business through multiple leadership roles across four continents. He has significant regional and international experience in both hotel and restaurant operations. Olivier started his career in 1986, and was initially associated with individual hotels, food and beverage operations and airlines for over 13 years, enabling him to gain strong insights in classic hospitality and in developing compelling guest experiences. He then worked for over 14 years with an international hotel chain where he held the position of Vice President for Northern and Central Europe, before taking up his last role in 2012. Olivier holds an MSc in Organisational Behaviour from the University of London, an MBA in International Finance from HeriotWatt University in Edinburgh and a Degree in Hospitality Management from Berlin School of Hotel Administration. Having worked across the globe, Olivier is fluent in six languages.

Rabih Feghali Vice President - Business Development & Investor Relations, Ròya International A graduate of Les Roches Hotel School in Switzerland and the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, Rabih has also received graduate


certification from Cornell University, New York. Responsible for Ròya's overall business development activities, Rabih spent the early part of his career working in New York City at iconic properties such as The New York Palace, The Plaza and the Westin before moving back to Abu Dhabi to run a boutique hotel. Prior to joining Ròya, he held the position of Director of Hospitality Development at FFA Real Estate in Beirut where he oversaw several hospitality development projects. His blended background combining hands-on knowledge in hotel operations and management, contract negotiation and real estate acquisition prepared him for the complex layers in business development. A regular panelist and moderator at hospitality investment conferences across the Middle East and Africa, his business focus and strength in communications, opportunity analysis and negotiation are all driven by a passion for every aspect of the hospitality industry.

Pascal Gauvin Managing Director, IMEA, IHG Pascal Gauvin is Managing Director, India, Middle East and Africa (IMEA), responsible for driving the growth and strength of IHG and its hotels across the region. Pascal’s previous role was Chief Operating Officer, IMEA, leading the operations and performance of more than 124 hotels as well as overseeing the strategic development of IHG’s plans, including the 74 hotels in the region’s development pipeline. Key to his role is maintaining and fostering relations with existing and new hotel owners. Pascal has a wealth of expertise in the hospitality business, starting his career in the Food & Beverage department. Pascal held several managerial positions at Accor and Hilton Hotels before joining IHG in 1993 as a Food and Beverage Manager at InterContinental Paris. He has been with IHG for more than 25 years, and has held a number of senior managerial positions in

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Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Africa, Lebanon, Qatar and UAE. A strong believer in the principles of ‘leadership by example’ as well as ‘empowerment’, he spends at least 50 percent of his time in the field to ensure that day-to-day operations and relations are in line with IHG’s standards. Pascal is a father of two and his favourite family getaway is Nice in France. Despite Pascal’s very busy schedule, he finds time to practice golf.

Zoltan Kali Head of Asset Management, OMRAN Zoltan is an experienced real estate investment professional with over 20 years of industry experience covering multiple senior managerial and leadership positions across geographies. His primary background is in hotel investments and asset management, but Zoltan has been involved in extensive work in real estate asset classes like office, residential and mixed use developments. He began his career in philanthropic organisations, then moved to KPMG, where he worked for a decade in the Real Estate, Leisure and Tourism sector for the Europe, Middle East and Africa. Previous to joining Omran, Zoltan was employed by the largest sovereign wealth fund of Oman (SGRF) where he was responsible for the hospitality portfolio and related transactions. Zoltan hold an MSc in Engineering, a Bachelor degree in social sciences and an MBA from the Weatherhead School of Management, Cleveland, Ohio, specialising in International Management and Finance. He is a certified asset manager from Cornell University School of Hotel Administration.

Ziad Khoury Chief Operating Officer, Abjar Hotels International LLC

Hala Matar Choufany President- Middle East and Africa, HVS Hala Matar Choufany is President for HVS Middle East and Africa and Managing Partner of HVS Dubai. In the last 15 years, Hala has worked on more than 850 hospitality projects, ranging from single to large scale mixed use developments and conducted numerous valuations, feasibility studies, operator search and contract negotiations, operational assessments, and general consultancy work in Europe, MENA and Asia. Hala has in-depth expertise in regional hotel markets and a broad exposure to international markets and maintains excellent contacts with developers, owners, operators, investment institutions and government entities. Hala has completed Executive Education at Harvard Business School and has an MBA from ESSEC & Cornell.

Paul Macpherson EVP Global Business & Real Estate Development, Kerzner International Paul Macpherson joined Kerzner International in March 2015 as the EVP Global Business & Real Estate Development. In his role at Kerzner, Paul will drive the business development strategy to continue the global expansion of Kerzner International’s brands. Paul joined Kerzner from Whitbread PLC, where he held the position of President & Managing Director for Whitbread Hotels & Restaurants International since


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2011. At Whitbread, Paul implemented the 10-year international expansion strategy for Premier Inn hotels. He built that company’s international presence, as well as established a robust development pipeline spanning from Saudi Arabia to Indonesia. Prior to joining Whitbread, Paul worked with Jumeirah where he held the position of Chief Development Officer from 2005, overseeing the entire development strategy of global expansion for the brand. He has also worked at Hilton International where he held the position of Vice President Development for Asia Pacific and Middle East since 1999. Paul has also held the position of Vice President - Asia Pacific at PKF Consulting in Hong Kong and Singapore since 1994. Prior to moving to Asia, Paul worked for the Royal Bank of Canada, Price Waterhouse and Air Canada.

establishment of several worldclass entertainment and hospitality assets throughout his career across multiple geographies. Today, Zaid oversees a strategic portfolio of leading hospitality assets and concepts in the US, Russia, Austria, Kazakhstan, Georgia and the UK. To compliment his track-record in the hospitality industry, Zaid has led the establishment of a state-ofthe-art branch campus of Austria’s leading private university in Dubai. With over 100 years of academic excellence, MODUL University is the world’s oldest and only institution offering degrees in the tourism and hospitality industry from the age of 14 to Ph.D.

team across the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe, Turkey and Russia and responsible for 126 trading properties with a further 100 in the pipeline, sharpening his aptitude in hospitality, travel and tourism. Mattar’s cross-continent experience and valuable global insights allow him to effectively lead Ras Al Khaimah’s destination growth strategy, through capturing existing and emerging source market movements and global tourism trends. Under Mattar’s leadership, Ras Al Khaimah is achieving continued growth in visitor numbers and netting a growing share of the global outbound tourism market. A Lebanese-born American citizen and Arabic speaker, Mattar holds a Bachelors degree in Marketing from the University of Central Florida, USA, and a MBA in Marketing from the University of Liverpool, UK, having completed a thesis on the sustainability of tourism in Dubai.

Haitham Mattar Chief Executive Officer, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority

Zaid Maleh Managing Director, MODUL University Dubai Zaid Maleh is the CEO of DACH ADVISORY, a fully-fledged investment and project management firm headquartered in Dubai with offices in Vienna & Moscow. A seasoned investment specialist with over a decade experience in emerging markets, an excellent international network of relationships and industries exposure. Zaid has led and managed the

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Haitham Mattar, CEO of the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, was appointed in May 2015 to drive the economic growth of Ras Al Khaimah by positioning the Emirate as a world-class destination for business and leisure tourism. With over 25 years of experience in global destination and hospitality management and marketing, Mattar has held senior roles with leading global brands including Marriott, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), and most recently Hilton Worldwide. As Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Hilton Worldwide, he was managing a 240+ strong

Jalil Mekouar Chief Executive Officer, Hotels, Majid Al Futtaim - Properties Jalil Mekouar is the Chief Executive Officer of Hotels at Majid Al Futtaim – Properties leading the business unit’s growth strategy across the entire portfolio of existing assets and new developments. Mr. Mekouar joined Majid Al Futtaim in July 2017, responsible for overseeing the company’s growth plans, performance and roadmap in alignment with Majid Al Futtaim’s vision of developing integrated


lifestyle destinations . With over 25 years’ international Real Estate and Hospitality experience, Mr. Mekouar has held senior regional and global roles across six continents with large public listed and Fortune 500 companies in corporate finance, investment strategy, asset management, corporate strategy, business development and hospitality operations of various asset classes including hotels, resorts, spas, time-share, retail, residential and mixed-use. Mr. Mekouar joins Majid Al Futtaim from leading advisory and asset management firms in the US where he was Managing Director and President, and spent several years with Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) as Managing Director for Middle East & Africa, based in Dubai, and Chief Operating Officer for the Americas, based in the US.

existing partners and local owners as well as developing new associations. He is adept at assessing market conditions and gathering intelligence, turning opportunities into business. A Lebanese/Gambian national, Elie has a BA in Hospitality Management & Tourism and an MBA in International Hospitality Management specialising in Hotel Real Estate and Finance from the renowned IMHI – ESSEC Business School in Paris. Prior to joining Radisson Hotel Group in 2010, Elie was part of the HVS team based in London and in Dubai where his focus was on conducting feasibility studies, valuations, ROI analyses and strategic advice across Europe the Middle East and Africa. He has also co-authored articles on a number of hospitality markets including Libya, Qatar and Lebanon.

Shane Moore Executive Director, Real Estate Banking, Middle East & Africa, Standard Chartered Bank

Elie Milky Vice President Business Development Middle East, North Africa & Turkey, Radisson Hotel Group In his current role, Elie is responsible for driving expansion opportunities in accordance with the group’s growth strategy across the Middle East and parts of Africa, which remains an area of focus for each of the core brands: Radisson Blu, Radisson, Park Inn by Radisson, Radisson RED and Radisson Collection. Elie’s strengths lie in his ability to forge strong relationships with

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Shane has 11 years experience in Banking and Corporate Finance throughout North America, Europe and The Middle-East. Shane joined Standard Chartered Bank in his current role in 2012 to develop the Bank’s Real Estate offering. Shane was previously with Deloitte, in their Corporate Finance team, where he helped expand their Debt & Capital Advisory platform in Ireland, advising on a variety of cross-border transactions including capital raisings, restructurings and FIG M&A transactions throughout Ireland, the UK and continental Europe across the Real Estate, Hotel & Leisure, Manufacturing and Financial Services industries. Shane holds a Bachelor of Laws Degree (LL.B) from University College Galway, a Bachelor of Business & Legal Studies Degree (BBLS) from University College Dublin, a Certificate in International Treasury Management from the Association of Corporate Treasurers and a Certificate in Islamic Finance from CIMA.

Rami A. Moukarzel Vice President Development & Acquisitions, Middle East & North Africa, Louvre Hotels Group Rami A. Moukarzel is the Vice President of Development & Acquisitions for Louvre Hotels Group in the Middle East & North Africa (MENA). A dynamic professional with a keen insight into the shifting regional hospitality marketplace, Rami has over 15 years of experience leading all aspects of hotel development and operations. He is responsible for overseeing business development and bringing people and resources together to support Louvre Hotels Group’s growth strategies in the region, in addition to directing the new modern branding initiatives the group aggressively takes on.

George Saad Sales & Marketing Director, Al Marjan Island George Saad is sales and marketing for Al Marjan Island. George, a 25year in real estate industry veteran, directs all marketing and sales strategies, Before joining Al Marjan Island, he held executive-level positions with Tecom Investment, and Emirates Airline. George holds a Master in Business Admiration from Manchester Business School

Gaurav Sinha Founder & CEO, Insignia Gaurav founded Insignia in 2003, and stands as the visionary mastermind behind the world’s first brand enrichment company, specializing in travel and destination creation. As a creative protagonist, Gaurav has accumulated a


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formidable portfolio of achievements that has solidified his status as an internationally recognized leader in his field. In 2014 Gaurav was noted as Indian Entrepreneur of the Year by Entrepreneur Middle East Magazine and has enjoyed a variety of accolades such as being listed at #47 in Arabian Business Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential Indians in the GCC. As much a philanthropist as an entrepreneur, Gaurav believes strongly in giving back and in 2009 set up Harmony House, a day shelter for the underprivileged in India with his wife Lucy Bruce.

Filippo Sona Director, Head of Hotels, (MENA Region), Colliers International Filippo Sona has been in the global hotel industry for the past 20 years working for International hotel companies and consultancies in UK, USA, Middle East and North Africa. Filippo is specialised in destination and hotel development for mixed uses and stand alone projects, market & financial feasibility study, operator selection and strategic asset management. Filippo understanding of management agreements has been an invaluable skill to global law firms as an expert witness in International Arbitrations.

Shafi Syed Jumeirah Shafi Syed joined Jumeirah in August 2016 as the Group Chief Development Officer. He is in charge of Jumeirah’s global growth and leads the Group’s development team and the development strategy. Reporting to Stefan Leser, Group CEO, Shafi brings over 25 years of development expansion experience across diverse hospitality sectors, including hotels and branded real estate, in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. He joined Jumeirah Group from Trump Hotels where he was Regional Vice President of development and acquisitions. He previously held senior positions in development and operations at Wyndham in London and Dubai, and Taj Hotels in India.

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Richard Thompson Editorial Director, MEED Richard Thompson is the Editorial Director of MEED. He is responsible for the content of MEED Magazine, MEED.com, MEED Projects & MEED Insights. A keen student of Middle East political and economic affairs, Richard regularly writes and contributes articles to the wider media, including Financial Times and the BBC. He is also a regular speaker on Middle East economy. Richard joined MEED as Managing Editor in February 2003. During his time at MEED, he has covered many areas of the Middle East economy including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon. He was named MEED editor in April 2007 and become Editorial Director in February 2010. He has a Masters degree in International Relations, and a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering with Management Law. Prior to becoming a journalist he worked in the UK construction industry for Atkins and for Laing O’Rourke.

Norman Vaz Head of Operations, wasl Hospitality & Leisure Philip Wooller Area Director Middle East, STR Based in Dubai, Philip leads STR’s business development and client relations for the Middle East and Africa region. He spent two decades in hospitality, and his career has spanned several senior positions in hotel operations and management, sales, marketing and revenue management for a variety of hotel companies. Philip joined The Bench in 2006 and transferred to the STR team in 2008.

Jonathan Worsley Chairman and Founder, Bench Events Jonathan Worsley, Chairman of Bench Events, is one of the founders and organisers of multiple leading

international conferences for the hotel investment industry, including the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference in Dubai, now in its 14th year, The Summit in London, the Asia Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference and the Africa Hotel Investment Forum. More recently, Jonathan and his team have entered the Latin America market partnering with SAHIC in Cuba and Buenos Aires and the inaugural Iran Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference in 2017. Bench Events has also branched out into the related fields of aviation and F&B, with the respective launches of AviaDev Africa, inaugurated in 2016, and The Global Restaurant Investment Forum now in its fourth year. Jonathan and his colleagues are actively involved raising money for the communities in which Bench Events works. They raised more than £200,000 for TUSK, Cancer Research and the Rwanda Cricket Stadium Foundation by participating in the Kili Madness challenge and breaking the World Record for the highest game of cricket ever played on top of Kilimanjaro. In 2016, Jonathan cycled from Amsterdam to Berlin with nine others for the opening of IHIF and raised funds for the Anne Frank Trust and Future Talent, a feat he will tackle again in 2017. Jonathan is a Trustee of Future Talent, a charity that provides financial support to gifted young musicians in need of financial assistance to pursue their dreams and talent.


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Meet the speakers: Arabian Hotel Investment Conference 2018 His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi is a Member of the Supreme Council of the United Arab Emirates and the Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah. Born in Dubai in 1956, Sheikh Saud was educated in Ras Al Khaimah before attending the American University of Beirut. He later transferred to the University of Michigan, graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics. Upon his return from the United States in 1979, Sheikh Saud was appointed Chief of the Ruler’s Court, where he supported his father Sheikh Saqr’s ruling vision to modernize the administration and operations of the Government of Ras Al Khaimah. In 1986, he became the Chairman of the Ras Al Khaimah Municipal Council and continued his work to improve the Emirate’s infrastructure and governance practices. During this period, Sheikh Saud also founded RAK Ceramics, restructured Julphar Pharmaceuticals, and introduced many commercial and social projects to Ras Al Khaimah. Today, RAK Ceramics is the world’s largest ceramics company by sales volume,

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and Julphar is a leading pharmaceuticals company in the MENA region. Sheikh Saud was named Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah on 14 June 2003. Following his appointment, he immediately embarked on a wide ranging campaign of reforms that accelerated the emirate’s social and economic development. Capitalizing on Ras Al Khaimah’s assets, including its location, geography, and long heritage of trade and exchange, Sheikh Saud oversaw the introduction of free zones and industrial parks, efficient business licensing procedures, and offshore corporate registration. Fueled by investment in tourism, manufacturing, and real estate, the Emirate enjoyed consistently robust GDP growth and attracted international attention as an emerging business destination.

Keith Barr Chief Executive Officer, IHG

His Excellency Mohamed Alabbar Founder & Chairman, Emaar Properties A global entrepreneur with active interests in real estate, retail, luxury hospitality and now e-commerce, technology, logistics and the food industry, Mohamed Alabbar is the Founder Chairman of Emaar Properties, the leading developer of iconic assets such as Burj Khalifa. A graduate of Finance and Business Administration from Seattle University in the U.S.A., Mr. Alabbar also holds an Honorary Doctorate from the same University.

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Keith has been Chief Executive Officer of IHG® since July 2017. He is responsible for implementing IHG’s strategy for high-quality growth and generating industry leading value creation for hotel owners, operators and shareholders. This strategy focuses on strengthening a diverse portfolio of differentiated brands, building scale in key markets, creating lifetime guest relationships, and delivering highly profitable revenues to hotels. Keith has spent more than 25 years working in the hospitality industry across a wide range of roles, having started his career in hotel operations. He has been a member of IHG’s Executive Committee since April 2011 and served as Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) for four years before being appointed CEO. Prior to his role as CCO, Keith spent four years as CEO of IHG’s Greater

China business, where under his leadership, IHG drove outstanding results and helped set the foundations for growth in a key market. Keith joined IHG in 2000 and subsequently held a number of senior positions, including Vice President of Operations for Midscale brands in North America, Vice President of Operations for the Holiday Inn brand in North America and Chief Operating Officer for Australia, New Zealand, and South Pacific. Prior to joining IHG, Keith held several senior positions at Bristol Hotels and Resorts, which was acquired by IHG in 2000. He is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and is currently a member of its Leland C. and Mary M. Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship Advisory Board.


Maha Abouelenein Managing Director, OC "Organizational Consultants" Maha Abouelenein is one of the MENA region’s top communications executives. From working with tech giants like Google and Netflix to homegrown regional brands like Careem and Orascom, Maha has built her career advising Fortune 500 companies, high growth tech startups, and top government bodies in the USA, UAE, and Egypt. She is the founder of Organizational Consultants, and founder of DigitalandSavvy.com a blog about communications in the Middle East. Raised and educated in Minnesota (USA) to Egyptian parents, she is home in both West and Arab worlds. She thrives on storytelling, building scalable campaigns, and thought leadership. Maha is a Mentor in Residence for TechStars and works with start-ups across the region to learn how to maximize their reputation currency and communicate better.

Hassan Ahdab President of Hotel Operations, Dur Hospitality Hassan Ahdab, is the President of Hotel Operations for Dur Hospitality, a leading Saudi grown hospitality company. At present, he oversees operations, aligns the company’s overall vision to the growth of the Hotel’s portfolio across Saudi Arabia and manages 9 operating hotels and 6 hotels currently under development. Beginning his career in 1979, Hassan Ahdab now possesses over 30 years of rich experience in hospitality and has thereby been recognized as a stalwart and one of the most progressive and energetic leaders in the industry. Prior to his current role, Hassan Ahdab held several significant positions in the finance and operations sectors including CEO at Retaj Hospitality Group – Doha, Vice President and Regional Director for Africa & Indian Ocean Operations for Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Managing Director on assignment in

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Seychelles, General Manager for Le Meridien Libreville - Gabon, Complex Manager of Le Méridien l’Habitation and Le Domaine de Longvilliers - Saint Martin, as well as Area General Manager of Le Méridien Hotels in the Caribbean & French West Indies.

are lucky enough to be able to walk around without a crutch, you might as well go for it.” It didn’t stop him from undertaking the hottest journey, the Marathon des Sables, a 159 mile run over six days in temperatures over 50C through the Saraha.

Complimenting his multi-faceted skills of hotel operations and management, Hassan Ahdab holds a Bachelor Degree in Economics, Commerce & Accounts Management from Damascus University, and also received the CEHMI (Geneva) honorary title – Executive Doctor for International Relations.

Ran inspires and entertains conference and after dinner audiences throughout the world. Presentations draw a connection between nature’s most dangerous and difficult challenges, and the day-to-day hurdles we all face. Teamwork, determination, patience, discipline and creative thinking are all critical in expeditions; we may not risk our own lives, but the parallels are clear even in less hazardous occupations.

Sir Ranulph Fiennes World's Greatest Living Explorer Often described as the ‘World’s Greatest Living Explorer,’ Ran Fiennes is the first person to reach both North and South Poles by foot. He also made it into the record books by completing seven marathons on seven continents (including Antarctica) in seven days – soon after receiving emergency heart surgery. Only then did he take up climbing, starting with the North Face of the Eiger. At the age of 65, at his third attempt, Ran became the oldest Briton to conquer Everest. Amongst an incredible catalogue of adventures and extreme tests, Ran has recently undertaken The Coldest Journey, an attempt to cross Antarctica on foot during the southern winter where the temperature falls to minus 90°C. He was forced to withdraw when he suffered severe frostbite, but still claims that “if you

As well as the execution, Ran explains the challenge of preparing and raising £40 million in sponsorship, finding the right volunteers and planning complex journeys beset by political, personal, geographical, financial and physical obstacles. To him, building a team with the right balance of character and attitude is paramount. Persistence, tolerance, fitness, agility and the ability to perform


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under extreme pressure are all factors in Ran’s remarkable endeavours as they are in any competitive environment. As well as the personal challenge, there is another dimension to the expeditions. A huge amount of scientific research has been carried out by Ran’s teams, and charities such as Marie Curie and the Multiple Sclerosis Society have benefited to the tune of many millions.

Saad Audeh Visionary & Developer, Audeh Group Saad Issa Audeh, entrepreneur, visionary and shareholder of the Audeh Group, a family business formed in 1990 which is now a conglomerate of over 30 companies operating in 11 countries across Europe, Near & Middle East, GCC and Africa. Mr Audeh achieved a degree from the University of Reading in Electrical & Electronic Engineering and later, in 1991, he joined the family business and developed a powerful network of interconnecting business operations and business partnerships. He was responsible for the introduction of numerous products for international brands including Heinz and Nabisco and other FMCG in the former Soviet Union. Mr Audeh’s creativity and clever use of design served him well when he created a coffee brand from concept to sale and distribution. Over the years, his ability to identify, attract and nurture new business as a result of his strong networking skills has ultimately resulted in mutually beneficial and successful business relationships within a diverse international market. His visionary skills attracted him to one of his current projects within the US $5 Billion Al-Abdali development in Amman, Jordan, a unique Real Estate Development Project. This mixed-use development will become a new visible centre for Amman and act as the major business district in one of the region’s fast growing cities.

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Mr Audeh initially connected with Campbell Gray Hotels to brand and operate his part of the project and in doing so, he saw the potential to expand his portfolio into the service and hospitality industry. Having now acquired Campbell Gray Hotels as part of the Audeh Group, “Campbell Gray Living”, the brand, has recently launched the company’s residential, office and retail spaces. Always looking to the future, Mr Audeh is also involved in developing ecological and environmentally friendly products which include Water solutions and Renewable energy. Mr Audeh’s varied interests include playing polo and shooting.

Stephen Sackur Presenter, HARDTalk

to Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia and the bioscientist Craig Ventor. Distilling his notes for a series of articles, Stephen identified the five qualities they all seemed to share: an indestructible will, passion (almost beyond reason), outrageous optimism, a super-sized ego and a ‘rebel yell.’ These interviews have also given him an insight into how organisations can best bring about innovation: “You need to find ways to assess individuals on their merits, and give rewards for innovative thinking rather than play-it-safe mediocrity. You should encourage insiders to get outside and bring back fresh insights. And you shouldn’t confuse seniority with creativity.”

Stephen Sackur is presenter of HARDtalk, the current affairs interview on BBC World and the News Channel. His subjects have included the heads of NATO and OPEC, Shimon Peres, Gore Vidal and Richard Dawkins.

Away from set-piece interviews Stephen has served in Brussels, reporting on day-to-day stories from the major European institutions and across the continent. Before that he was Washington Correspondent, where his coverage and analysis of 9/11 won widespread acclaim.

For HARDtalk he has also interviewed a number of the world’s great innovators, from James Dyson

Ten years earlier it was Stephen who broke the story of the mass killing on the Basra road out of


Kuwait, marking the end of the Gulf War. He was then posted to Cairo and Jerusalem as Middle East Correspondent, where he reported on the emergence of the Palestinian Authority.

Frits van Paasschen Former President & CEO Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Author of The Disruptor's Feast Frits van Paasschen is a seasoned global executive and the author of The Disruptors’ Feast, an Amazon bestseller. His 30 years of experience inside global companies affords him a unique perspective on the trends that are reshaping the global economy. Frits shares his deep understanding of the forces of disruption in order to help businesses thrive in times of accelerating change. Frits spent more than a decade as a Fortune 500 CEO, first at The Coors Brewing Company and then at Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide. He also held several management positions at Nike, ultimately becoming Nike’s President of Europe, Middle East, and Africa. Prior to joining Nike, he worked in finance in Disney's Consumer Products Division.

His career began at The Boston Consulting Group and McKinsey & Company, where he primarily served retail and consumer clients. Frits is a frequent keynote speaker and advisor with a focus on disruption and strategy. He is a Senior Advisor at the private equity firm TPG Capital. He also serves on the Board of Directors for two public companies, Williams-Sonoma and Royal DSM, as well as two private companies, Apollo Hotels and Convene. He is an investor and advisor for citizenM Hotels. He has also been a Non-Executive Director at Barclays, Jones Apparel, and Oakley. Frits has also served numerous other boards: The EuropeanAmerican Industrial Council (as Chairman), The U.S.India and U.S.-China business councils, and The Center for Environmental Leadership in Business at Conservation International. He is currently a member of the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Authority advisory board. Frits holds a BA in Economics and Biology from Amherst College and an MBA from Harvard Business School. At Harvard, he was a Teaching Fellow in Economics. Originally from the Netherlands, Frits holds dual U.S. and Dutch citizenship.

A passionate traveller, he speaks five languages and has visited 115 countries. In his free time, he enjoys endurance sports, including marathons and triathlons. He has been married since 1990 and has three children.

Pierre-Frédéric Roulot CEO, Jin Jiang Europe CEO, Louvre Hotels Group Pierre-Frédéric Roulot is the CEO of Louvre Hotels Group, the international hospitality player based in Paris, France. He joined the Group in 2007, bringing more than 25 years of experience in the service industry including extensive knowledge in marketing, brand management, operations management and franchise network development. Since the acquisition of the group by the Chinese conglomerate Jin Jiang in March 2015, Pierre- Frédéric has been successfully collaborating with his new shareholder to smoothly integrate Louvre Hotels Group to their existing structure whilepursuing sound business development. In December 2015, in addition to his current role, Pierre-Frédéric was named CEO of Groupe du Louvre – the holding of Louvre Hotels Group – which has become the new European headquarters of Jin Jiang International. He is responsible for implementing European development strategies of Jin Jiang, supporting Louvre Hotels Group to achieve better performance, as well as facilitating and coordinating the growth of its brands in China. Prior to joining Louvre Hotels Group, Pierre-Frédéric spent 20 years with McDonald’s where he served in various strategic positions including Deputy Managing Director for France and Operations Director, Southern Europe. Pierre-Frédéric holds a Master’s Degree in Strategic Management from HEC Paris. A French citizen, he

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is married with two children and lives in Paris, France.

Louis Abboud Vice President Development Middle East, AccorHotels Louis Abi Abboud has diverse experience within the hospitality industry, having served on the property owner side as well as the hotel operator side. He began his career in hotel operations with Starwood Hotel and Resorts at the St. Regis Monarch Beach in California where he held management positions for a couple of years, before joining the Saudi Bin Ladin Group in Jeddah, as part of their Asset Management team overseeing a 3000+ keys portfolio of hotels in Makkah. Louis later moved to Dubai, joining international consultancy firm HVS. He then moved to Asset Management & Business Planning at Majid Al Futtaim Properties, to work part of the team overseeing eleven internationally branded properties in addition to several new hotel developments across the region. Since November 2014, Louis joined the development team of AccorHotels Middle East. Louis graduated from Sagesse University’s Faculty of Hospitality Management with an academic certification of École hôtelière de Lausanne with a Bachelors of Science in Hospitality Management. He also holds a certification in Real Estate Investment and Asset Management from Cornell University.

Federico J. González President & CEO, Radisson Hotel Group & Chairman of the Global Steering Committee of Radisson Hotel Group Federico J. González is the President & CEO of The Radisson Hotel Group, and Chairman of the Global Steering Committee of Radisson Hotel Group. He joined Rezidor in

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May 2017 from the Carlson Hospitality Inc. where he served as the Chief Executive Officer, since January 2017. Federico has extensive global executive leadership experience in the hospitality, leisure and FMCG sectors. Prior to joining Carlson, he has worked as the Chief Executive Officer of NH Hotel Group – where he led a major turnaround of the company – and as Deputy General Manager of Disneyland Paris. He previously spent 16 years in senior management positions at Procter & Gamble in Madrid, Brussels, and Stockholm before becoming the company’s Country Head of Portugal in 2000. A respected marketer and hotelier, Federico has written three books: Living and Working Abroad; How to Live and Work with Portuguese, Cómo Hacerse El Sueco En Los Negocios Con Exito; and How to act as a Swedish Manager! Federico is a European at heart – with a truly global mindset. His leadership style fosters innovation, creativity and an unfailing commitment to customer

experience. As a global leader, Federico’s personal mission is to motivate and energize large organizations to be more ambitious – in profitability, purpose and people – through respect for diversity of thoughts, culture, gender, experience and beliefs. Federico majored in Economics at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and received a Masters of International Trade and Finance from the École Supérieure de Commerce de Paris. He is fluent in English, Spanish, Portuguese and French. Federico is a family man, devoted to his wife – Begona (a strong advisor and partner to his career success, and a key contributor to his writings), and his two daughters and a son. He is a true champion of Women in Leadership, and he doesn’t need a slogan or campaign to prove that. In his spare time (which is rare), he loves to write. His motto in life is: “Enjoy the journey! The only thing that lasts is the impact you have on people. Try to do what you, the best you can. And on the way, have fun.”


Basim Al-Ahmadi Co-Founder, Global Risk Insights; Consultant, SET Advisory Basim Al-Ahmadi is a thought leader, political risk consultant and co-founder of a leading publication. Basim manages the Middle East & North Africa practice at SET Advisory, a leading boutique business intelligence firm based in London. SET Advisory provides due diligence, corporate investigations, political risk assessments and market entry studies across Africa, Middle East, Latin America and Western Europe. Basim is also the co-founder of Global Risk Insights (GRI), a world leading publication providing political risk analysis for the business community. GRI have over 200 analysts on their team, ranging from former presidential advisors, diplomats, industry experts to professors. The publication has been widely referenced, including by leading think-tanks, financial institutions, military generals, former foreign ministers and major media outlets such as BBC World, Reuters, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Politico and many others. Basim was also previously the Editor of Bonds & Loans, a leading debt market publication based in London, read by bankers, investors and lawyers worldwide. He is a regular speaker at conferences and universities around the world and has been hosted on various media outlets, including CNBC Arabia and Reuters. He holds a Masters degree in Theory & History of International Relations from the London School of Economics (LSE). At the LSE, he was the first President and cofounder of the LSE Political Risk & Investment Society, which has since won the Gold Stars Award.

Abdullah Al Abdouli Managing Director, Al Marjan Island Abdullah Al Abdooli, a qualified Architect and Urban Planner, is a senior contributor to the design and

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planning of the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah and its crown jewel, Al Marjan Island. His specialist areas of expertise include architecture, urban planning, interior design, project management and sustainable development. As Managing Director of Al Marjan Island, Al Abdooli leads the company’s real estate investment, development and strategy. He is a board member of AlMarjan Island LLC and works closely with the board to deliver the strategic plan and vision for the organisation. His priorities include establishing and building relationships with major institutions and developers. He actively engages all stakeholders as he continues to develop both the brand and the Al Marjan Island project into a highly regarded investment destination of choice, and proactively shapes partnerships within various investor categories.

include hotels, private villas and apartments, leisure facilities such as golf courses, marinas and supporting infrastructure. Orascom Development’s diversified portfolio of destinations is spread over nine jurisdictions (Egypt, Oman, Montenegro, Switzerland, UAE, Morocco and UK). The Group currently owns a total of 35 hotels with 8,016 rooms and controls approximately 100.3 million sqm of land. ODH operates several destinations: El Gouna in Egypt, Lustica Bay in Montenegro, Andermatt in Switzerland, Salalah and Jebel Sifah in Oman and The Cove in UAE.

In addition to being Managing Director and board member of Al Marjan Island LLC, Abdullah Al Abdooli is also Director, Town Planning, Ras Al Khaimah Municipality, and board of RAK Dredging.

Samih is a major shareholder of Orascom Construction Industries (OCI N.V.) a Dutch based global producer of natural gas-based chemicals and engineering and construction contractor with projects and investments across Europe, the Americas, Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. He is also a significant stakeholder in Lafarage (LG.FP); world leader in building material & major player in the cement, aggregates and concrete industries, operating in 64 countries and listed on the Paris Stock Exchange.

Abdullah Al Abdooli received his Master’s degree from Paris Sorbonne University, Abu Dhabi and his Bachelor’s from the American University of Sharjah.

In addition, Samih is a member of Sawiris Foundation which was founded in April 2001, with an endowment from the Sawiris family, dedicated to social development.

Samih Sawiris Chairman, ORASCOM Development Samih Sawiris, born in Cairo on the 28th of January 1957 as the middle son among three sons of Onsi Sawiris, founder and president of Orascom conglomerate. He received his Diploma in economic engineering from the Technical University of Berlin in 1980, Samih is married and has five children. He is the founder and Chairman of Orascom Development Holding (ODH.SW), a Swiss-incorporated company listed on the Swiss Stock Exchange (SIX). Orascom Development is a leading developer of fully integrated destinations that

Dr Badr Al Badr Chief Executive Officer, Dur Hospitality Dr. Badr bin Hamoud Al Badr, a veteran business leader, a published author, and a blogger is the Chief Executive Officer of one of the oldest Saudi publicly listed companies in Saudi Arabia, Dur Hospitality Company. Established in 1976, the Saudi Joint Stock hospitality company is recognized for its extensive record in managing, developing and operating a wide portfolio of hotels and residential compounds across the kingdom. Prior to being with Dur, Dr. Badr held


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many leading positions in local and multinational companies, earning him numerous “Best Manager” awards during his career. He was the MD of Cisco Systems Saudi Arabia which, and under his leadership, twice won the top “Best Work Environment” Award in Saudi Arabia, he was also the CEO of AwalNet Company and CEO of Al Alamiah Internet and Communication Company. Dr. Badr earned his masters and PhD from Washington University, USA and his B.A degree from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran. An entrepreneur and contributor to leading and developing emerging business, Dr. Badr actively participated in many leadership programs at several renowned universities including Oxford, Cornell, and George Washington University. Dr. Badr sits on the board of directors of a number companies and he is also a thought leader and activist on social media, offering a one-stop source of information on the hospitality industry. He preserved his position as the 17th most influential hotelier for the second year in a row in the Middle East on the 2017 ‘Power 50’ list issued by Hotelier Middle East, and was ranked 25th in the same list 2015. He also held the 65th position on the list of top 100 CEO in the GCC for the year 2016 by TRENDS magazine and INSEAD – international business school. Dr. Badr is a regular speaker at major conferences such as Saudi Arabia Hotel Investment Conference (SHIC), Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC), Global Competitive Forum, Hospitality Summit, and IPD MEA Summit.

Yousif Al Eid Vice President of Investment and Business Development, Dur Hospitality breakingtravelnews.com

Yousif Al Eid, the Vice President of Investments & Business Development at Dur Hospitality, holds an extensive background in hospitality and banking with over 20 years of experience focused on investment analysis, mergers and acquisition, private equity in the region. Prior to his position at DUR Hospitality, Yousif held several leading positions in renowned investment banking organizations, among which he was a co-founder and partner at Select Capital, Bahrain & KSA and the Vice President of Investment at Addax Investment Bank, and CEO for Addax Saudi Arabia. Yousif`s role at Dur Hospitality includes but is not limited to overseeing feasibility and investment analysis and market study for each of Dur`s projects and its expansion strategy spread across the Kingdom. He also oversees the development and acquisition of new sites in secondary and tertiary cities in Saudi Arabia. Yousif holds a Hospitality Degree from the renowned Swiss Association and the American Hotel and Motel Association, and also obtained his BBA from the European University in Geneva, Switzerland.

Fardan Ali Al Fardan Senior Investment Advisor at Equitativa (Emirates REIT Manager) Mr. Fardan has more than 8 years of experience in corporate real estate in Dubai, and the UAE as well as Europe. He has a wide-range of valuation experience as well as local market knowledge. Mr Fardan's specialist field is in Real Estate and Real Estate related transactions and has closed a number of successful transactions in both UAE and Europe. Mr. Fardan holds a Bachelor Degree in Business Management from The American

University in Dubai and a Certified Diploma in Real Estate Management from Dubai Real Estate Institute.

Mustafa Al Hashimi Chief Hospitality & Lesiure Officer, wasl Hospitality As the Chief Hospitality & Leisure Officer at wasl, he leads a team that currently asset manages a portfolio of twelve hotels with over 5,000 rooms and 80 restaurants along with managing two leisure facilities, Emirates Golf Club and Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club. The Dubai-based hotel portfolio includes six hotels under the Hyatt Group; four under Marriott/Starwood Group and two under the Hilton brand. In addition to the asset management role he is also overseeing the development of a further 13 hotels adding another 5,000 rooms to the portfolio with new brands such as Mandarin Oriental, Bellagio, MGM, Hampton Inn, Aloft and Elements. Prior to that, Mustafa served as the General Manager of Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club. He was responsible for the entire operation of one of the most prestigious golf resorts in the Middle East. This includes management of the second largest membership base, an 18 hole championship golf course, a 9 hole Par 3 course, golf academy, seven restaurants and a variety of leisure & recreation facilities along with 92 luxury residential villas and a 121 berths. Over 5 years, Mustafa was able to efficiently transform the structure and culture of the organization resulting in an exponential financial growth year on year whilst winning multiple international and local awards in both service excellence and facility/restaurant management. Mustafa began his career in the Oil & Gas Industry and was employed by Schlumberger; the largest oilfield services company in the world, working as an Engineer In-Charge in the USA, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and


the UAE. He was the youngest high technology specialist in his field overlooking one of the largest offshore operations in the company. Mustafa graduated from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering.

Ismail Al Kamal Director, AlKamal International Ismail Al Kamal is a Director for AlKamal International in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; an innovative interior design and turnkey contracting company with extensive experience in building leisure and hospitality projects since 2006. He is currently responsible for business and strategy development within the company and leads the company’s most challenging hospitality construction projects. Ismail is most famous for leading the design and build effort for Jabal Omar Development Company’s first phase of Penthouses and Villas in Makkah that were urgently executed in less than 8 weeks and sold in 2 days for over 200 Million US Dollars. He also led the fit-out and FF&E installation efforts in the Hilton Suites, Marriott, Hyatt, Conrad and Hilton Convention hotels as part of JODC’s branded hotel mega project in Makkah. Ismail is a certified Project Management Professional, holds a Master’s Degree in Electrical & Computer Engineering from the American University of Beirut in Lebanon and is an Advanced Study Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA. He is also a prominent author of a number of conference and journal publications in engineering.

stakeholders. He has over 22 years’ experience in international 5-star and luxury hospitality, with a career spanning 12 cities in 8 countries, across 4 geographical regions. After obtaining a degree at Les Roches International School of Hotel Management in Switzerland, Yannis’ career path included managerial and executive roles in hotel operations, project management, estate management and hotel development. Prior to joining RAK Hospitality Holding, Yannis was employed by Hilton International (Athens, London, Durban & Cairo), InternContinental Hotels Group (Miami, San Francisco, Toronto & Dubai) and Jumeirah Group (New York & Dubai). Since joining RAK Hospitality Holding in December 2013, Yannis has been tasked with establishment of the Company and its subsidiaries and oversees their operations.

Khalid Anib Chief Executive Officer, Abu Dhabi National Hotels PJSC With more than 25 years in the hospitality industry, Khalid had the opportunity to manage various hotels under well-reputed international hotel chains in different countries. Khalid has had exposure to different business models, resorts, city hotels and mix used development. Before joining Abu Dhabi National Hotels, Khalid spent 5 years in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He was the Managing Director of Al Hokair Group, where he played a key role in the group’s successful IPO.

Yannis Anagnostakis Chief Executive Officer, RAK Hospitality Holdings

Prior to that, Khalid worked as General Manager for Accor & Banyan Tree.

Yannis is a passionate and creative hospitality executive with a long track record in ‘turnaround’ projects and delivery of financial returns for

Khalid a 53 yr old Finnish citizen of Moroccan origin, holds a Masters in Business Administration from the

AHIC SPECIAL EDITION APRIL 2018

Strathclyde University, United Kingdom.

Mark Arnall Personal Trainer and Sports Therapist to F1 driver Kimi Räikkönen Mark Arnall is a world renowned health and fitness professional with 21 years of experience working in Formula 1. Over the past 16 years Mark has been a Personal Trainer and Sports Therapist to F1 driver Kimi Räikkönen and prior to that worked with Mika Häkkinen and David Coulthard. Mark has worked at Ferrari, McLaren and Lotus and won three World Championships with his drivers.

Mohamed Awadalla Chief Executive Officer, Time Hotels An international hotelier with over 30 years’ experience, Mohamed Awadalla has worked with some of the leading global hospitality companies including Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, Hilton International, Rotana Hotels and now at TIME Hotels Management L.L.C where he was one of the founding members.


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After completing his studies at the German Academic Institute for Hotel Management in 1985, Awadalla began his career with the well-known Swiss hotel group, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, in the Egyptian city of Luxor. He then joined Hilton International in Luxor and was subsequently tasked with running the travel trade division out of the Area Sales Office in Cairo, with the responsibility of 12 properties. In 1996 Awadalla relocated to the UAE, and returned to operations, joining the Hilton Corniche Residence team in Abu Dhabi as Rooms Division Manager. Recognising the Emirates’ burgeoning potential in the hospitality sector in 2000 he was appointed Director of Business Development for the Al Ain Hilton Hotel, where he spent two years driving the brand’s business strategies. Following his successful tenure with Hilton International, Awadalla was headhunted by UAE-headquartered Rotana Hotels and joined the Al Maha Rotana, Abu Dhabi, as General Manager in 2004. His

reputation for operational excellence then saw him take on the role as opening General Manager for the new five-star Al Manshar Rotana in Kuwait City, where he quickly established brand presence, setting new standards of hospitality within the local market. Being one of the founders of TIME Hotels Management in 2007, Awadalla started as the Area Vice President. In 2012 he moved to the position of CEO with overall responsibility for the company’s Ten Hotels, Hotel Apartments and Residence with a remit to spearhead the future development and drive the commercial success of TIME’s rapidly expanding portfolio of Middle East and Northern Africa based properties.

Jerad Bachar Executive Director – Investment Promotion – Tourism, Real Estate, Education, Healthcare Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) Jerad has over 25 years of tourism and economic development experience in an array of countries and business environments. He has worked in both developed and emerging markets in the areas of destination branding and marketing, economic development and diversification, and workforce development. Jerad moved to the GCC from Washington DC in 2008. His time in the region includes working for government entities in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, and Bahrain. He is currently leading investment promotion at the Bahrain Economic Development Board in the strategic economic sectors of tourism, real estate, education and healthcare.

Terence Baker Senior reporter, Europe, Hotel News Now / STR Terence Baker is senior reporter at Hotel News Now, the news vehicle of global hotels data bench marker STR and has responsibility for coverage of the Middle East and

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Europe. Having lived in London and New York City, Baker has written about hotels, tourism, hospitality, events and business travel for almost 20 years. He was the former managing editor and travel editor of the American Automobile Association’s Car & Travel magazine and has also written for Meetings & Conventions, Meetings & Incentive Travel and Travel Weekly. In his spare time, he searches for rare birds and runs marathons and ultramarathons, having run the former in 2:44:56 and the latter up to a recent 100 kilometres from London to the English Channel.

Dirk Bakker Head of Hotels EMEA, Colliers International Extensive Management expertise in the global market, with a focus on Sales & Marketing projects and M&A assignments. Strategic & Turn around management with clarity in vision and strategy, leading to tangible results. 25 years experience in hotel operational consulting & sales with a focus on database management based customer loyalty programs and hotel reservation systems in the global market. Formerly focused on emerging markets, leveraging extensive entrepreneurial expertise in Europe, India, China and Brasil. Since 2011 responsible for the Hotel Brokerage & Consultancy expansion for Colliers International in the EMEA region. Specialties: Multi country assignments, Strategic Marketing, International Business Development, M&A assignments; Turn around management; Hospitality consultancy and financial assignments. Imad Barrakad Chairman & CEO, Moroccan Agency for Tourism Development (SMIT) Since 2011, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Moroccan Agency for Tourism Development (SMIT), M. Imad BARRAKAD greatly contributed in the development of the national tourism sector. In fact, M. BARRAKAD worked effectively in the implementation of tourism projects within the National


degree in Finance and Economics. He is today a member of the Advisory Board to Boston University School of Hospitality

Strategic Vision 2020, which aims to make of the Kingdom among the top 20 destinations worldwide. Various projects were launched in order to diversify the final product that the Kingdom offers as the city of leisure and culture of Rabat and Casablanca, the Leisure City of Tamaouanza (Agadir), the Resort Desert Dakhla, Morocco's Cultural Theme Park in Marrakech etc…. It is to note that SMIT has also strengthened its support role of investment in the sector by restructuring Beach resorts in Morocco. Also, upon his arrival to SMIT, M. BARRAKAD strengthened the promotion actions of the company through an active participation to international events dedicated to the promotion of tourism investment in order to boost and maintain the investment attractiveness of the destination Morocco for tourism investment. Prior to joining SMIT, M. BARRAKAD was the head of Sales and Marketing at the Moroccan National Office of Electricity, an experience which equipped him with a good field knowledge. M. BARRAKAD has a global experience in project management and financial planning. In the past few years, he had also extensive interest and involvement in social marketing as well as project development. M. BARRAKAD is an industrial engineer and has a Master degree in Project Management.

Rene Beil Managing Director, Beaufort Global Partners LLC Beaufort Global Partners LLC is a private boutique Investment, Asset Management & Development Firm specializing in hospitality real estate and public market ownership with a focus on hotels, commercial buildings, residential projects, and industrial complexes. The firm is based in Dubai, UAE René Beil, Managing Director of Beaufort Global Partners LLC, brings a seasoned history in hospitality management, operations, finance,

AHIC SPECIAL EDITION APRIL 2018

investments, asset management and business development to the group. He has led business development and growth initiatives on multiple continents as prime driver of investments, asset management, and new business development for Sovereign Wealth Funds, Government, Public & Private Companies, Royal Families, High Net-Worth Individuals as well as Family Offices. He has a proven track record in organization building, discrete off market Private Negotiations & Transactions, Business Development to Asset Management from Boston to Buenos Aires, London to Paris through Dubai to Singapore as well as Hong Kong, accompanied by a comprehensive network of personal relationships at senior principal levels in, Government, Commerce and Finance. Beil is of German nationality, was born in Singapore and raised in South East Asia, Bali, Manila and Hong Kong, He spent his adolescence in Europe, The Hague, Geneva, Brussels and Paris where he pursued a successful hotel career with InterContinental Hotels and Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts. Subsequently, he ventured to the United States of America, Boston, in the pursuit of academic achievements From Boston University, Beil holds a Bachelor’s degree in Hotel Management, complemented by a Minor in Marketing and a Master’s

In his past appointment as Vice President Asset Management of Dubai Investment Group, Beil’s responsibilities included the asset management of the international hotel and real estate asset portfolio of Dubai Holding, which incorporated but not limited to the Burj Al Arab, Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts and other international real estate assets. Furthermore, he was mandated to seek investments, develop & grow markets in South America and cultivate business relationships between Middle East and LATAM. Beil is currently leading the formation as one of the founding members of the Hospitality Asset Managers Association MEA (HAMA MEA) which is being launched during AHIC 2014. He is fluent in English, French, German, Dutch and proficient in Spanish.

Joby Beretta Founder & Director, The Bench Joby Beretta is the Founder and Director of The Bench FZE. He advises hotel owners, investors and operators on a range of hospitality projects around the world. Joby has negotiated hotel management agreements for some of the most iconic hotels in the region such as Jumeirah Beach Hotel and the Burj Al Arab and mixed-use hotel projects such as The Address Jumeirah Resort + Spa. Prior to establishing The Bench, Joby was Senior Legal Counsel at Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts and more recently Partner and Head of Hotels & Leisure for the Middle East at Dentons, the world’s largest law firm. Joby is recognised as a leading hotel lawyer in the UAE by Chambers & Partners Real Estate 2018, which noted: "Joby Beretta of The Bench FZE is described by sources as "very sharp, with strong technical and commercial acumen, and he's


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effective at handling clients." Market commentators frequently note his expertise in the hospitality and leisure sector." The Bench FZE is an innovative legal services provider offering costeffective legal services and legal recruitment. Established in the United Arab Emirates, The Bench responds to the demand for a boutique law firm specialising in the Middle East hospitality and F&B sectors. The deep bench of lawyers have ‘Big Law’ training but ‘New Law’ mindsets and are recognised year after year by Who’s Who Legal, Legal 500 and Chambers. www.thebenchlaw.com.

Dr Martin Berlin Partner & Global Deals Real Estate Leader, PwC Dr. Martin Berlin leads the Real Estate, Hospitality and Leisure Practice in the Middle East and also serves as the Global Deals Real Estate Leader. Recently, he has worked on projects assisting property development companies in strategy, feasibility and market entry studies and supporting other real estate companies in operational projects like customer reviews or growth projects, advising Hospitality companies on their regional strategy and selected project feasibility and supporting Leisure & Entertainment government authorities and companies in expanding their regional project portfolio. Further, he is consulting Construction Contractors and Architectural & Engineering companies in their corporate strategy development. Martin is also actively involved in the Global Deal Origination initiative that has the objective to present customised deal opportunities to a targeted list of global investors (e.g. SWFs, Pension Funds and PE). Martin brings over 12 years of experience working in senior strategy and operational positions at real estate development companies in the Middle East while he was with Dubai Holding between 2001 and 2013. While his core

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functional expertise is in strategy and growth projects, he also gained significant operational experience in business development, deal making, marketing and operations. With his experience in McKinsey & Company, he combines a consulting advisor perspective with a operational expertise that he acquired working for Procter & Gamble and Dubai Holding. Before joining PwC in 2013, Martin was the Chief Strategy Officer of Dubai Properties Group where he was responsible for the turn around and restructuring of Dubai Holding’s property development and management business, optimizing revenue opportunities for the developer while streamlining OPEX. Martin has is also experience in the Healthcare and Leisure & Entertainment sectors. He has served as the VP of Strategy & Business Development at Dubailand Parks & Resorts (BU of Dubai Holding) where he led IP licensing negotiations with Universal Studios, Six Flags, Marvel, and Dreamworks. His healthcare experience is focused on the pharmaceutical and specialty chemicals industry and the development of Dubai Healthcare City, a large development focusing on the delivery of the entire healthcare value chain. Before his positions with Dubai Holding he was with McKinsey & Company for 6 years and with Procter & Gamble for 3 years.

Gaurav Bhushan Global Chief Development Officer, AccorHotels Gaurav Bhushan is the Global Chief Development Officer of AccorHotels, responsible for overseeing the group’s hotel development strategy worldwide.

in 1995 in Australia, where he held various posts in operations and finance. From 2006 he headed the Asia Pacific development teams. It was in this capacity that he was able to secure the acquisition of Mirvac Hotels & Resorts in Australia and New Zealand and, more recently, the strategic alliance with Huazhu in China. He was promoted to Global Chief Development Officer role in July 2015. Gaurav has an MBA from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT University) and a Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Finance & Investments from the Securities Institute of Australia.

Philippe Bijaoui Chief Development Officer EMEA, Wyndham Hotel Group Philippe Bijaoui, WYNDHAM HOTEL GROUP’s Chief Development Officer for Europe, Middle East, Eurasia and Africa (EMEA) has more than 20 years of hotel real estate and development experience in markets across EMEA and most recently served as Vice President Development Europe for InterContinental Hotel Group, where he defined and implemented the development strategy for the region. He has also previously held senior development roles with Rezidor, Club Med, HVS International, City Hotels S.A. and Groupe Immobilière Hôtelière. Bijaoui has a Master of Business Administration from I.M.H.I. Cornell, and speaks multiple European languages.

Michael Bisordi Owner - Tungsten Partners; Partner - Ace Group International

Reporting to CEO and Chairman Sebastien Bazin, Gaurav manages the group’s relationships with investors and partners and is responsible for signing new hotels to the network.

Michael Bisordi founded Tungsten Partners 13 years as a private holdings company based in New York and which now has ownership in roughly 30 companies ranging from consumer products, fashion, art, real estate and hospitality, including The Ace Hotel brand/operating company.

Gaurav began his career with Accor

Prior to this and after graduation


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from Cornell University, Arts & Sciences, Michael spent roughly six years split between The Global Real Estate Finance Group at Lehman Brothers and following that, on the Global Acquisitions team at Starwood Capital Group, with a focus on Europe. Tungsten Partners is the longest standing owner in the Ace Hotels. For roughly 10 years, Tungsten Partners was charged with selecting cities and properties for respective locations of Ace Hotels globally as well as many of the brand's well known creative partnerships, until the death of Ace's founder and majority owner Alex Calderwood after which Tungsten has moved on to pursue other projects but remains an owner in the company. Tungsten currently owns equity stakes in multiple different hospitality brands and hotel properties including, but also separate from Ace. Tungsten is currently increasing its activity in global "place-making" and cultural engineering, bringing to bear its decade of experience with Ace and Tungsten's various active partnerships in other creative brands. Tungsten's role of hotel "producer", which can exist independent of any brand, is based on creating an impactful, localized, customized narrative for select properties globally, under a new strategy Tungsten describes as "meta-branding."

Jerome Briet Regional Vice President, Mixed-Use Developments MEA, Marriott International In his capacity of Regional Vice President Mixed-Use Development, Jerome oversees the expansion of the branded residences business line of Marriott International across all brands in the Middle East and Africa. Previously, Jerome was overseeing the expansion of all Marriott International brands in the region with a particular focus on the

AHIC SPECIAL EDITION APRIL 2018

United Arab Emirates and Oman. His extensive network and solid market reputation built over the last decade spent in the region have enabled Jerome to bring some of the company’s most iconic brands to the region, including Edition and Bulgari Hotels & Resorts, as well as expand the midscale and full service brands in underprovided submarkets. Prior to joining Marriott International, Jerome has advised international clients in successfully conducting hotel transactions both in Europe and the Middle East, having been a senior member of the Capital Markets team of Jones Lang Lasalle in Dubai and previously in Paris. Jerome holds a BSc in Finance from INSEEC Paris and an MBA from ESSEC Paris in Hospitality Management.

Marcos Cain Principal & Founder of Stickman Tribe With over twenty years creative experience spanning hotel, retail, residential and commercial projects, Marcos has personally spearheaded concepts all the way through to landmark hospitality projects across Asia, Australia and the Middle East - from award winning boutique hotels, to iconic builds like The Cook, The Meet, The Brew at the Kerry Hotel, Pudong, the ground breaking Hotel Jen Beijing and the Zaya Nurai Island Resort described by Newsweek as ‘the most luxurious project in the world.’ His most recent projects include the Waldorf Astoria in the Maldives, The Ritz Carlton Amman, Westin Mina Seyahi and yet another out of the box Hotel Jen in Shenzhen. A passionate spokesperson for hospitality and F&B design, Marcos is a regular contributor to magazines and a guest speaker at events on innovation and sustainability. His long list of awards to date include; the Asia Hotel Design award, World Interior News Awards, Middle East Interior Design

award and the International House and Property award, across the full range of categories, from best hotel and restaurant to luxury urban escape.

Rahul Chaudhary Executive Director, CG Corp Global Mr. Rahul Chaudhary is the Executive Director of CG Corp | Global which is a multinational conglomerate with an exceptional legacy of 140 years and 4 generations. Spread over 30 countries and with a work force of over 10,000, it is the Himalayan Republic of Nepal's first and only company listed on the Forbes list of Billionaires since 2015 valued in excess US$2.5 Billion comprising over 90 companies that produces world class products and brands. CG Corp | Global’s notable areas of interests are FMCG, Hospitality, Finance, Banking, Electronic and Home appliances, Cement, Real estate, Education, Energy, Biotech, Retail to name a few. CG is also the brain behind the famous Wai Wai brand of noodles. Rahul heads CG Hotels & Resorts, the hospitality wing of CG Corp | Global. His forte lies in forging strategic alliances in established as well as emerging markets, which assists in the growth and development of the company. CG Hotels and Resorts has a proud history of successful joint ventures in the hospitality sector with esteemed partners and owns some of the most iconic assets globally with some of the leading hospitality brands over two decades such as Taj, Alila, Jetwing, Radisson, The Farm and its own brands The Fern, Summit and Zinc. CG Hotels & Resorts portfolio comprises of over 100 hotels & resorts in 20 countries and 65 destinations with over 6000 keys. By 2020, the portfolio is expected to grow to over 200 hotels and 10,000 keys.


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Hala Matar Choufany President- Middle East and Africa, HVS Hala Matar Choufany is President for HVS Middle East and Africa and Managing Partner of HVS Dubai. In the last 15 years, Hala has worked on more than 850 hospitality projects, ranging from single to large scale mixed use developments and conducted numerous valuations, feasibility studies, operator search and contract negotiations, operational assessments, and general consultancy work in Europe, MENA and Asia. Hala has in-depth expertise in regional hotel markets and a broad exposure to international markets and maintains excellent contacts with developers, owners, operators, investment institutions and government entities. Hala has completed Executive Education at Harvard Business School and has an MBA from ESSEC & Cornell.

Lynn Chouman Al Arabiya Lyn has covered numerous business stories that have moved the markets and interviewed top business leaders and decision makers. She delivers the live daily economic bulletins and stock market updates on AlArabiya News Channel. Prior to joining AlArabiya she worked for the World Bank office in Beirut. She holds a BA in Economics from the American University of Beirut.

Alan Christie General Manager, Hospitality Advisory Partners Alan Christie is the General Manager of Hospitality Advisory Partners. A recognised hospitality specialist, Alan has worked in hospitality operations, orchestrated acquisition, disposition and asset management in the hospitality, real estate and finance industries across 3 continents in the past 20 years. Alan has built a diverse skill set in hotel operations, corporate finance,

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investment and asset management and his expertise in an active or advisory role has included executing ownership and/or asset management objectives in hotels and resorts, mixed-use developments, residential and retail operations in Africa, Europe, the Middle East and North America. Alan holds an MSc in Banking and International Finance from Cass Business School, and in 2013 completed the Real Estate Management Programme at Harvard Business School. He also holds qualifications in Real Estate Investment, Asset Management and Revenue Management from Cornell University. Along with his partners, he is currently responsible for a portfolio of almost 3,000 rooms, with a further 420 under development, 388 Hotel Apartments and multiple Leisure Real Estate attractions in the UAE in his role at Hospitality Advisory Partners, an innovative player in the global Hospitality and Leisure Advisory industry.

David Daly Partner, Argent Gulf Consulting David Daly read business at Trinity College Dublin and is a qualified accountant [CIMA]. With an international career focused on transformative environments, he has exposure to a

wide number of industries. Based in the UAE for ten years he is a partner at Argent Gulf Consulting, a leading provider of VAT solutions. He writes an ongoing column on tax for The National and is an occasional contributor to Bloomberg.

David Daniels Director of Architecture, SSH With more than 14 years of experience with leading international practices in the UK and the Middle East, he has a proven record of creating, presenting and developing an international level of design work. In these projects he has also played a key leadership and business development role with both local and international clients. David was previously employed by Meraas as a Lead Design Architect where he worked on several prestige projects. Prior to this, he worked with the internationally acclaimed studios Hopkins Architects and Glenn Howells Architects (GHA), where he was engaged in numerous projects including the London 2012 Olympics and the Dubai World Trade Centre. Qualified with a Bachelor of Arts with Honours Degree in Architecture and a Post Graduate Diploma in Architecture in 2003 and 2007


respectively, and as a Chartered Member of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), David brings a wealth of knowledge to SSH.

Tarek M. Daouk Founder & Managing Partner, Smartotels Hospitality International Tarek M. Daouk is the Founder and Managing Partner of Smartotels Hospitality International LLC (“Smartotels”), a hotel real estate investment and full-service hospitality and asset management firm developing and operating hotels under its unique proprietary upscale hotel brands. Prior to founding Smartotels, Mr. Daouk was Head of Hospitality at Goldman Sachs's Realty Management Division in Europe responsible for hotel acquisition, asset management and disposition activities. Prior to his time in Europe, Mr. Daouk was involved in hotel acquisitions for the Whitehall Street Real Estate Funds in the U.S. Before joining Goldman Sachs, Mr. Daouk worked at InterContinental Hotels Group in the Development & Investment Analysis Division of the Americas regional office. Prior to InterContinental, Mr. Daouk was a management consultant in the Hospitality & Leisure Practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers. Mr. Daouk is currently co-President of the Cornell Hotel Society MENA Chapter, serves on the Board of the Columbia University Alumni Association UAE, and is the Event Chair of the Dubai Lodging Outlook Seminar, an annual seminar cohosted with STR. He earned his MSc in Real Estate Development from Columbia University after receiving his BSc in Hotel Administration with distinction from Cornell University. He is fluent in English, French and Arabic.

Alain Debare Chief Executive Officer, Action Hotels AHIC SPECIAL EDITION APRIL 2018

Alain has spent his entire career in the hospitality industry and in particular in the management of hotels, gaining extensive experience in operations as well as hotel development. He joined Action Hotels in February 2008 shortly after its inception and has been key to its growth. Alain focuses on real estate development, oversees hotel projects from initiation to completion and has a supervisory role to ensure the ownership objectives are achieved. Driven by his sector knowledge and hands-on expertise, Alain is closely involved with the operators to increase profitability and performance of the operating hotels. Prior to joining the Group, Alain held various management positions with leading hotel management companies, including Mandarin Oriental and Hilton Hotels Corporation. He joined Hilton in 1996 and worked his way through hotel operations to reach general management.

Devina Divecha Group Editor - Hospitality Group, ITP Devina Divecha is the group editor of ITP Business’ Hospitality Group and editor of Hotelier Middle East. The Hospitality Group includes: Hotelier Middle East, a B2B magazine for the Middle East hotelier industry; Caterer Middle East, a trade publication for the F&B industry in the Middle East; and, Hotelier Express, the essential guide for the region’s mid-market and budget hotels. Prior to her current role, Divecha was the editor of Caterer Middle East, and has written for a number of other magazines under ITP Media Group since April 2011, covering sectors such as interior design, architecture and facilities management. Previously a respected food blogger in Dubai, where she has lived since 1989, Divecha retains a significant online following and is also routinely ranked among the top 100 nonresident Indians on social media. She holds a BSc in Business from

the London School of Economics and an MA in Magazine Journalism from the University of Sheffield. Alain has broad international management and operations experience having worked in the Philippines, France, Venezuela, Brazil, Spain and the GCC. He received a BA in Hotel Management from Institut Paul Bocuse - IGL Lyon in France and has also obtained a certification in hospitality investments and asset management from Cornell University. He speaks fluent French, English, Spanish and Portuguese and is a member of HAMA (Hotel Asset Managers Association).

Benoît-Etienne Domenget Chief Executive Officer, Sommet Education Graduating from HEC business school in Paris, Benoît-Etienne Domenget started his career with Accor Group, managing different hotel properties before joining the corporate office as Senior VicePresident Development to head the group’s strategic development in Europe, Middle-East and Africa (EMEA) regions. From 2011 to 2015, Benoit-Etienne acted as Managing Director of Accor Switzerland, leading the expansion of the brand portfolio in the Swiss market and directly supervising its 55 properties. He was then called to the helm of Michel Reybier Hospitality Group, including luxury hotels such as La Réserve and Victoria-Jungfrau Collection, vineyards and wellness businesses. In January 2017, Benoît-Etienne was appointed CEO of the newlyformed Sommet Education, encompassing the prestigious Swiss hospitality management schools of Glion Institute of Higher Education and Les Roches Global Hospitality Education with branch campuses in Switzerland, Spain, UK, US, China and Jordan. The group was founded following the institutions’ acquisition by French investment company Eurazeo. “The unique positioning of Sommet Education and its institutions combining prestige, excellence and an international outlook, paired with


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the demand for world-renowned quality education offers the potential for the group to become the market leader in its category.”

Oliver Ebner Executive Director - Institutional Banking Group, First Abu Dhabi Bank Oliver Ebner has over 20 years of work experience in arranging and advising on transactions in Project Finance and Asset Finance for transactions in Middle East, Europe, US and Asia. At FAB he covers corporate and government clients which includes the arranging of large scale project as well as structured corporate financings for local and international projects and supporting all aspects of clients’ requirements in the bank’s strategic focus areas. Prior to FAB he spent most of his time with WestLB and SEB in London on a wide range of limited recourse transactions, with a particular focus on the asset and leisure sector. His Project Finance experience includes transactions in real estate, transportation, energy, oil & gas, telecom, infrastructure and other sectors. He started his career with Merger & Acquisitions before moving to the Project Finance arena. Oliver is a German national with a degree in Business Administration & Economics from Augsburg University. He now lives in Abu Dhabi with his family.

Selim El Zein Vice President – Hospitality, Deyaar Development Selim specializes in hotel development & asset management for standalone, mixed use and portfolio level hotel projects, and is a specialist in hotel management agreements, hotel operator search & selection, and market financial studies. Selim’s extensive knowledge of hotel operations allows him to enhance hotel profitability and drive asset value by carrying out strategic operational and financial reviews. . Currently he is responsible for

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overseeing the hospitality function at Deyaar PJSC for their pipeline of upcoming hotels. Selim has worked in the tourism and hotel industry for the past 23 years at an international level. The early part of his career has included experience in tour and hotel operations, finance, F&B and Human Resources. Having worked for leading organizations in hotel asset development, management, hotel operators, and developers, Selim is an all rounded hotel real estate professional.

Abdellah Essonni Chief Hospitality Officer, Maad International Co. An accomplished real estate and hospitality specialist with over 25 years of managerial experience in operations and development spanning four continents and encompassing the industry’s various facets, including opportunity identification, product definition, asset management and the oversight of several hotel openings with residential and commercial components. Abdellah is Chief Hospitality Officer at Maad International Co. a development conglomerate that’s preparing to deliver the largest hospitality complex in Makkah with 21 towers and almost 11,000 rooms in close vicinity to the Holy Haram. Before his current role, Abdellah was CEO at Abjar International Hotels, a subsidiary of Almulla Group of companies, that owns and operates a dozen managed and franchised hotels in Dubai under renowned global brands. Prior to that he held several senior positions globally with investment funds and major hotel chains such as Hyatt, Four Seasons, Jumeirah and Kempinski.

Siddiq Farid Founder & CEO, SmartCrowd Siddiq Farid is a seasoned corporate finance executive with over 11 years

of board-based experience in a variety of sectors, including at the Big 4 in Canada, Qatar and UAE. He is a Chartered Accountant as well as CFA charter holder. Siddiq is the founder of Smart Crowd, regions first regulated real estate crowdfunding platform. His experience includes but not limited to, M&A, business valuations, asset management, investor relationships, fundraising, and equity investments

Mariano Faz Head of Asset Management, The First Group Mariano Faz is Head of TFG Asset Management in Dubai. www.tfgassetmanagement.com. He is responsible for the asset management of the company’s Hospitality and Real Estate portfolio which comprises over 3,000 units in the UAE and an additional 3,000 hotel units under development. During his tenure, Mariano has guided the strategic planning efforts to achieve investment objectives on behalf of owners. He provides leadership to the asset management team and ensures that the hotels are managed to the best of their capacity. Mariano is an active HAMA (Hotel Asset Management Association) member and also is part of the HSMAI (Hotels Sales & Marketing Association International) Advisory Board. Mariano brings over sixteen years of expertise within the hospitality sector, where he has held a number of management, finance and operational roles. He has successfully negotiated multiple hotel management contracts, coordinated pre-openings and possesses in-depth knowledge of hotel industry trends. Before joining TFG Asset Management, Mariano served as the SVP of JLL Hotels in Dubai where he focused on investment and advisory. Prior to that, he worked for Ilunion hotels as a Chief Operating Officer for three years and Barcelo hotels in Europe where he successfully managed to expand the brand through management contracts and lease contracts.


See the figures updated daily and live links to social media, for e.g. Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah:

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Mariano is a Spanish national and holds a Bachelor degree in Business Administration from the University International of Catalonia, Spain and a Master in Finance from EADA, Barcelona. Mariano is a regular speaker at prominent Hospitality Conferences in the Middle East. He also collaborates in multiple hotel sector publications related to Hotel Asset Management topics.

Rabih Feghali Vice President - Business Development & Investor Relations, Ròya International A graduate of Les Roches Hotel School in Switzerland and the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, Rabih has also received graduate certification from Cornell University, New York. Responsible for Ròya's overall business development activities, Rabih spent the early part of his career working in New York City at iconic properties such as The New York Palace, The Plaza and the Westin before moving back to Abu Dhabi to run a boutique hotel. Prior to joining Ròya, he held the position of Director of Hospitality Development at FFA Real Estate in Beirut where he oversaw several hospitality development projects. His blended background combining hands-on knowledge in hotel operations and management, contract negotiation and real estate acquisition prepared him for the complex layers in business development. A regular panelist and moderator at hospitality investment conferences across the Middle East and Africa, his business focus and strength in communications, opportunity analysis and negotiation are all driven by a passion for every aspect of the hospitality industry.

Richard Fitzgerald Managing Director & Founder, Augustus Richard is Managing Director and Founder of Augustus, a ‘new media’

AHIC SPECIAL EDITION APRIL 2018

company, publishers of Lovin Dubai and Lovin Saudi. He has worked in the media advertising space for the past 12 years at agencies in Ireland, England and the UAE. He successfully built a regional Social Media department at Mindshare before becoming Managing Director of a creative technology start up. In 2016 he launched Augustus. Richard is fascinated about changing media consumption habits, and passionate about creating effective brand communications through native adverting,

Luca Franco CEO & Founder, Luxury Frontiers A genuine adventure-seeker, Luca’s passion lies in experiential travel, which heightens travelers’ environmental awareness, immerses travelers into the local culture and communities, and crafts perspective-altering and lifechanging journeys. In 2010, Luca founded Luxury Frontiers after identifying the growing consumer demand for experiential travel as well as environmentally and socially responsible tourism. Having worked with Aman, Four Seasons, One&Only, Six Senses and Belmond among others, Luxury Frontiers is a leading international expert in the design and development of high-end adventure eco-lodges, resorts and camps. Luxury Frontiers designs experiential lodging concepts and operational programming, allowing its clients to quickly and efficiently increase returns from underperforming land and boost the public profiles of their properties. Prior to forming Luxury Frontiers, Luca was owner of LLPI, an international advisory and management company servicing developers and investors in luxury mixed-use hotels and resorts, and he was an equity Partner with Strategic Hotels and Resorts. Luca earned his engineering degree from Pavia University, Italy and was subsequently an architect for the

Icehotel project in Sweden.

Eric Fulwiler Executive Director, London, VaynerMedia Eric Fulwiler is a sought-after expert, contributor, and speaker on key developments in and the future of social media and communications. Eric is executive director of the London office of digital agency VaynerMedia, whose clients include General Electric, Pepsico, Unilever and Anheuser-Busch InBev, among others. Previously, Eric worked at Mullen Lowe Group, an international full-service agency headquartered in NYC and London, which works with brands including Google, JetBlue Airlines, American Honda Motors, and Bose Audio.

Pascal Gauvin Managing Director, IMEA, IHG Pascal Gauvin is Managing Director, India, Middle East and Africa (IMEA), responsible for driving the growth and strength of IHG and its hotels across the region. Pascal’s previous role was Chief Operating Officer, IMEA, leading the operations and performance of more than 124 hotels as well as overseeing the strategic development of IHG’s plans, including the 74 hotels in the region’s development pipeline. Key to his role is maintaining and fostering relations with existing and new hotel owners. Pascal has a wealth of expertise in the hospitality business, starting his career in the Food & Beverage department. Pascal held several managerial positions at Accor and Hilton Hotels before joining IHG in 1993 as a Food and Beverage Manager at InterContinental Paris. He has been with IHG for more than 25 years, and has held a number of senior managerial positions in Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Africa, Lebanon, Qatar and UAE. A strong believer in the principles of ‘leadership by example’ as well as ‘empowerment’, he spends at least


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50 percent of his time in the field to ensure that day-to-day operations and relations are in line with IHG’s standards. Pascal is a father of two and his favourite family getaway is Nice in France. Despite Pascal’s very busy schedule, he finds time to practice golf.

Olivier Granet Chief Executive Officer, AccorHotels, Middle East and Africa Olivier Granet is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for AccorHotels Middle East and Africa, responsible for a portfolio of over 200 hotels consisting of 50,000 rooms across over 30 countries with plans to open another 100 hotels within the next five years. With almost 20 years with AccorHotels, recent career highlights include positioning AccorHotels as the number one hotel operator in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, opening the largest Mercure hotel worldwide in Dubai, introducing Swissôtel and Fairmont hotels in the UAE and Morocco respectively, as well as the first lifestyle brands to the region, including Mama Shelter, 25Hours Hotel and SO Sofitel. Along with his development and management acumen, his focus is on the Group’s talent strategy to identify, grow and develop a robust talent pipeline with customized hospitality programs throughout the region, including the first in the KSA to also welcome Saudi women, inline with AccorHotels’ global vision on gender equality and diversity in the workplace. Olivier holds a degree from the Grenoble Institute of Political Studies (Sciences-Po Grenoble) and an MBA from ESSEC Business School in Paris. A family man at heart and an adventure and travel enthusiast, in whatever spare time he has, you can find him engaged in daring sports and activities.

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Alison Grinnell Chief Financial Officer, RAK Hospitality Holding LLC Alison has over 20 years of experience working with the hospitality industry; extensively travelled, she has worked in over 30 countries covering Europe, United States and Middle East/Africa. She has lived and worked in the Middle east for the past 4 years. Alison comes form a strong financial background, with a BSc in Economics and an ACA Chartered Accountancy Qualification. She started her career with Andersen in the UK and US, moving to PwC in 2001. Alison moved to the Middle East from PwC in London to help establish and develop PwC’s Middle East Hospitality and Leisure practice into a leader in its field. Her roles were initially as Middle East Hotels Lead, and ultimately as the Middle East Real Estate, Hospitality and Leisure Leader.

Olivier Harnisch Chief Executive Officer, Emaar Hospitality Group An international hospitality management leader with over 30 years of experience, Olivier Harnisch is the Chief Executive Officer of Emaar Hospitality Group. He is mandated with driving the overall operations of the organisation with a focus on setting new benchmarks for Emaar Hospitality Group in Dubai and other international markets. He is responsible for the overall management strategy for 11 operational hotels and three serviced residences in Dubai, and the pipeline of over 30 projects in the UAE – in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Fujairah - as well as in international markets including Egypt, Maldives, Bahrain, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. With the goal of national and international expansion as well as enhancing productivity and profitability, Olivier leads the

company in unlocking the potential of its three hotel brands – the premium luxury brand Address Hotels + Resorts, the upscale lifestyle brand Vida Hotels and Resorts, and the contemporary midscale brand Rove Hotels. He is also responsible for the leisure clubs under Emaar Hospitality Group and the Lifestyle Dining assets. In addition, he will focus on further enhancing guest experiences and implementing new strategies that create long-term value for all stakeholders. Olivier joins Emaar from Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group in Brussels, where he was Chief Operating Officer, responsible for a portfolio of over 350 leased, managed and franchised hotels in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He has acquired in-depth expertise in all aspects of the hospitality business through multiple leadership roles across four continents. He has significant regional and international experience in both hotel and restaurant operations. Olivier started his career in 1986, and was initially associated with individual hotels, food and beverage operations and airlines for over 13 years, enabling him to gain strong insights in classic hospitality and in developing compelling guest experiences. He then worked for over 14 years with an international hotel chain where he held the position of Vice President for Northern and Central Europe, before taking up his last role in 2012. Olivier holds an MSc in Organisational Behaviour from the University of London, an MBA in International Finance from HeriotWatt University in Edinburgh and a Degree in Hospitality Management from Berlin School of Hotel Administration. Having worked across the globe, Olivier is fluent in six languages.


Kees Hartzuiker Chief Executive Officer, Ròya International Overseeing all aspects of Ròya International, Kees leads an interdisciplinary team of 60 consultants and specialists. Directling the group from the Dubai base, Kees also takes an active role in shaping the three key practice areas - development advisory, asset management, and hospitality services. Recognized as a leading hotelier, Kees brings with him global expertise and experience gained from senior roles in three continents. Initially working in Europe, his career took him to the Middle East North Africa regions and then to Asia-Pacific. A significant chapter in Kees’s career was his tenure with Hilton International, where, amongst many responsibilities, he drove all Food & Beverage development across the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific regions. As Vice President Asia, he led the company’s operations during its fast-paced, multi-brand growth in the region including key development markets such as China and the Indian subcontinent. Prior to taking up the role in Ròya, he served as CEO of Rixos Hotels, orchestrating the transition of the chain from regional to international, shaping its strategy, structure and management tools. Thanks to Kees’s diverse experience, comprehensive and broad insight at both unit and corporate level, he adds invaluable knowledge and direction to Ròya's services.

Feras Hasbini Development Director, MENA, Hilton Worldwide Feras Hasbini is Development Director for Hilton in the MENA region with a specific focus on North African markets. He is based in Casablanca, Morocco with Hilton now having five Moroccan hotels either trading or in the pipeline.

AHIC SPECIAL EDITION APRIL 2018

Prior to his current position Hasbini worked in the Hilton development team in Dubai having joined the company from JLL where he worked in Hotel Advisory and Asset Management. A Lebanese native, Hasbini studied at Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne.

Elias Hayek Partner Head of Global Hospitality and Leisure, Squire Patton Boggs (MEA) LLP Elias Hayek leads the global Hospitality & Leisure Group at Squire Patton Boggs, a leading international law firm with 1500 lawyers in 46 offices across 21 countries. He is a widely respected hospitality lawyer with over two decades of cross-jurisdictional professional experience in the hospitality sector, including in sector specific corporate and commercial transactions; management, licensing, franchising and service agreements; hospitality M&A and joint ventures; hotel project leasing agreements; mixed use and branded residential developments; sale and lease / manage back transactions; and food and beverage, restaurant and health and wellness management and licensing agreements. Over his career, Elias closed over 350 hospitality and leisure projects across virtually every major city in Europe, Africa, Middle East and Central Asia. Elias is the current Vice Chair of the Leisure Industries Section of the International Bar Association (IBA) representing more than 80,000 individual lawyers spanning over 160 countries; He is charged with leading the hospitality and leisure initiatives for the IBA. Elias also holds two other leadership positions in the IBA. He is also the former president of the Association of Corporate Counsel’s Middle East chapter, a position he held from its formation and launch until 2017. Prior to joining the firm, Elias worked for 17 years at a leading Fortune 500 international hotel brands owner

and operator, where his last role was as vice president, Legal – Europe, Middle East and Africa Division. During this time, Elias worked in both the Brussels and Dubai offices and was responsible for overseeing all regional legal matters in the Middle East, Africa and Indian Ocean, including advising corporate executives and hotel management on operations, acquisitions, development, HR, sales and marketing, dispute resolution, litigation and arbitration. Elias is also the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award awarded by the Association of Corporate Counsel’s Global Board

Christoph Hoffmann CEO / Member of the Board, 25hours Hotel Company The task area of Christoph Hoffmann, CEO and Member of the Board of the 25hours Hotel Company, includes overseeing the development and expansion of the 25hours hotel group, which currently has 10 hotels in six cities around the German-speaking world. He evaluates hotel locations and, with the help of local partners, develops tailored hotels for city nomads, daydreamers and nightowls looking for an urban sprawl to unwind in. He goes about his work with enthusiasm, courage and the necessary twinkle in his eye. Sales and marketing specialist Christoph Hoffmann grew up in southern Germany. After graduating from secondary school, he went on to start a career in tourism at a German travel agent’s and a New York-based incentive and incoming agency. He then studied academic disciplines in the fields of sales and marketing and strategic management at the Glion Institute (École Hotelière et de Tourisme Leysin) in Switzerland and at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Hoffmann gained his first experiences in the hotel industry at the American Colony Hotel in Jerusalem and the Box Tree Hotel in


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New York. He has held managerial positions at New World Travel Inc. in New York as well as at Kempinski hotels, the Bürgenstock Hotels & Resorts in Switzerland and in the small but high-end Hotel Louis C. Jacob in Hamburg. Hoffmann’s experiences in the innovative lifestyle-hotel industry also include co-developing the Fox Hotel for Volkswagen AG in Copenhagen. In 2005, Christoph Hoffmann and his partners Stephan Gerhard, Ardi Goldman and Kai Hollmann founded the 25hours Hotel Company in order to expand the already successfully established Hamburg-based 25hours concept. In October 2016, the company announced its strategic partnership with AccorHotels for a faster growth beyond Europe. Hoffmann was awarded German Hotelier of the Year in February 2017. Nathan Hones Chief Operating Officer & Partner, Carter Associates Nathan is a highly qualified architectural and project management professional with over 24 years client and consultant-side property development experience in Australia and the UAE. He is now Partner at Carter Associates, a project consultancy and project management firm established in Dubai and working across the MENA region. Carter Associates works with hotel owners and operators to identify opportunities for increasing efficiencies and revenue and decreasing costs and then project manage the implementation of the agreed strategy. They have advised numerous hotels including the Rixos Bab Al Bahr, Movenpick Bur Dubai, Movenpick JBR, Fairmont Bab Al Bahr and the Grand Hyatt Dubai to name a few. Nathan obtained an Architecture Degree with honours from Sydney University, finishing 1st in his graduating year in Architectural Design and awarded on the Dean's Honour List. He then obtained a Diploma in Project Management and an MBA majoring in Construction & Real Estate from the

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UK. Since coming to the Middle East in 2004, Nathan has enjoyed a number of key positions with both architectural consultants and UAE real estate developers, working on numerous multi-billion dirham hotel and hospitality projects. He has a reputed industry standing having judged five property award events including Cityscape Global, Cityscape Abu Dhabi, Cityscape Jeddah, International Commercial Property Awards and Middle East Architect Awards and he is often called upon for expert commentary on hotel and hospitality related issues in the UAE. Nathan’s focus in Carter Associates surrounds the challenges facing the UAE hospitality sector, in particular in relation to new build hotel project management as well as strategic planning and project management of hotel refurbishments in the MENA region. Maksim Izmaylov Chief Executive Officer, Winding Tree Maksim Izmaylov is an entrepreneur with background in software engineering and law. He thinks that blockchain and other technologies can help us create a better world, e.g. reduce inequality. He founded two travel startups, Roomstorm and Winding Tree, and Travel Tech Con, a conference for startups and software engineers from the travel industry. Currently, Maksim is working on Winding Tree, a decentralized marketplace for the $7T travel industry that is dominated by just a handful of large corporations.

Najeeb Jarrar Head of Consumer Marketing MENA, Google Najeeb leads Google consumer marketing across the middle east and north Africa, in his capacity he looks after Consumer Products (Search, Maps, Android ..etc) strategy and marketing across the region. Launching in the process YouTube, Google Maps, translate

among many other product in the region, including campaigns like Streetview in Petra and the Pyramids, Ramadan on Google and YouTube ..etc. Najeeb spent the last decade within the technology industry from product and engineering to marketing and communication, he joined Google in MENA From Google HQ in the US.

Harry Johnson Board Member, HAMA As well as a clear track record in Hotel JV Development in Asia, Harry offers over 40+ years of experience in the hotel industry with accomplishments in FDI, Project Financing, Asset Management, Hotel Transactions, Brand Transition, Turnaround and Workout, Master Planning, Operator Negotiation and Litigation. His experience in the region goes back over twenty years in all hotel market segments, opening hotels and mixed-use projects in Asia, Africa, The America’s and the Middle East. With a major in Hospitality Management and Finance from Manchester University, Fellow of the Institute of Hospitality. He is a past president HCIMA Hong Kong Chapter, now Fellow of the Institute of Hospitality. Mr. Johnson is Board member of the MEA Chapter of HAMA MEA – Hospitality Asset Managers Association.

Zoltan Kali Head of Asset Management, OMRAN Zoltan is an experienced real estate investment professional with over 20 years of industry experience covering multiple senior managerial and leadership positions across geographies. His primary background is in hotel investments and asset management, but Zoltan has been involved in extensive work in real estate asset classes like office, residential and mixed use developments. He began his career


in philanthropic organisations, then moved to KPMG, where he worked for a decade in the Real Estate, Leisure and Tourism sector for the Europe, Middle East and Africa. Previous to joining Omran, Zoltan was employed by the largest sovereign wealth fund of Oman (SGRF) where he was responsible for the hospitality portfolio and related transactions. Zoltan hold an MSc in Engineering, a Bachelor degree in social sciences and an MBA from the Weatherhead School of Management, Cleveland, Ohio, specializing in International Management and Finance. He is a certified asset manager from Cornell University School of Hotel Administration.

Terry Kane Head of Auto, Finance, Government, Tech, Telco and Travel MENA, Facebook Terry Kane has been Head of Auto, Finance, Government, Tech, Telco and Travel for the MENA Region at Facebook, Inc. since May 2014. He has more than 15 years experience in technology, strategy and marketing in large national and international organizations. He has worked across multiple verticals and industries and in his most recent post as Head of Digital Strategy for the Dubai-based international luxury hotel company, Jumeirah Group. Terry has developed recognized expertise in multiple disciplines, including; brand and strategic marketing, digital communications, research, and software development to name but a few. Terry has an MBA from London Business School and Undergraduate Degrees from Bournemouth University and The University of Ulster. Terry has published research for The World Economic Forum; he also serves on non-executive boards and is a regular speaker at international events.

AHIC SPECIAL EDITION APRIL 2018

François Kassab Managing Director - Middle East & Africa, Meliá Hotels International François Kassab has been recently appointed as the Managing Director leading the region of Middle East & Africa for Melia Hotels International. Bringing over 20 years of leadership experience, Kassab is playing an instrumental strategic role in driving the regional positioning in line with the company’s overall expansion plan. Prior to his current position, Kassab successfully occupied the role of Chief Operating Officer of Millennium and Copthorne Hotels Middle East & Africa heading the evolvement of its commercial and operational strategy. Kassab founded his thriving career path through a wide range of industries and across different continents, before relocating to the Middle East region joining InterContinental Hotels Group in 2006. François Kassab completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Hotel Management and Marketing from Lycee Hôtelier De Saint – Quentin En Yvelines in Paris, France. He furthered his education when he received his Master’s Degree in Hospitality Management in 1998 from ESSEC Business School in Paris, France.

Carlos Khneisser Vice President of Development, Hilton Worldwide Based in Hilton’s MEA Regional Office, Dubai – Khneisser is charged with spearheading the growth of the Hilton portfolio across MENA & Turkey. Under Khneisser’s leadership, Hilton’s Middle Eastern development has enjoyed year-onyear, organic growth and markets he oversees contribute over 50% of Hilton’s total pipeline in EMEA. Carlos Khneisser started his career in the hospitality industry in 1998, gaining broad experience across the sector, before focusing on finance and asset management positions

over a nine-year period. Khneisser joined Hilton in 2009, overseeing the company’s growth within the Middle East & North Africa region that now features more than 140 hotels trading or under development under eight brands. In 2016 he began overseeing Hilton’s development operations in Turkey. He graduated in 1996 with a BA Business Administration and Finance from Notre Dame University, Lebanon and is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). A native of Lebanon, Khneisser is fluent in Arabic, English and French.

Alex Kyriakidis President and Managing Director MEA, Marriott International Alex Kyriakidis is President and Managing Director, Middle East & Africa (MEA), for Marriott International, Inc., with responsibility for all business activities for the Middle East & Africa Region (MEA), including development, brands, sales, marketing, finance, human resources, legal and operations. Prior to joining Marriott International in January 2012, Mr. Kyriakidis served as Global Managing Director – Travel, Hospitality & Leisure for Deloitte LLP. In this role, Mr. Kyriakidis led the Global Travel, Hospitality & Leisure Industry team, where he was responsible for a team of 4,500 professionals that generated $700 million in revenues. Mr. Kyriakidis has 45 years of experience providing strategic, financial, M&A, operational, asset management and integration services to the travel, hospitality and leisure sectors. He has served clients in 25 countries, predominantly in the EMEA and Asia/Pacific regions. As President of the MEA region for Marriott International, Mr Kyriakidis leads the growth of Marriott’s business for the region. Mr.


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Kyriakidis was the MEA executive sponsor for the acquisition in 2013 of the South Africa based Protea hotel. Marriott’s portfolio of brands in the MEA region has experienced substantial growth and today comprises one of the largest hotel chains with 147 hotels and 24,647 operating rooms and a construction pipeline of 88 hotels and 20,000 rooms by 2024. Mr Kyriakidis is a fellow of the Arab Society of Certified Accountants, the British Association of Hotel Accountants and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. Mr. Kyriakidis holds a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science and mathematics from Leeds University in the United Kingdom. He is based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Mr Kyriakidis is fluent in English, Greek and Arabic. In his spare time, Mr. Kyriakidis enjoys training in Shotokan Karate in which he was awarded a third grade black belt in 2015.

Amar Lalvani CEO & Managing Partner, Standard International Amar Lalvani is CEO & Managing Partner of Standard International (the parent company of Standard Hotels), CEO of Bunkhouse Group and CEO of One Night. Prior to leading the investment and formation of Standard International he was Chief Investment Officer for Andre Balazs Properties and held various executive roles with Hilton Worldwide and Starwood Hotels & Resorts including leading the global development of W Hotels. Prior to that, Amar worked for The Blackstone Group and began his career with Starwood Capital Group. In addition to serving on the Boards of Standard International, Bunkhouse Group and One Night, he currently serves on the Board of Twyla and was a founding Board member of Peloton Interactive. Amar has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BS from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

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Richard Lewis Partnerships Director - Travel & Tourism, what3words After hitchhiking to Afghanistan from London, via an unplanned few months in the Greek Islands, Richard had caught the travel ‘bug’. He has now spent over 35 years in hospitality, media companies and service industries. He’s visited 87 countries - working in seven of them, including 11 years in the UAE. Senior roles: MD Preferred Hotel Group EMEA; VP CNN International; Director Le Meridien Hotels; CEO Best Western Hotels GB; CEO Whisper Hotels; and CEO Landmark Hotels. He has a deep understanding of Digital Transformation and Disruptive Innovation after helping to pioneer changing travel booking patterns with WorldRes in the late 1990s and launching Clickworker’s crowdsourcing platform in the UK in 2010. Along the way, he invented a word game, launched by Hasbro as Boggle Master!

Cyril Lincoln Head of Real Estate Finance, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank Cyril was born in Durban, South Africa, has over 20 years industry experience. During his career Cyril has arranged and structured more than USD25bn of real estate finance in South Africa, numerous African Countries, and UAE. Cyril has financed deals in the hospitality, commercial (retail shopping centres and offices) and residential housing sectors. Cyril joined ADCB Investment Banking Group in 2007 and has played a leading role in structuring, arranging and providing syndicated loan finance for leading UAE Property Investors and Developers such as Meraas, ICD, Atlantis Dubai, Dubai Holdings, Jumeirah Group, Emirates REIT, Gulf Related, Mubadala, Aldar, TDIC. An avid reader, he enjoys travel, meeting new people, spending time outdoors, theatre, gastronomy and photography.

Andrew Lindley Finance Director, Action Hotels Andrew Lindley (Finance Director) is a Chartered Management Accountant and holds a BA (Hons) degree in Accounting and Economics from Reading University, UK. He has a more than 20 years of experience in senior finance positions in the UK and the Middle East. Andrew was previously Vice President Finance – Africa for Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts, looking after a portfolio of 25 Hotels across Africa and cruise operations in Egypt. He began his career in the hospitality industry in the UK with the Forte Group plc, and subsequently MacDonald Hotels plc. He then worked with 20:20 Mobile Group Ltd. in Senior Finance roles in the UK and the UAE. Andrew returned to hotels in 2013 as CFO of Abjar Hotels International, a hospitality company with a portfolio of franchise and managed hotels in Dubai. Andrew joined Action Hotels in June 2016.

Vikram Loomba Director - Real Estate, Hospitality & Leisure Advisory Services, PwC Vikram is a director in the Real Estate, Hospitality, and Leisure Advisory Services division of PwC Middle East. He received a Master of Management degree in Hospitality Management with specialization in Real Estate Development and Finance from Cornell University, New York. His operational and advisory experience in real estate and hospitality spans over 23 years across several countries in Asia, Middle East, Eastern Europe, Africa, and North America. Prior to joining PwC, Vikram worked for Ernst & Young, and Oberoi Hotels and Resorts in various management positions.

Panos Loupasis Vice President Development Middle East & Africa, Wyndham Hotel Group Panos, a Greek national holds a BSc


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in Economics from the Aristotelian University in Greece and an MBA in International Hospitality Management from IMHI, a program established by Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration. Panos, started his career in the hospitality industry on an operational level in properties in Europe, the United States and the Middle East. He moved to the Middle East in 2003 as cluster Revenue Manager for ACCOR in Dubai before moving into the field of business development with Holiday Inn Express where his contribution was instrumental for the introduction of the brand in the GCC. In 2007 Panos joined The Rezidor Hotel Group as Regional Director of Business Development where he drove growth for Rezidor through the execution of management contracts. In 2009 he joined Taameer Real Estate Investment Co where he undertook various tasks ranging from business development, to equity raising, asset- and project management. Panos joined the Wyndham Hotel Group as Senior Director of Development for MEA in September 2011 to drive growth in the Middle East and Africa under management and franchise contracts. He got promoted in November 2015 to Vice President Development MEA. In this role Panos leads the company’s growth strategy and execution, which now features more than 75 hotels operational or under development across MEA.

Naim Maadad Chief Executive, Gates Hospitality With over 28 years in the hospitality world across Australia, Asia, & the Middle East in various senior management roles, I have launched & operated some of the world’s best Hotels, Resorts, Spas & Lifestyle Food & Beverage Concepts. My career has exposed me to some of the best properties around the world and I was fortunate to partake

AHIC SPECIAL EDITION APRIL 2018

& orchestrate several amazing openings & operations. Covering a wide spectrum of positions within senior leadership, including the role of Managing Director for both Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas and The Anantara Group respectively. During my time with these exclusive properties, I was instrumental in nurturing sound relationships with owners, securing the best possible locations, negotiating and formalising contractual agreements, and appointing teams to infuse and reflect the ethos of the brands. Being based in the ME over the past 18 years, I have witnessed tremendous industry growth, gained a deep cultural understanding & have been endorsed by principals & organizations alike. In 2012, I have established “Gates Hospitality” A homegrown Hospitality Company representing handpicked Concepts catering for the affluent life-stylers. Gates Hospitality, the parent company of well-known homegrown brands such as; Ultra Brasserie, the internationally acclaimed concept; Reform Social & Grill Dubai, Folly by Nick & Scott, as well as Publique, Dubai's premier "Apres Ski chalet", The Lion by Nick & Scott , Bistro Des Arts, Via Veneto Osteria e Cucina and the ownership of Six Senses Zighy Bay. Continuing the successful growth of Gates Hospitality’s portfolio, Red Farm at Covent Garden, London, U.K. will be our first global foray of the group vide an international venue outside the region. In principal, GH expertise that are extended & indicative but not limited to; Hospitality Guidance | Asset Management | Pre-opening Foundation | Day-to-day Operational Success.

Alban Mabille de Poncheville Manager Business Development, Radisson Hotel Group Based in Dubai, Alban is supporting

the Group’s strategic growth in the MENA region while recently taking more responsibilities in the company expansion across North Africa, which remains an area of focus for each of the core brands: Radisson BLU, Radisson, Park Inn by Radisson, Radisson RED and Radisson Collection. In his current role, Alban is also in charge of the feasibility activities for the region and has proven strong ability to work on multiple project through feasibility studies, appraisals and strategic development outlines. Prior joining Radisson Hotel Group 3 years ago, he held different positions in France where his focus was on corporate and commercial real estate advisory. A French national, Alban has a B.A in Hospitality Management from Glion Institute of Higher Education and holds a Master Degree in Real Estate from La Sorbonne University in Paris, France

Alejandro Martin Senior Investment Banker, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank Alejandro holds a Diploma of Industrial Engineer and Masters in Finance from London Business School. Alejandro joined ADCB in April 2012 from Rothschild. Alejandro has over 14 years’ experience in international banking advising, structuring and executing international debt capital markets, whether for corporate, government or quasi-government entities in EMEA. Alejandro has 9 plus years’ experience in Industry (Oil & Gas, FMCG and Pharmaceutical) across South America and Europe. Alejandro’s set of skills extends from Debt Capital Markets, Structured Finance, Equity Linked, Principal Finance, and Liability Management.


AHIC 2018

Haitham Mattar Chief Executive Officer, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority Haitham Mattar, CEO of the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, was appointed in May 2015 to drive the economic growth of Ras Al Khaimah by positioning the Emirate as a world-class destination for business and leisure tourism. With over 25 years of experience in global destination and hospitality management and marketing, Mattar has held senior roles with leading global brands including Marriott, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), and most recently Hilton Worldwide. As Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Hilton Worldwide, he was managing a 240+ strong team across the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe, Turkey and Russia and responsible for 126 trading properties with a further 100 in the pipeline, sharpening his aptitude in hospitality, travel and tourism. Mattar’s cross-continent experience and valuable global insights allow him to effectively lead Ras Al Khaimah’s destination growth strategy, through capturing existing and emerging source market movements and global tourism trends. Under Mattar’s leadership, Ras Al Khaimah is achieving continued growth in visitor numbers and netting a growing share of the global outbound tourism market. A Lebanese-born American citizen and Arabic speaker, Mattar holds a Bachelors degree in Marketing from the University of Central Florida, USA, and a MBA in Marketing from the University of Liverpool, UK, having completed a thesis on the sustainability of tourism in Dubai.

Jalil Mekouar Chief Executive Officer, Hotels, Majid Al Futtaim - Properties Jalil Mekouar is the Chief Executive Officer of Hotels at Majid Al Futtaim

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– Properties leading the business unit’s growth strategy across the entire portfolio of existing assets and new developments. Mr. Mekouar joined Majid Al Futtaim in July 2017, responsible for overseeing the company’s growth plans, performance and roadmap in alignment with Majid Al Futtaim’s vision of developing integrated lifestyle destinations . With over 25 years’ international Real Estate and Hospitality experience, Mr. Mekouar has held senior regional and global roles across six continents with large public listed and Fortune 500 companies in corporate finance, investment strategy, asset management, corporate strategy, business development and hospitality operations of various asset classes including hotels, resorts, spas, time-share, retail, residential and mixed-use. Mr. Mekouar joins Majid Al Futtaim from leading advisory and asset management firms in the US where he was Managing Director and President, and spent several years with Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) as Managing Director for Middle East & Africa, based in Dubai, and Chief Operating Officer for the Americas, based in the US. Mr. Mekouar speaks fluent English, Arabic, French and Thai and holds an MBA in International Hospitality Management from Cornell University (USA) and ESSEC (France) as well as two postgraduate degrees in Financial Accounting in addition to Tourism and Hotel Management.

Jaidev Menezes Corporate Director, Business Development, Emaar Hospitality Group Mandated with the global growth and expansion of all Emaar Hospitality Group brands through management contracts, joint ventures, and acquisitions, Jaidev Menezes brings over fifteen years of global corporate strategy and hotel development expertise to Emaar.

Jaidev has a successful track record in hotel and branded residential development in several markets including Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia and the Americas. He earlier served in corporate strategy and development roles including his most recent position leading mixeduse development for the EMEA region at a global luxury hotel operator. Jaidev holds an MBA from the Ivey Business School and a Bachelor of Science in Hotel Administration from Cornell University.

Salim Mikram Business Development HeadMoroccan Agency for Tourism Development (SMIT) After obtaining a Master of Science degree (MSc) in Business and Finance from Reims Management School (France) in 2003, Salim Mikram began his career in investment banking as financial analyst for JP Morgan Chase Bank in London, UK for 4 years. In 2007 he joined Upline Corporate Finance, a boutique investment advisory firm based in Casablanca, Morocco as senior consultant advising prominent shareholders and investors in some of the largest merger and acquisition transactions in Morocco at the time. Upline Corporate Finance was due to become the investment banking arm of one of the largest banking institutions in Morocco, the “Groupe Banque Populaire”. In 2011, Salim joined SANAM, a cross sector holding company and one of his former clients as Business Finance Manager advising the top management on the overall strategy of the group and some restructuring programs in affiliated firms. Late in 2015, he joined the Moroccan Agency for Tourism Development (SMIT MOROCCO) as Business Development Head, the Government body in charge of destinations development in Morocco and the promotion of tourism investment in the country.


Elie Milky Vice President Business Development Middle East, North Africa & Turkey, Radisson Hotel Group In his current role, Elie is responsible for driving expansion opportunities in accordance with the group’s growth strategy across the Middle East and parts of Africa, which remains an area of focus for each of the core brands: Radisson Blu, Radisson, Park Inn by Radisson, Radisson RED and Radisson Collection. Elie’s strengths lie in his ability to forge strong relationships with existing partners and local owners as well as developing new associations. He is adept at assessing market conditions and gathering intelligence, turning opportunities into business. A Lebanese/Gambian national, Elie has a BA in Hospitality Management & Tourism and an MBA in International Hospitality Management specialising in Hotel Real Estate and Finance from the renowned IMHI – ESSEC Business School in Paris. Prior to joining Radisson Hotel Group in 2010, Elie was part of the HVS team based in London and in Dubai where his focus was on conducting feasibility studies, valuations, ROI analyses and strategic advice across Europe the Middle East and Africa. He has also co-authored articles on a number of hospitality markets including Libya, Qatar and Lebanon.

Shane Moore Executive Director, Real Estate Banking, Middle East & Africa, Standard Chartered Bank Shane has 11 years experience in Banking and Corporate Finance throughout North America, Europe and The Middle-East. Shane joined Standard Chartered Bank in his current role in 2012 to develop the Bank’s Real Estate offering. Shane was previously with Deloitte, in their Corporate Finance team, where he

AHIC SPECIAL EDITION APRIL 2018

helped expand their Debt & Capital Advisory platform in Ireland, advising on a variety of cross-border transactions including capital raisings, restructurings and FIG M&A transactions throughout Ireland, the UK and continental Europe across the Real Estate, Hotel & Leisure, Manufacturing and Financial Services industries. Shane holds a Bachelor of Laws Degree (LL.B) from University College Galway, a Bachelor of Business & Legal Studies Degree (BBLS) from University College Dublin, a Certificate in International Treasury Management from the Association of Corporate Treasurers and a Certificate in Islamic Finance from CIMA.

Amine Moukarzel President, MENA Region, Louvre Hotels Group A recognized stalwart of the Middle East hospitality industry, Amine Moukarzel was the driving force behind the launch of some of the most successful hotels in the region, including the Crowne Plaza hotels in Dubai and Abu Dhabi , the Hilton Corniche Residence in Abu Dhabi, Royal Tulip, Tulip Inn, and Golden Tulip among others. After more than 35 years working with leading international hotel groups, Amine Moukarzel decided it was time to create his own regionally inspired hospitality projects and to establish a company to balance local knowledge with global standards. Flamingo Hospitality Management Company was born in 1998 with three employees, and today the company operates throughout the Middle East & North Africa under its local brand and represents through its global partnership one of the largest international hotel companies in the world. Amine leads an executive team responsible for the branding, development, franchising and management of hotels across the MENA region under the brands of Louvre Hotels Group, considered as one of the largest midscale hotel operators in the marketplace with a

robust pipeline with over 50% growth in the short term. Amine is the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions, including Hotelier Middle East (ranked as Top 9) , Hotelier Express Middle East ranked as Top 6 2017, Hospitality award at HORECA 2009, being named “Man of the Year” by ‘General Manager’ magazine in 2011, recipient of a “Gold Medal” for Tourist Investment Management at the Tatweej Academy of Excellence Awards, Listed in the Meet 100 influential Lebanese figures around the world) and many more. He is currently a member of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and an advisory board member of the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference and the Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management, he is the Vice President of Mediterranean Hotels and Restaurant Association, Vice President- Middle East of International Hotels and Restaurant Association (IHRA). Amine is also the President of Louvre Hotels Group having long years of experience of operating the Golden Tulip brands and now with the Louvre Hotels Group brands aiming to reach 100 hotels by 2020.

Ahmer Naushad Senior Vice President, GENCOM Ahmer Naushad has over 15 years of global experience in real estate and hospitality strategy, investments, and asset management. In his current role as Senior Vice President and Managing Director, he oversees Gencom investments in the Caribbean, Middle East and Africa. Prior to joining Gencom, Ahmer completed successful tenures with prestigious firms including Lehman Brothers Real Estate Partners/Trimont Real Estate Advisors, Miral Asset Management, Kingdom Hotels Investment, PKF Consulting, Istithmar World, InterContinental Hotels and Hilton Hotels. Ahmer has a thorough understanding of major gateway


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cities and destination leisure markets. He has a hands on appreciation of asset classes including hotels, resorts, branded and unbranded residences/condo hotels, F&B and retail, offices and integrated mixed-use developments. With core expertise in investment management, he is experienced in all facets of the real estate/hospitality investment cycle, including portfolio and single asset transactions, debt and equity funding, design and development, investment appraisal, asset management, operations and stakeholder management. He holds an MBA in Investments from the Washington State University; a BA in Hotel Management from Austria; and a post graduate certificate in Real Estate from Cornell University. He is also a Certified Hotel Asset Manager (“CHAM”) designee.

Amit Nayak,CHA Vice President and Executive Board Member, HAMA Amit is an asset manager with an 18+ yr’s of experience in asset management, private equity & operations. He is an alumnus from the prestigious Cornell NY where he specialized in asset & revenue management as well as from IHMCTAN, Mumbai School of hotel management with a post-grad in business admin from NMIMS, Mumbai .He also holds a CHA license awarded by the American Hotel & Lodging association. He is the Managing Director of High Point providing Asset management services & Investment within the hospitality, private equity & real estate & space. Their core focus is to manage hospitality assets, investments, development projects & real estate along with land banks within UAE, KSA & Europe as well as Private Equity placements in the same geographies. The forte’ is in building shareholder value by developing & proactively asset managing high-quality assets for

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their owners & partners. Prior to joining High Point Hospitality he worked as the Director of SAN Consultants, Dubai: the outfit was a boutique consultancy firm that specializes in advisory services in the field of corporate asset management, brand development and strategy for hotels, mixed-use real estate assets & luxury brands working with Owners, Operators and Investment Funds. Earlier to this as Executive Manager, Operations and Business Development for a Private Office (SWF) in Bahrain, where he managed as owner’s representative real estate assets globally with international operators including Four Seasons, Marriott’s and Starwood’s. He was also responsible for establishing and developing the Hotel division for the Group, and subsequently overlooked it to manage both the hospitality and real estate functions along with supporting the development pipe-line of assets for the group. He is a Mentor at iN5 Dubai and on the executive board of the Cornell University Alumni association for GCC as well Vice President and executive board member of HAMA (Hotel asset managers association) MENA & Turkey.

Richard Neale Chief Executive Officer, RANt Consultants From the first batch of true digital natives, Richard has grown up with technology as part of his everyday life. Solving real world problems and improving the lives of others has been a constant source of fascination and reward for him. A natural-born solution-provider and entrepreneur, Richard naturally took to Business and Technology early in his career. Following a solid 12 years in network engineering and security, he co-founded his first start-up in 2009 which specialised in the, at the time, nascent genres of

Cloud computing, Enterprise Mobility and Mobile Device Security. He went on to be instrumental in a number of successful start-ups within 'People Analytics' and Cybersecurity, culminating with RANt; a managed service provider that takes a fresh, risk-based approach to Cybersecurity. The ultimate goal of RANt is to protect your most precious asset; your Brand.

Dr Reem Osman Chief Executive Officer, Saudi German Hospital Dr.Reem is the Group CEO of SGH Emirates (Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, and Ras Al Khaimah) since November 2017 and CEO of SGH Dubai since 2012 Under her leadership, Saudi German remains a key player in evolving the healthcare industry in the UAE and international markets. Her dream to serve more patients in UAE has led to expansion into new Emirates – Sharjah, Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah & Dubai facility expansion which is expected to add 300 beds. Her vision is to take SGH Group – UAE branch into whole different level through the upcoming and current expansions. Her drive for excellence has been rewarded with numerous titles to her role. Featured in the Forbes Middle East’s 200 most powerful Arab women listing in 2015, Dr Reem has many honours to her name; including being one of the top 15 most influential business people in the Emirate, according to Arabian Business, in 2017. In addition to her achievements, the international organization for development and human rights nominated Dr. Reem Osman as a peace ambassador. Saudi German Hospital Dubai’s collaboration with the Zayed Giving Initiative has been making strides in the healthcare industry, with Dr Reem appointed as the Humanitarian Ambassador for the cause. Graduated from Tishreen University


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of Medicine in Latakia, Syria as an ophthalmologist, Dr.Reem gained her Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Wollongong University in Sydney along with becoming a certificate holder of management healthcare delivery from Harvard Business School.

Charlie Osmond Chief Tease, Triptease Charlie started his first company, FreshMinds, a research consultancy, on graduating from Oxford University. The business grew well and Esquire Magazine named him UK Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Charlie is the Chief Tease at Triptease, a firm dedicated to helping hotels deliver a better digital experience and more direct bookings. Triptease, a pioneer in the Direct Booking Movement, quickly gained a reputation for its first product Price Check. Charlie is a member of YPO Manhattan, a Companion of the CMI and a Fellow of the British American Project. He’s served on the British Airways Business Advisory Board, won The Sunday Times £5M London Entrepreneur Challenge and was named in HSMAI’s list of 25 Extraordinary Minds in Hospitality Sales & Marketing. Charlie is a keen sailor and recent convert to running, finishing 2nd in the 2017 Death Valley marathon.

Nenad Pacek Founder & President GSA Global Success Advisors & MEA Business Group Nenad and his businesses currently advise global and regional directors of over 340 multinational corporations. He is founder and president of Global Success Advisors (global business and economic advisory) and co-founder of the CEEMEA Business Group corporate service (advisory for regional executives running Central Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa). The advisory focus is on

AHIC SPECIAL EDITION APRIL 2018

helping executives understand economic/business/political outlooks for virtually all countries around the world and on helping companies build strategies for sustainable growth in emerging markets. Nenad is the author of “The Future of Business in Emerging Markets: Growth Strategies for Growth Markets” (2012), “The Global Economy” (2012), lead author of “Emerging Markets: Lessons for Business Success and Outlook for Different Markets” (2003, 2007), and a contributor to the book “The Future of Money” (2010). He is one of the world’s leading authorities on economic and business issues that concern multinational corporations seeking faster growth internationally. He performs on average two speeches/advisory sessions every week at various corporate meetings on issues ranging from global, regional and country level economic/business outlooks to best business practices for outperforming competition internationally. In corporate circles he is well-known for not using any notes or power point slides while speaking and engaging in discussion. Nenad is former Vice President of The Economist Group (Economist Intelligence Unit) where he spent almost two decades advising multinationals on economic and business issues and managing several business units in Europe, Middle East and Africa and one business unit globally. He chaired over 100 Economist Government Roundtables with Prime Ministers/Presidents and their cabinets throughout Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Middle East, Africa and Latin America. Nenad is a board member of the Center for Creative Leadership (globally no. 1 provider of leadership education). He is guest faculty at Duke Corporate Education (globally no. 1 provider of corporate education), Notre Dame Executive MBA and a number of corporate universities. He was educated in Austria where he studied international business,

finance and economics. Nenad lives with his wife and three daughters near Vienna, Austria. He spends his rare free time mostly with his family, but occasionally sneaks out to play basketball, tennis, golf and to ski and swim.

Cyril Piaia Associate Partner, Stratford & Russell Eng. Cyril Piaia, a well-known figure in the tourism development sector in Oman since over a decade, is currently spearheading the management and operations of Stratford & Russell (http://www.stratfordrussell.com/) as Associate Partner. Stratford & Russell is a network of independent real estate, finance, hospitality professionals and senior industry leaders with multidisciplinary expertise in Europe, Middle East and Asia / Africa, focusing on providing end-to-end tailored solutions for Hospitality & Real Estate Investors, Owners, Financiers and Operators with a hands-on pragmatic approach. Stratford & Russell provide Real Estate Finance & Hospitality Advisory including Capital Raising Strategies (debt / equity), Deal Structuring and Asset pricing, Coinvestors sourcing, Transaction monitoring, SPA/SHA negotiations… . Previously, Cyril Piaia acted as CEO of Musstir, a major private Omani property developer part of MB Holding Group, with a total of US$ 1.6 Billion investments over 11 properties and ITC projects. Musstir’s projects included renowned international hotel operators from midscale up to ultraluxury, such as Louis Vuitton Cheval Blanc, Anantara, Per Aquum, Radisson, Park-Inn…; Latest addition to Oman luxury market was the opening of the stunning “Al Baleed Salalah Resort by Anantara” in 2017, with 136 exclusive rooms out of each 106 spectacular pool-villas overlooking Al Baleed Archeological site, lagoons and white sandy


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beaches. Piaia served earlier as CEO of Muriya Tourism Development company (a 70%/30% joint venture between Egyptian Group Orascom and Government development arm OMRAN) successfully leading from the front the development of 4 largest ITC projects in Oman with total land bank of 33.6 million m2, US$ 2.8 billion investments: Sifah waterfront (Jebel Sifah): 6.2 million m2 integrated community, 5 five-star resorts (including Four Seasons & Anantara), 1 Boutique hotel, marina 200 berths, marina town, 18-holes PGA Peter Harradine golf course, 950 residential units Salalah waterfront (Hawana): 15.7 million m2 integrated community, 5 five-star resorts (including Mövenpick, Rotana, Club Med), 2 Boutique hotels, 1 marina 250 berths, 9 km of lagoons, 1 marina town, 36-holes PGA Peter Harradine golf course and 1,150 residential units Sodah Island LVMH project: 11.1 million m2, 7-star ultra-luxury ecolodge (operated by LVMH “Cheval Blanc”), marina, 32 private pool villas, diving & sports centre. Design by Jean Michel Gatty (Denniston) City Walk downtown: 500,000 m2, mix-use with 1 five-star hotel (Grand Hyatt), 2 shopping malls, restaurants, 250 office spaces, 150 residential units, pedestrian areas, aiming at creating a “city downtown” in Muscat Piaia is holding a Master Degree in Engineering from top-leading school Ecole Centrale in France, along with proficiency in the fields of Finance and Economics. While being hands-on with his team on the development of various projects in the country and abroad, Piaia is also actively involved in the development of the economic bilateral relation between Oman and France, as President of the French Foreign Trade Advisors appointed by the French Prime

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Minister and Board Member of Oman France Association. Piaia also previously held an advisory post with the United Nations in Bangkok, Thailand and acted 9 years in Strategy and Corporate Finance consulting with Arthur Andersen in Paris, while spearheading the development of Arthur Andersen’s leading consulting practice for Travel & Tourism in Europe. Of the lesser known facts about the CEO of Musstir is his passion for desert exploration, high mountaineering and archaeological digs in Guyana forest and Libya.

Ramsay Rankoussi Senior Director Business Development, Middle East & Africa, Radisson Hotel Group Based in Dubai, Ramsay looks after the Group’s strategic growth across the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey and reports directly to the Chief Development Officer. Tasked with increasing the Group’s regional hotel portfolio and footprint, Ramsay is an expert dealmaker, leading transactions from sourcing through to execution. He is proficient in legal contract negotiations, due diligence and financial analysis. He oversees the underwriting, strategic planning, investment analysis and asset management activities for all type of deal structuring, including conversions and take overs, financial commitments, franchise and straight management agreements. Ramsay previously led the investment arm of Millennium Hotels & Resorts, one of the Middle East’s fastest-growing hotel groups. During this time, he helped take the company into the top 10 ranks in the region. A Belgian national, Ramsay is fluent in multiple languages and with a multi-cultural background. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and an MBA

specialized in Hotel Real Estate Finance and Asset Management from the ESSEC Business School (IMHI) in Paris.

Thuy Tranthi Rieder Chief Marketing Officer, Rosewood Hotel Group In her role, Thuy is responsible for creating and driving innovative branding, communications, marketing and sales strategies to increase awareness, capture market share and build profitable growth for the group. She has over 20 years’ marketing, sales and general management experience leading global teams in consumer, luxury and hospitality brands. Prior to joining Rosewood Hotel Group, Thuy held chief global marketing leadership roles and was a member of the executive boards of two luxury goods and fashion subsidiaries of the Richemont Group, Chloé and Lancel where she led all advertising, PR, events, digital, social media, publishing CRM, architecture and visual merchandising teams to define and implement results-driven global brand strategy. Thuy started her career in the finance industry with Wall Street. After stints with Disney and Elizabeth Arden, she subsequently spent nearly a decade with LVMH, Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, commencing in corporate strategic planning and e-commerce before taking on several senior management positions, including U.S. President of Céline, U.S. President of Thomas Pink and General Manager Hawaii of Louis Vuitton, where she spearheaded the development of profitable retail networks and creative brand awareness campaigns. Thuy received her Bachelor of Arts in economics from Barnard College, Columbia University. She subsequently earned her M.Phil. in development economics from Cambridge University and her MBA from Harvard University.


Damien Rizzi Associate Director Hotels, Colliers International Damien has worked in the hotel industry for the last 19 years, starting his career in operations with Starwood and Marriott in Europe, moving on to a development role in Mexico. Before relocating to the Middle East, he worked for Yellowstone Club, a US based ultra-high net worth destination club, as General Manager. In Dubai, Damien worked as a hospitality consultant with an edge in F&B before working for Meraas, helping them to create their F&B portfolio and bringing brands to Dubai. Damien oversees the Hospitality Asset Management Function for Colliers International MENA office in Dubai. In his role, he performs strategic asset reviews, develops asset plans and helps owners set up their in-house asset management capabilities. Damien holds a MBA from INSEAD and a bachelor degree from the Lausanne Hotel School.

Tea Ros Founder & Managing Director of Strategic Hotel Consulting Tea Ros is the Founder and Managing Director of Strategic Hotel Consulting, an international management consulting firm specialising in hotel investments. Tea is based in Switzerland and has 15 years of consulting experience within Europe, Middle East and Asia. She is a member of the International Society of Hospitality Consultants (ISHC), the leading source for global hospitality expertise. Prior to establishing Strategic Hotel Consulting in 2009, Tea was in Asia with Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels and in the Middle East with TRI Hospitality Consulting. Tea has comprehensive operational

AHIC SPECIAL EDITION APRIL 2018

background, having worked with the Four Seasons, Rosewood and Starwood in positions covering F&B, rooms division, sales and marketing, yield management and Six Sigma process improvement and management. Tea is a graduate from the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom.

Robin Rossmann Managing Director, STR Robin Rossmann is Managing Director of STR, leading its operations across the Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and Central and South America regions. Robin is focused on continuing to improve the way STR provides the hotel industry with robust and insightful performance benchmarking that enables stakeholders to make better decisions. Prior to STR, Robin was a Senior Director in Deloitte’s Global Hospitality Advisory Team in London. During his 13 years with Deloitte, he advised leading hotel brands, operators, investors and lenders in most major global markets. His wide range of experience includes advising on hotel strategy, business planning, investment appraisal, market reviews, financial and commercial due diligence, IPOs, debt advisory, valuation, financial assurance, controls improvement and risk management.

Hatem Samman Advisor to CEO, General Entertainment Authority Hatem Samman is presently Advisor to the Chief Executive Officer for the Saudi Arabian Entertainment Authority. Prior to this position he was Chief Economist and Economic Advisor at the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA). He was Director and Lead Economist of the Ideation Center—Booz & Company’s (now Strategy &) Middle East Think Tank, held the position of Vice President at a major Saudi Bank and was Director of Regulatory Affairs and Strategic Planning at a major regional telecommunications company. He

was Senior Fellow at the University of Minnesota and Consultant at the World Bank, among other positions. Dr. Samman has published several academic articles in the International Journal of Applied Economics, the Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, among others. He is often requested to give talks, presentations, and participate in panel discussions in major institutions such as INSEAD, USC Energy Institute, Dubai’s Department of Economic Development, and Falcon & Associates. He is frequently quoted in regional and international magazines and newspapers such as the Financial Times, and often appears as an expert on BBC, AlArabiya, and CNBC Arabia. Dr. Samman has co-authored numerous Strategy & and Ideation Center publications, including How to Succeed at Education Reform: The Case for Saudi Arabia and the Broader GCC Region (2008), The Vital Role of Sovereign Wealth Funds in the GCC’s Future (2009), and Meeting the Employment Challenge in the GCC: The Need for a Holistic Strategy (2010). Dr. Samman holds a Bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences from the University of California, San Diego and a PhD in Political Economy & Public Policy from the University of Southern California.

Gaurav Sinha Founder & CEO, Insignia Gaurav founded Insignia in 2003, and stands as the visionary mastermind behind the world’s first brand enrichment company, specializing in travel and destination creation. As a creative protagonist, Gaurav has accumulated a formidable portfolio of achievements that has solidified his status as an internationally recognized leader in his field. Based in Dubai for the past 22 years and previous to launching Insignia, Gaurav spent a decade in advertising at Lowe. He then took on the illustrious role of Head of Marketing for Hilton Worldwide in the Arabian Gulf, 1998 to 2002.


AHIC 2018

In 2014 Gaurav was noted as Indian Entrepreneur of the Year by Entrepreneur Middle East Magazine and has enjoyed a variety of accolades such as being listed at #47 in Arabian Business Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential Indians in the GCC. As much a philanthropist as an entrepreneur, Gaurav believes strongly in giving back and in 2009 set up Harmony House, a day shelter for the underprivileged in India with his wife Lucy Bruce.

Gurjit Singh Senior Vice President, Real Estate, Dubai World Trade Centre Gurjit has been in the UAE for over a decade and is currently the SVP – Real Estate with the Dubai World Trade Centre, overseeing its multi asset city centre redevelopment programme and the development of its assets at the Dubai Expo 2020 conurbation. Previously he was the COO of Sorouh Real Estate PJSC and the Chief Development Officer of Aldar Properties PJSC, listed companies in Abu Dhabi. Gurjit was also the Group Director – Real Estate with the Sentosa Development Corporation for more than a decade, planning, developing and managing the Sentosa Island, the Integrated Resort and Sentosa Cove in Singapore. Prior to that another decade with Sime Darby Ltd and the then Jones Lang Wootton in Malaysia. Gurjit was educated at the University of Cambridge, and has authored numerous publications on real estate development and management.

Patrick Smith Chief Operating Officer, IFA Real Estate Services With more than 20 years of industry experience, Patrick has been a pivotal founding member of the company, joining IFA Hotels & Resorts in 2004 supporting the company’s international expansion, before heading the Middle East Development team, and then subsequently joining IFA Hotel Investments in 2010 to assist building what is now the IFA Real

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Estate Services Group.

ever-changing world.

The IFA Real Estate Services Group comprises more than 20 real estate related service companies organized into six business divisions. The Group provides fully integrated hospitality, facility and real estate services on a contract and consumer basis within its separate integrated business streams serving each sector. Patrick leads the operational and strategic direction of the Group in support of the Company’s Vice Chairman.

Hospitality uses the online space to operate and is ever more reliant on technology. It presents a new challenge for the industry to protect our hard earned work from cybercriminals.

Prior to joining IFA, Patrick was Schooled via The Savoy Group's Management Training Programme in London followed by five years feasibility and valuation consulting with PKF and HVS International covering Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Filippo Sona Director, Head of Hotels, (MENA Region), Colliers International Filippo Sona has been in the global hotel industry for the past 20 years working for International hotel companies and consultancies in UK, USA, Middle East and North Africa. Filippo is specialized in destination and hotel development for mixed uses and stand alone projects, market & financial feasibility study, operator selection and strategic asset management. Filippo understanding of management agreements has been an invaluable skill to global law firms as an expert witness in International Arbitrations. His extensive operational background allows Filippo to provide true strategic operational and financial advice, to enhance hotel profitability and drive asset value. Filippo holds an MBA from Oxford Brooks University and an Honours Degree in Hospitality Management from Thames Valley University, London.

Simon Taylor Partner, RANt Consultants As a brand specialist, most recently with Condé Nast International Restaurants, Simon understands important business challenges in an

With over 20 years in hospitality and brand development, Simon has moved into the world of ‘Brand Diligence in Cyberspace’, bringing a common-sense knowledge to working and protecting hospitality today. He ensures the cybersecurity world is simplified and accessible for the CEO and Hospitality Pro to protect the brands we love in Cyberspace.

Shaji Thomas Executive Director, Destination Tourism Development, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority Shaji Thomas is the Executive Director of Destination Tourism Development for Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority and in his remit, he manages B2B relationships, MICE and Market insights. Responsible for initiating strategic alliances with travel trade associations and airlines among other major industry players, Shaji is key to further boosting international visitor numbers to Ras Al Khaimah. Prior to joining RAK TDA, Shaji was the Area Director of Sales and Marketing for Hyatt Hotels (in Dubai and West India) and prior to that, the Area Director of Sales for IHG Northern Gulf. During these stints, he was responsible for providing support and strategic oversight to all brands across functions of Sales, Marketing, Events and Revenue Management. An Engineering school graduate with multiple Management Development Program certifications , Shaji has been associated with varied sectors and Industries in his illustrious career of 23 years.


Book hote at the low possible p


el rooms west price.

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Richard Thompson Editorial Director, MEED Richard Thompson is the Editorial Director of MEED. He is responsible for the content of MEED Magazine, MEED.com, MEED Projects & MEED Insights. A keen student of Middle East political and economic affairs, Richard regularly writes and contributes articles to the wider media, including Financial Times and the BBC. He is also a regular speaker on Middle East economy. Richard joined MEED as Managing Editor in February 2003. During his time at MEED, he has covered many areas of the Middle East economy including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon. He was named MEED editor in April 2007 and become Editorial Director in February 2010. He has a Masters degree in International Relations, and a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering with Management Law. Prior to becoming a journalist he worked in the UK construction industry for Atkins and for Laing O’Rourke.

Ritesh Tilani Founding Partner, enhance; Co-CEO, joigifts.com Ritesh Tilani is a serial entrepreneur and investor, with venture capital, blue chip MNC and top-tier global consulting experience. Ritesh is currently Founding Partner at 'enhance', a holding company consisting of online businesses that provide life-enhancing services to consumers. enhance has also formed strategic alliances with leading international VCs to support their portfolio companies with growing their businesses in the Middle East. enhance's current portfolio includes joi (www.joigifts.com), the leading online gift platform in the Middle East and Medigo (www.medigo.com), a global disruptor in the medical travel space. In addition, Ritesh is as a mentor, advisor, angel investor and board member to multiple startups and accelerators, a regular speaker and judge at various events and startup competitions, and the former Head of UAE at iMENA

AHIC SPECIAL EDITION APRIL 2018

Group, making him an active player in the region’s startup ecosystem. He has also been a consultant with Bain & Company’s Singapore Office, and the Head of Strategy for MENA at Nokia. Ritesh is a native of the UAE with over 25 years of experience in the region. He holds a B.Sc. in Economics from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and an MBA from INSEAD.

Philip Wooller Area Director Middle East, STR Based in Dubai, Philip leads STR’s business development and client relations for the Middle East and Africa region. He spent two decades in hospitality, and his career has spanned several senior positions in hotel operations and management, sales, marketing and revenue management for a variety of hotel companies. Philip joined The Bench in 2006 and transferred to the STR team in 2008.

Costas Verginis Regional Vice President Lodging Development - Middle East, Marriott International Costas is a hospitality professional with 20+ years experience in the hospitality industry. Costas has served the hospitality industry in various capacities, namely hotel operations, hospitality education, hospitality consultancy and since January 2013 hotel development. Costas started his education in a traditional Swiss Hotel School, followed by Master and Doctoral degrees in the UK. His PhD thesis is in the area of real estate finance and specifically on hotel feasibilities and valuations. Costas held various operational roles in hotels in Switzerland, Cyprus and the UK, and taught hospitality related courses in the UK, Greece and the UAE. Between 2006 and 2012 Costas led Deloitte’s hospitality and real estate Middle East consulting team, and in this capacity he has advised many developers and hotel owners across

the Middle East in areas of strategic growth, business planning, growth strategy, asset management, hotel operator selection, feasibility studies, and market trend analysis. Since January 2013, Costas joined the Marriott International lodging development team, with focus on the markets of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain.

Suma Venkatesh Senior Vice President – Real Estate & Development, The Indian Hotels Company Ltd Suma Venkatesh, Senior Vice President – Real Estate & Development, The Indian Hotels Company Ltd., heads the company’s Development, Technical Services and Projects functions. She oversees Taj Group’s initiatives for growth through green field developments, acquisitions, licenses and management contracts. Over the last 15 years with the Taj Group, she has been involved in doubling the Group’s inventory to 141 hotels with 17300+ keys. Ms. Venkatesh is an Electrical Engineer by training and holds a Masters Degree in Management Studies from the Mumbai University in India. She has over 25 years of cross functional experience across industries. Before joining the Taj Group, she has worked in different functions across multiple industry sectors in India.

Simon Vincent EVP and President, EMEA, Hilton Vincent is President EMEA for Hilton. Based in London, Vincent is responsible for more than 450 hotels across nine brands with more than 46,000 Team Members in 57 countries. Since joining the company in 2007, Vincent has overseen the opening of more than 200 hotels and spearheaded growth in the multibrand proposition, which along with core brand Hilton Hotels & resorts includes, Conrad Hotels & Resorts,


AHIC 2018

Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton by Hilton, Curio – A Collection by Hilton and Canopy by Hilton. A 20-year veteran of the leisure and travel industry, Vincent was previously CEO of Opodo, the panEuropean online travel agency. He also spent 13 years at the Thomas Cook Group, latterly as Chief Operating Officer of the UK Travel Division. Vincent has extensive international experience having held a number of pan-European roles and has also worked in North America and Japan. He spent the early part of his career in International Banking with HSBC. He sits on Hilton’s global executive committee, represents the company as co-Chair of the UK Tourism Council and is a member of the governing council for the International Tourism Partnership. Vincent is also a non-executive director at iconic London retailer Fortnum & Mason and a Trustee of the Jigsaw School, an independent day school for children on the autistic spectrum. In January 2015 he received an OBE for his services to the hospitality and tourism industries, having been recognized in the New Year Honours List.

and the inaugural Iran Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference in 2017.

assistance to pursue their dreams and talent.

Bench Events has also branched out into the related fields of aviation and F&B, with the respective launches of AviaDev Africa, inaugurated in 2016, and The Global Restaurant Investment Forum now in its fourth year.

Jake Wright Investments, SmartCrowd

In 1997, Jonathan was one of the founding members of the annual International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF) in Berlin, a conference he subsequently organised for 19 years, which today attracts over 2,000 delegates. Earlier in his career, Jonathan worked for real estate consultants CBRE & Hotel Partners, hotel advisors PKF and hotel operator Forte & Holiday Inns. Jonathan sits as a shareholder and board director of STR, a global benchmarking company with over 50,000 participating hotels following the merger of The Bench, STR and Deloitte’s Hotel Benchmark. He sits on the board of Hotel Swaps, which allows participating members to swap empty hotel rooms with other members around the globe and is an investor in TripTease, the tech start-up that enables hotels to increase direct sales and aims to defeat rate disparity.

Jonathan Worsley, Chairman of Bench Events, is one of the founders and organisers of multiple leading international conferences for the hotel investment industry, including the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference in Dubai, now in its 14th year, The Summit in London, the Asia Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference and the Africa Hotel Investment Forum.

Jonathan and his colleagues are actively involved raising money for the communities in which Bench Events works. They raised more than £200,000 for TUSK, Cancer Research and the Rwanda Cricket Stadium Foundation by participating in the Kili Madness challenge and breaking the World Record for the highest game of cricket ever played on top of Kilimanjaro. In 2016, Jonathan cycled from Amsterdam to Berlin with nine others for the opening of IHIF and raised funds for the Anne Frank Trust and Future Talent, a feat he will tackle again in 2017.

More recently, Jonathan and his team have entered the Latin America market partnering with SAHIC in Cuba and Buenos Aires

Jonathan is a Trustee of Future Talent, a charity that provides financial support to gifted young musicians in need of financial

Jonathan Worsley Chairman and Founder, Bench Events

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Jake Wright has been working in the financial services sector for over 10 years, primarily structuring real estate development and investment proposals in London. Jake was one of the early team members to help establish and grow Beehive Group, a FinTech start-up and the first regulated debt based crowdfunding platform in the United Arab Emirates. In recent years, Jake has been working with international hospitality groups and developers to identify and structure strategic development opportunities.

María Zarraluqui Global Head of Development, Meliá Hotels International María Zarraluqui is Global Development Managing Director for Meliá Hotels International Group, she is heading the worldwide development for the Group and is responsible for executing together with her team of developers the growth strategy of Meliá worldwide, having signed over the last 3 years more than 110 deals worldwide. María holds a Law degree from the University of Navarra in Spain, as well as a Master’s degree in Enterprises Legal Consultancy for the Deusto University in, Spain, a Postgraduate degree in Urban Development Law from the UIB University and got a Mention of honour as number 1 of the 20082009 Executive Tourist MBA, IE Business School, in Spain. She joined Meliá´s legal Department in 1999, on 2008 she joined the Development team as Development Director and was promoted to Global Development Managing Director in 2011.


influencers M A G A Z I N E

Influencer marketing is quickly becoming a major part of the social marketing strategies for many marketers and agencies a like. With digital marketing spend increasing every year, more and more dollars are being devoted to influencer marketing programs due to their potential for significant ROI yields with often less resources. The value of influencer marketing is undeniable and no matter the size, resources, or sophistication, of a marketer or agency, all should be considering integrating an influencer marketing strategy into their social plans, even if their just beginning. The prospect of being able to reach consumers, inside and outside your traditional audience, in engaging ways, and through trusted voices is value that can’t be found through many if any other forms of social media marketing. This could not be more evident in the beauty, cosmetics and spa market, brands are more than comfortable when it comes to sponsorship and generic advertising strategies, but the role of the beauty social influencer is now at a stage where this too must be considered vital for any brands marketing strategy.

www.theinfluencersmagazine.com


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Huda Kattan With 21.5 million followers on Instagram, beauty guru Huda Kattan takes the number-one spot among Dubai’s social media influencers. The certified makeup artist works with Hollywood celebrities and is famous for her YouTube makeup tutorials and her internationally sold cosmetics brand, Huda Kattan. @hudabeauty


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Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed With 5.7 million followers on Instagram, Dubai’s Crown Prince sure knows a thing or two about photography. Through his Instagram account he shares his adventures, travels, charities, and poems. He shows us how genuine and normal he is. @faz3 influencers


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Fouz Alfahad Famously known as The Real Fouz, Alfahad is a lifestyle blogger based in Dubai and Kuwait. The Kuwaiti national has an Instagram account with 2.1 million followers, making her one of the most followed social media influencers in the region. She works with giant Dubai-based brands such as Emaar as well as internationally renowned names such as De Grisogono. @therealfouz

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Mahmoud Sidani Also known as Mr Moudz, Sidani is the most popular male social influencer in the Arab world. He’s famous for having a celebrity-filled social life and luxury lifestyle, often blogging about his elite circle and high-end fashion choices. He has over 97,200 followers on Instagram. @mrmoudz


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Elias El-Indari If you’re a businessman who’s into luxury life, you should probably follow Elias. The menswear and lifestyle influencer calls his blog “a gentleman’s inspiration”. He focuses on style and travel and has 37,600 Instagram followers @eliaselindari

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Saudi Gamer If you’re someone who is obsessed with games then you need to follow the Saudi Gamer. This account is run by two individuals. One is Dubai-based and the other is Ali Qar’awi. Together they focus on creating an entertaining site where you can read articles, watch videos about games and even listen to a podcast. The Saudi Gamer already has over 1.4 million followers on Instagram and about 1.7 million followers on YouTube. @saudigamer

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Taim Al Falasi Taim Al Falasi is an Emirati socialmedia sensation who has over 2.4 million followers. Famous for hosting the online radio programme, TaimShow, Al Falasi has established a career as an internet filmmaker, vlogger and celebrity interviewer. Her brand has collected over 441,426 YouTube subscribers in the last three years. Her Instagram feed consists mainly of travel photos, video blogs and culture/eventrelated images, with her posts attracting upwards of 30,000 likes each. @taimalfalasi


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Bader Najeeb Twenty-year-old, self-taught Emirati chef Bader Najeeb first put on a chef’s apron at 13. With the help of his mum and YouTube, he had two TV shows by the time he was 18 and currently has 87,500 followers. Bader’s Instagram account is filled with fun recipes, travel photos and cool inspiration. We are obsessed! @chef.b influencers


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Joelle Mardinian This television host is the beauty expert behind beauty centre Maison de Joelle – located across the gulf region in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar – as well as the founder of cosmetic clinic Clinica Joelle. As a result, Mardinian has become a social influencer with 6.7 million followers on Instagram.

@joellembc1


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Deema Al Asadi This blogger and social influencer has succeeded in collecting over 436,000 followers in a short period of time. How? She focuses on the latest fashion and makeup trends in Dubai. She stands out for her classy and moderately conservative style @deemaalasadi

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Sheida Fashionista This certified makeup artist is known solely as ‘Sheida Fashionista.’ She focuses on fashion and beauty and works with countless regional and international brands. She has over 600,000 Instagram followers. @sheidafashionista

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Tala Samman This lifestyle blogger is one of Dubai’s very first social influencers and founder of MyFashDiary blog. She’s one of the few who provide useful guides to the city such as the newest restaurants to try. Her blog covers everything from fashion to cosmetics and sports. Samman has almost 120,000 Instagram followers.

@myfashdiary


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Mariam Rod This half Persian, half Kurdish lifestyle blogger started posting Instagram pictures of her luxury life in Dubai before picking up over 685,000 followers. In the past two years, she became one of the most prominent social influencer in the city – working with several regional and international brands. @mariam

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H.E.R. Gabriella 'Gabi' Wilson ,better known by her stage name H.E.R. (acronym for "Having Everything Revealed") is an American singersongwriter from Vallejo, California. She signed to RCA Records and has released two extended plays under the label: H.E.R. Volume 1 (2016) and H.E.R. Volume 2 (2017). Her identity remains unknown as she prefers to remain anonymous and only be represented by her music. @hermusicoďŹƒcial

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Leena Al Ghouti With an on-point wardrobe of premium streetwear worn with her own inimitable edgy style and a DKNY Ramadan collection campaign on her fashion CV, this is one street style star to watch.

@leenalghouti


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Golden Barbie From walking the runways of Milan to partying up in Paris with supermodels friends Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid, model Jasmine Sanders, aka the Golden Barbie, is hard to keep up with these days--even for her millions of followers. Although she is best known for her wild, blonde curls and piercing grey-blue eyes, the rising star is constantly changing up her look. Here, Sanders reveals a busy girl's guide to beauty, from the most restorative hair masks to her favorite beauty spots in Beverly Hills.

@golden_barbie inuencers


top middle east social media influencers

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Mrs Keepa While on her honeymoon, Egyptian-French fashion designer Mariam Yehia decided to take a leap of faith to change the course of her career. Before launching her womenswear label, Mrs. Keepa (the moniker inspired by her husband’s nickname), Yehia worked in real estate but handed in her resignation to enroll at ESMOD Dubai. The mother of two, who toys with playful prints, flowing silhouettes and 70s-inspired cuts, hails from a family of designers. @mrskeepa


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Diala Makki Known for her time as a regular TV show host, producer, and writer in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. She has particularly covered red carpet events there as the host of the Arabian TV series Mashaheer.She has served as an international brand ambassador for various luxury brands, which include Pantene and Dior. In 2015, she was named one of the 100 Most Powerful Arab Personalities Under 40 by Arabian Business.

@dialamakki

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Dalal AlDoub Dalalid started blogging about her outfits and suggested makeup tips in 2012. She shared her experiences on her blog and on Instagram. She never thought that she would become one of the most influential bloggers in Kuwait. In a very short time, her influence spread. It covered the Gulf Cooperation Council countries (GCC) and the Arab world. She aims to be recognized internationally, and is happy to announce that it is already happening. Dalalid’s most important goal is to empower women. She aspires to provide them with confidence, and encourages them to become their own stylists and makeup artists @dalalid


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Imaan Hammam She’s only 18 years old but Dutch model Imaan Hammam has already walked for the likes of Alexander McQueen and Versace, as well as appearing in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. Imaan, who is of Moroccan and Egyptian descent, was discovered in Amsterdam in 2010 and made her modeling breakout in 2013 in Givenchy’s Paris Fashion Week showcase.

@imaanhammam

influencers


worldinfluencers.s


social

A social media guide to all the leading social media influencers worldwide http://worldinfluencers.social


Meet the sponsors AT AHIC Meet the businesses sponsoring the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC), all of whom will be in attendance for AHIC 2018

Host partner: Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority The Tourism Development Authority has a very clear focus. It is to advance and grow the development of a sustainable and competitive tourism industry in Ras Al Khaimah. This is being achieved by working hand-inhand with industry and other stakeholders, to achieve the desired targets for visitor numbers, revenue and job creation by 2019. en.raktda.com

Platinum sponsors: Al Marjan Island A series of four connected man-made islands, Al Marjan is located in the west of Ras Al Khaimah. Extending a vast 4.5 kilometres into the sea, the island covers an area of 2.7 million square metres. With waterfront homes, quality hotels and resorts, marinas, private beaches for residents, leisure, retail and recreational facilities, this ambitious development is a truly unique destination. almarjanisland.com

AHIC SPECIAL EDITION APRIL 2018

Hilton As one of the most recognised name in the industry, travellers all over the world have been saying “Take me to the Hilton” for almost a century. Hilton Hotels & Resorts remains a stylish, forward thinking global leader of hospitality – and helps make travelling easier with their smart design, innovative restaurant concepts, authentic hospitality and commitment to the global community. www3.hilton.com Rezidor Hotel Group Rezidor Hotel Group aims to be a trusted industry leader for Responsible Business in its interactions with all stakeholders including: owners, developers, partners, guests, employees and the local communities in which the company operates. Rezidor Hotel Group’s award-winning Responsible Business programme is built on three pillars: Think People: taking responsibility for the wellbeing of our guest and employees Think Community: working together with other organisations to reach out to the community Think Planet: reducing our negative impact on the environment www.rezidor.com


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Strategic partner: Dur Hospitality Established in 1976, this leading Saudi hospitality company is recognised for its extensive record in managing, developing and operating a wide portfolio of hotels and residential compounds across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. www.dur.sa/en

Emerald sponsors: AccorHotels AccorHotels’ dynamic brands are established in 100 countries and are continuing their steady growth. A new AccorHotels address opens every two days. www.accorhotels.com Bahrain Economic Development Board The Economic Development Board of Bahrain is the first port of call for entities wanting to establish their business in Bahrain. bahrainedb.com Emaar Hospitality Group A wholly-owned subsidiary of Emaar Properties PJSC, Emaar Hospitality Group is one of the world’s most valuable real estate development companies with proven competencies in property, shopping malls and retail as well as hospitality and leisure. www.emaar.com

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Grant Thornton Grant Thornton is one of the world's largest professional services network of independent accounting and consulting member firms which provide assurance, tax and advisory services to privately held businesses, public interest entities, and public sector entities. www.grantthornton.co.uk IHG IHG® is one of the world’s leading hotel companies, with more than 375,000 people working across almost 100 countries to deliver true hospitality for everyone. www.ihg.com Insignia A strategic brand consultancy offering integrated strategy, design and communication services for travel, tourism and hospitality brands. www.insigniaworldwide.com Marriott International Marriott International, Inc. is a leading global lodging company with more than 6,500 properties across 127 countries and territories, Founded by J. Willard and Alice Marriott and guided by family leadership for 90 years, the company is headquartered outside of Washington, D.C. in Bethesda, Maryland. www.marriott.com

SMIT The main priority of Moroccan Agency for Tourism Development, SMIT, is the attractiveness of the tourism product. A young and competent team specialised in tourism investment will help you make the right decisions at the implementation or the extension of your company in Morocco. smit.gov.ma/en Wyndham Hotel Group The world’s largest and most diverse hotel business, with a global portfolio of more than 8,400 hotels and approximately 728,200 rooms in 80 countries, Wyndham Hotel Group is a hospitality powerhouse with iconic brands united by the richest and simplest rewards program in the business, Wyndham Rewards. Offering members a simple-to-use, generous points earning structure along with a flat, free night redemption rate – the first of its kind for a major rewards program, Wyndham Rewards® offers members the chance to earn and redeem points for hundreds of rewards options around the world every day. www.wyndhamworldwide.com


Gold sponsors: Action Hotels Action Hotels Company (AHC) is a leading owner, developer and asset manager of branded three to four star hotels in the Middle East and Australia. Established in 2005, AHC currently operates 13 hotels with a strong development pipeline which will see its portfolio increase to 17 hotels providing a total of over 3,000 rooms by 2019. www.actionhotels.com Al Kamal AlKamal International is one of the most prominent design & build contractors in Saudi Arabia specialised in the hospitality industry. Its most notable projects include the Hilton Makkah Hotel & Towers, Al Marwa Rayhaan Makkah by Rotana, the Jabal Omar Hilton Suites and Marriott hotels. The company is an innovator in the industry and has successfully completed the first aquarium, first auction house and first high-tech school in Saudi Arabia. alkamalintl.com Colliers International A leading global real estate services organisation defined by its spirit of enterprise. Colliers International’s 15,400 professionals operating in 69 countries are dedicated to creating strategic partnerships with their clients, providing customised services that transform real estate into a competitive advantage. www.colliers.com/engb/unitedarabemirates

AHIC SPECIAL EDITION APRIL 2018

Honeywell Honeywell invents and manufactures technologies that address some of the world’s most critical challenges around energy, safety, security, productivity and global urbanisation. www.honeywell.com HVS Thousands of hotel owners, developers, investors, lenders, management companies, and public agencies around the world rely on HVS to support confident, informed business decisions. Since literally writing the book on how to value a hotel in 1980, HVS has evolved into the global professional services leader by continually providing our clients with unrivalled hospitality intelligence. www.hvs.com Louvre Hotels Group A major player in the global hospitality industry, with a portfolio that now includes 2,500 hotels in 52 countries, Louvre Hotels Group has a full hotel offering spanning 1 star to 5 stars, with the Louvre Hotels Group's historic brands (Première Classe, Kyriad, Campanile, Tulip Inn, Golden Tulip, Royal Tulip), the 5 brands of the Sarovar network in India, the french Group Hôtels and Préférence and Chinese brands (Metropolo, Jin Jiang Inn). www.louvrehotels.com/en/interna tional-group

Melia Hotels International Founded in 1956 in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, Meliá Hotels International is one of the largest hotel companies in the world and the largest hotel chain in Spain in both resort and city hotels. The company currently operates more than 370 hotels in 43 countries and 4 continents under its brands: Meliá, Gran Meliá, ME by Meliá, Paradisus, Innside by Meliá, TRYP by Wyndham, Sol Hotels and Club Meliá. www.melia.com PwC With offices in 158 countries and more than 236,000 people, PwC is among the leading professional services networks in the world. PwC helps organisations and individuals create the value they’re looking for, by delivering quality in assurance, tax and advisory services. www.pwc.com Taj Hotels Safaris Palaces Resorts Quintessentially Indian, Taj has been a preferred destination for esteemed personalities across the world. With over a 100 luxury properties across 62 destinations, Taj provides guests with memorable experiences in its luxury hotels, palaces, resorts, and nature safari lodges. Upholders of indigenous arts and crafts, local culture, and communities, Taj’s commitment towards the preservation of heritage is evident across its properties. Witness it in the art-inspired decor, or feel it in the forgotten Ayurvedic therapies at the Jiva Spa. www.tajhotels.co.uk


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Supporter: Time Hotels Through their superb collection of hotels, serviced apartments and residences, TIME – which was founded in Dubai in 2012 – brings a refreshing approach to the standard upscale lodging experience with energetic, hands-on leadership and proactive but always respectful service. www.timehotels.ae Country sponsor: New Zealand Trade & Enterprise New Zealand Trade & Enterprise is the government agency charged with attracting smart investment to New Zealand by working towards one single purpose: growing companies internationally, bigger, better and faster, for the benefit of New Zealand. www.nzte.govt.nz TFC Tourism Finance Corporation (TFC) is a corporate body established in 1965 through an Act of Parliament, Cap 382 of the Laws of Kenya. The Corporation is a specialised Development Financial Institution (DFI) with the mandate of facilitating and providing affordable development funding and advisory services for long-term investment in Kenya’s tourism industry. www.tourismfinance.go.ke

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Cornell Cornell Alumni Affairs and Development (AAD) has a long and distinguished history and remains one of the strongest and most vibrant programs among universities anywhere. Cornell AAD engages alumni, parents, and friends in the life of Cornell and help Cornellians connect with one another throughout their lives. alumni.cornell.edu HAMA The Hospitality Asset Managers Association (HAMA) is the preeminent organisation of professionals responsible for proactively increasing asset values on behalf of hotel owners worldwide. Their mission is the enhancement of hospitality asset managers through education, advancement of the profession, and serving as the collective industry voice of hospitality ownership. www.hamagroup.org

World Travel Awards World Travel Awards™ was established in 1993 to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all key sectors of the travel, tourism and hospitality industries. Today, the World Travel Awards™ brand is recognised globally as the ultimate hallmark of industry excellence. www.worldtravelawards.com


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BREAKING TRAVEL NEWS AHIC DAY ONE  
BREAKING TRAVEL NEWS AHIC DAY ONE