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2014 Speakers

Margreet Papamichael

Director, AECOM Economics

Mohamed Najia

Secretary General, Kuwait Hotel Owners Association

Nicolas Mayer

Partner & Industry Leader - Lodging & Tourism Clients Group, Pricewaterhouse Coopers

Piers Brown

CEO, Boutique Hotel Media

Oliver Ebner

Executive Director at Project & Specialised Finance, National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD)

Gert F. Kopera

Senior Vice President RnB, Jumeirah Group

Paul Macpherson

President & Managing Director, Whitbread Hotels & Restaurants International

Mark Martinovic

Chief Executive Officer, Hotel Spec

Costas Verginis

Senior Director of Lodging Development, Marriott International Inc. & Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company LLC

James Innes

Partner, Chrystal Capital Partners LLP

Nick van Marken

Global Head – Hospitality, Deloitte LLP

Elie Younes

Senior Vice President, Head of Group Development, The Rezidor Hotel Group

Dr Martin Berlin

PwC Partner , PricewaterhouseCoopers

Saahil Lalit

Associate Manager Hotels, MENA Region, Colliers International

Paul Griffiths

Chief Executive Officer, Dubai Airports

H.E. Issa bin Mohammed Al Mohannadi

Chairman, Qatar Tourism Authority

Kevin Underwood

Global Leader of Leisure and Culture, AECOM

Simon Coombs

President & CEO, Shaza Hotels

Dr Badr Al Badr

Chief Executive Officer, SHARACO

Amr Abdel Ghaffar

Regional Director - Middle East, UNWTO

Vernon Page

Chief Executive Officer , Hotel Partners Africa

Gabriel Von Bonsdorff

Senior Manager – Hospitality & Leisure, Aldar Properties P.

Hubert Viriot

Chief Investment Officer , IFA Hotels & Resorts

Jean-Jacques Dessors

Chief Executive Officer Mediterranean, Middle-East and Africa , ACCOR

Frits van Paasschen

President and Chief Executive Officer, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.

Abdellah Essonni

CEO, ABJAR Hotels International LLC

Alexandre Sogno

President, Hospitality Asset Managers Association Asia Pacific (HAMA AP).

Mary Gostelow

, Gostelow Report

Andrew Clough

Senior Vice President Development Middle East & Asia Pacific, Hilton Worldwide

Khalid Anib

Managing Director - Hotels Division, Al Hokair Group

Yousuf Lootah

Executive Director Tourism Development & Investments , Dubai’s Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing (DTCM)

Christoph Härle

Chief Executive Officer, Europe - Hotels & Hospitality Group, JLL

Bernard Forster

Director - Asset Management (Hospitality & Real Estate), Rani Investment

Peter Greenberg

Travel Editor, CBS News

Barry Curtis

Vice President - Global Strategic Accounts Buildings Business, Schneider Electric

Hala Matar Choufany

Regional Managing Director, HVS Dubai

HRH Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz

President & Managing Director, Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA)

Muhammad Al-Amir

Founder and Managing Director, Riyada international Hotels & Resorts Co.

Nenad Pacek

Co-Founder, CEEMEA Business Group, President, Global Success Advisors

Anil Bhardwaj

Director, A.A. Al Moosa Enterprises

Khatija Haque

Head of MENA Research, Emirates NBD

Edmund O’Sullivan

Chairman, MEED

Pascal Gauvin

Chief Operating Officer, India, Middle East & Africa, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 

Adel Jemah

Vice President, Hill International Inc.

Kees Hartzuiker

CEO, Roya International

Michael Glennie

President & Chief Operating Officer, FRHI Hotels & Resorts

Chiheb Ben-Mahmoud

Executive Vice President- Head of Hotels & Hospitality, Middle East & Africa, JLL

Trevor Ward

Managing Director, W Hospitality Group

Anita Mendiratta

Founder & Managing Director, CACHET Consulting

Joe Sita

CEO, IFA Hotel Investments

Kabir Mulchandani

Group CEO, SKAI Holdings

Jonathan Worsley

Chairman, Bench Events, Board Director, STR Global

Gordon Campbell Gray

Chairman, Campbell Gray Hotels

Ahmed Ramdan

Founder and Group CEO, Roya International

Lo’ai  Bataineh

DGM, Investment & Development, Head of Investment Management Group, Oman Arab Bank SAOC

Christopher R.J. Knable

Chief Operating Officer, Katara Hospitality

René Beil

Managing Director, Beaufort Global Partners LLC

Sameer Kazi

Head of Corporate Real Estate Investments, Sedco Holdings

Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan

Immediate Past President, Maldives

Olivier Granet

Director of Development Middle East, ACCOR

Wolfgang M. Neumann

President & CEO, The Rezidor Hotel Group

Selim El Zein

Head of Hotel Asset Management, MENA, Colliers International MENA Region

Jim Palmer

Funding Advisor, IFA Hotel Investments

Tim Kiltscher

Executive Director Asset Management, Seven Tides

Sven Doliwa

VP Sales & Development, WorldHotels

Paul Diab

Vice President-Operations, Golden Tulip MENA

Simon Hage

Associate Vice-President, Interior Design and Procurement, Design & Construction Department, Kingdom Hotel Investments

Elizabeth Winkle

Managing Director, STR Global

Russel Sharpe

Chief Operating Officer, Citymax Hotels - Landmark Group

Rutger Smits

CEO, Al Rayyan Tourism Investment Company

Nicholas Clayton

Chief Executive Officer, Group Operations, Jumeirah Group

Fergal Harris

Head of Commercial Real Estate, MENA, Standard Chartered

Tariq Hameed

Managing Director, Capitas Group International Limited

Gerald Lawless

President and Group Chief Executive Officer, Jumeirah Group

Geoffrey Lipman

President & Managing Director, ICTP (International Coalition of Tourism Partners

Peter Head

Executive Chairman, The Ecological Sequestration Trust

Paul Lonergan

Vice President Asset Management Hotels, Jumeirah Group

Alain Debare

Chief Executive Officer, Action Hotels Co.

Taras Ettl

Vice President Development - Middle East & Africa, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 

David Thomson

Chief Operating Officer, JA Resorts and Hotels

Norman Forsyth

Regional Director, Design & Engineering, MEA, InterContinental Hotels Group Asia Middle East and Africa (IHG)

Samer Abu Ayash

Senior Vice President Design,Construction and Real Estate, Kingdom Investments

Tom Hasker

UAE Country Director & Head of Project Management ME, Faithful + Gould

Mark Wynne-Smith

Global Chief Executive Officer – Hotels & Hospitality Group, JLL

Filippo Sona

Director | Head of Hotels  (MENA Region), Colliers International

Christopher Flinos

Managing Director, CH Stirling

Gordon Drake

Chief Financial Officer and Head of M&A, Kingdom Hotel Investments

Khaldoun Rashid Tabari

Vice Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Drake & Scull

Amro Attia Gomaa

Investments Principal, Holding Company for Tourism, Hotels & Cineama (HOTAC)

Andrew Sangster

Editorial Director, Hotel Analyst

Bernhard Bohnenberger

President, Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas

Khalaf Al Habtoor

Chairman, Al Habtoor Group

Abdulla Bin Sulayem

Chief Executive Officer, Seven Tides & Asteco

Bani Haddad

Regional Vice President – Middle East & Africa, Wyndham Hotel Group

Ben Martin

Principal, Head of Economics, AECOM

Greg Perry

Asset Manager, IFA Hotel Investments

Ron Hilvert

Founder and Managing Director, The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management

Martin Ostermann

Director of Development, Melia Hotels

HE Dr. Lahcen Haddad

Tourism Minister, Kingdom of Morocco

Ziad El Chaar

Managing Director, DAMAC Holding Co. LLC

Local Customs & Visas


Information concerning visa requirements for those travelling to the UAE are subject to change and should always be checked with your local travel agent or nearest UAE embassy before travelling.

For further information regarding visa requirements for entering the UAE please click here

Please note that the organizers are not in a position to sponsor visa applications.



Local Culture

Dress code – Dress code in Dubai is liberal compared to other Middle Eastern cities, however care should be taken not to give offence by wearing clothing which is too revealing.

Tipping - In Dubai most hotel and restaurant bills will have a 10% service charge and another 10% municipality tax added on, if not a figure of 10% is standard. If you are tipping porters or valets 5 or 10 Dirhams is plenty.

Photos – Avoid taking photos of government and military sites. As common courtesy dictates, permission should be granted before photographing individuals, especially women.

Taxis – Taxis are easily found in Dubai and can also be ordered by calling +971 4 208 0808. Try to have a supply of smaller notes as taxis often struggle to provide change.

Language – The official language of the UAE is Arabic, although English is widely spoken especially in business and trade fields.




Dubai enjoys an arid subtropical climate with year round sunshine. The hottest months of the year are from June until September when temperatures can reach well over 45oC.

During the month of May the weather conditions are as follows:

Rainfall (mm) 0
Min Temp (oC) 24
Max Temp (oC) 37
Min Temp (oF) 75
Max Temp (oF) 99

Click here for a live weather feed



Local time

The UAE is 4 hours ahead of GMT. There is no summer time savings when clocks are altered.