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2014 Speakers

Neil George

Senior Vice President, Acquisitions & Development Middle East & Africa, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.

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.

Geoffrey Lipman

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

Ziad El Chaar

Managing Director, DAMAC Holding Co. LLC

Bob Puccini

Chief Executive Officer, Bob Puccini Group

Kees Hartzuiker

CEO, Roya International

Nicholas Clayton

Chief Executive Officer, Group Operations, Jumeirah Group

Elizabeth Winkle

Managing Director, STR Global

Peter Greenberg

Travel Editor, CBS News

Paul Macpherson

President & Managing Director, Whitbread Hotels & Restaurants International

David Thomson

Chief Operating Officer, JA Resorts and Hotels

Animesh Pandey

Senior Manager Commercial Development, King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC)

Ron Hilvert

Founder and Managing Director, The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management

Amro Attia Gomaa

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

Fahd Al-Rasheed

Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, King Abdullah Economic City

Lo’ai  Bataineh

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

Anil Bhardwaj

Director, A.A. Al Moosa Enterprises

Catalin Cighi

Managing Partner, Cain Hospitality Innovation (CHI)

Samer Abu Ayash

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

Adel Jemah

Vice President, Hill International Inc.

Taras Ettl

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

Michael Glennie

President & Chief Operating Officer, FRHI Hotels & Resorts

Sumair Tariq

Managing Director, R Hotels

Rui M. Barros

SVP & Managing Director Europe, Middle East & Africa, Wyndham Hotel Group

Russel Sharpe

Chief Operating Officer, Citymax Hotels - Landmark Group

Abdulla Bin Sulayem

Chief Executive Officer, Seven Tides & Asteco

René Beil

Managing Director, Beaufort Global Partners LLC

Jim Palmer

Funding Advisor, IFA Hotel Investments

Samih Sawiris

Chairman, Orascom Development Holding AG

Barry Curtis

Vice President - Global Strategic Accounts Buildings Business, Schneider Electric

Vernon Page

Chief Executive Officer , Hotel Partners Africa

Olivier Granet

Director of Development Middle East, ACCOR

Tariq Hameed

Managing Director, Capitas Group International Limited

Andrew Clough

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

Greg Perry

Asset Manager, IFA Hotel Investments

Tom Hasker

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

Elie Younes

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

Bani Haddad

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

Khatija Haque

Head of MENA Research, Emirates NBD

Tim Kiltscher

Executive Director Asset Management, Seven Tides

Sven Doliwa

VP Sales & Development, WorldHotels

H.E. Issa bin Mohammed Al Mohannadi

Chairman, Qatar Tourism Authority

Adrian Jossa

Co-Founder & Owner, Muse Hotels de Luxe

Oliver Ebner

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

HE Helal Almarri

Director General, DTCM

HRH Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz

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

Dr Martin Berlin

PwC Partner , PricewaterhouseCoopers

Rutger Smits

CEO, Al Rayyan Tourism Investment Company

Ben Martin

Principal, Head of Economics, AECOM

Ashley Scott

Principal, EMEA Leader for Leisure + Culture, AECOM

Anita Mendiratta

Founder & Managing Director, CACHET Consulting

Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan

Immediate Past President, Maldives

Abraham Muthogo-Kamau

Head of Credit, Tourism Finance Corporation

Andrew Briganti

Analyst, Meed Insight

Khaldoun Rashid Tabari

Vice Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Drake & Scull

Nick van Marken

Global Head – Hospitality, Deloitte LLP

Chiheb Ben-Mahmoud

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

Christoph Härle

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

Bernhard Bohnenberger

President, Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas

Hubert Viriot

Chief Investment Officer , IFA Hotels & Resorts

Rami Moukarzel

Vice President, Development, Middle East & Africa , Fairmont Raffles Hotels International

Mohamed Najia

Secretary General, Kuwait Hotel Owners Association

Margreet Papamichael

Director, AECOM Economics

James Innes

Partner, Chrystal Capital Partners LLP

Jonathan Worsley

Chairman, Bench Events, Board Director, STR Global

Dr Badr Al Badr

Chief Executive Officer, SHARACO

Nicolas Mayer

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

Paul Diab

Vice President-Operations, Golden Tulip MENA

Gordon Drake

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

Mark Martinovic

Chief Executive Officer, Hotel Spec

Joe Sita

CEO, IFA Hotel Investments

Henning Fries

Managing Director – Hospitality, Al Habtoor Group

Pascal Gauvin

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

Yousuf Lootah

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

Selim El Zein

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

Norman Forsyth

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

HE Dr. Lahcen Haddad

Tourism Minister, Kingdom of Morocco

Alex Kyriakidis

President & Managing Director Middle East & Africa, Marriott International, Inc.

Kabir Mulchandani

Group CEO, SKAI Holdings

Mark Wynne-Smith

Global Chief Executive Officer – Hotels & Hospitality Group, JLL

Wolfgang M. Neumann

President & CEO, The Rezidor Hotel Group

Dr Salah Al-Bukayyet

Deputy Secretary General - Investments, Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities

Gabriel Von Bonsdorff

Senior Manager – Hospitality & Leisure, Aldar Properties P.

Simon Coombs

President & CEO, Shaza Hotels

Paul Lonergan

Vice President Asset Management Hotels, Jumeirah Group

Mary Gostelow

, Gostelow Report

Christopher Lund

Senior Consultant, Hotels, MENA Region, Colliers International

Alexandre Sogno

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

Amir Lababedi

Associate Director, HVS Dubai

Christopher R.J. Knable

Chief Operating Officer, Katara Hospitality

Christopher Flinos

Managing Director, CH Stirling

Fergal Harris

Head of Commercial Real Estate, MENA, Standard Chartered

Costas Verginis

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

Andrew Sangster

Editorial Director, Hotel Analyst

Kevin Underwood

Global Leader of Leisure and Culture, AECOM

Gerald Lawless

President and Group Chief Executive Officer, Jumeirah Group

Hala Matar Choufany

Regional Managing Director, HVS Dubai

Khalid Anib

Managing Director - Hotels Division, Al Hokair Group

Simon Hage

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

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.