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2014 Speakers

Gordon Drake

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

Andrew Sangster

Editorial Director, Hotel Analyst

Mark Martinovic

Chief Executive Officer, Hotel Spec

Amro Attia Gomaa

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

Kees Hartzuiker

CEO, Roya International

Gabriel Von Bonsdorff

Senior Manager – Hospitality & Leisure, Aldar Properties P.

Saahil Lalit

Associate Manager Hotels, MENA Region, Colliers International

Adel Jemah

Vice President, Hill International Inc.

Vernon Page

Chief Executive Officer , Hotel Partners Africa

Christopher Lund

Senior Consultant, Hotels, MENA Region, Colliers International

Christoph Härle

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

Alexandre Sogno

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

Elie Younes

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

Dr Martin Berlin

PwC Partner , PricewaterhouseCoopers

Henning Fries

Managing Director – Hospitality, Al Habtoor Group

Joe Sita

CEO, IFA Hotel Investments

David Thomson

Chief Operating Officer, JA Resorts and Hotels

Nicolas Mayer

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

James Innes

Partner, Chrystal Capital Partners LLP

Gerald Lawless

President and Group Chief Executive Officer, Jumeirah Group

Hala Matar Choufany

Regional Managing Director, HVS Dubai

Khatija Haque

Head of MENA Research, Emirates NBD

Bob Puccini

Chief Executive Officer, Bob Puccini Group

Edmund O’Sullivan

Chairman, MEED

Simon Hage

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

Andrew Clough

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

Sameer Kazi

Head of Corporate Real Estate Investments, Sedco Holdings

Gordon Campbell Gray

Chairman, Campbell Gray Hotels

Tom Hasker

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

HRH Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz

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

Andrew Briganti

Analyst, Meed Insight

Piers Brown

CEO, Boutique Hotel Media

Amr Abdel Ghaffar

Regional Director - Middle East, UNWTO

Geoffrey Lipman

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

Alex Kyriakidis

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

Barry Curtis

Vice President - Global Strategic Accounts Buildings Business, Schneider Electric

Christopher Flinos

Managing Director, CH Stirling

Anita Mendiratta

Founder & Managing Director, CACHET Consulting

Paul Diab

Vice President-Operations, Golden Tulip MENA

Ben Martin

Principal, Head of Economics, AECOM

Susan Harmsworth

Chief Executive Officer, ESPA

Taras Ettl

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

Margreet Papamichael

Director, AECOM Economics

Gert F. Kopera

Senior Vice President RnB, Jumeirah Group

Nick van Marken

Global Head – Hospitality, Deloitte LLP

Khalaf Al Habtoor

Chairman, Al Habtoor Group

Fahd Al-Rasheed

Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, King Abdullah Economic City

Selim El Zein

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

René Beil

Managing Director, Beaufort Global Partners LLC

Ron Hilvert

Founder and Managing Director, The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management

Costas Verginis

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

Khalid Anib

Managing Director - Hotels Division, Al Hokair Group

Rutger Smits

CEO, Al Rayyan Tourism Investment Company

Abraham Kamau

Head of Credit, Tourism Finance Corporation

Lo’ai  Bataineh

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

Khaldoun Rashid Tabari

Vice Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Drake & Scull

HE Helal Almarri

Director General, DTCM

Simon Coombs

President & CEO, Shaza Hotels

Dr Salah Al-Bukayyet

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

Abdellah Essonni

CEO, ABJAR Hotels International LLC

Amine Moukarzel

President, Golden Tulip Hotels, Suites & Resorts MENA

Pascal Gauvin

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

Nenad Pacek

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

Jonathan Worsley

Chairman, Bench Events, Board Director, STR Global

Ziad El Chaar

Managing Director, DAMAC Holding Co. LLC

Peter Greenberg

Travel Editor, CBS News

Bani Haddad

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

Kabir Mulchandani

Group CEO, SKAI Holdings

Christopher R.J. Knable

Chief Operating Officer, Katara Hospitality

Nicholas Clayton

Chief Executive Officer, Group Operations, Jumeirah Group

Alain Debare

Chief Executive Officer, Action Hotels Co.

Animesh Pandey

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

Ashley Scott

Principal, EMEA Leader for Leisure + Culture, AECOM

Wolfgang M. Neumann

President & CEO, The Rezidor Hotel Group

Paul Lonergan

Vice President Asset Management Hotels, Jumeirah Group

Jim Palmer

Funding Advisor, IFA Hotel Investments

Paul Macpherson

President & Managing Director, Whitbread Hotels & Restaurants International

Dr Badr Al Badr

Chief Executive Officer, SHARACO

Samer Abu Ayash

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

Peter Head

Executive Chairman, The Ecological Sequestration Trust

Ahmed Ramdan

Founder and Group CEO, Roya International

Neil George

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

Amir Lababedi

Associate Director, HVS Dubai

Bernard Forster

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

Michael Glennie

President & Chief Operating Officer, FRHI Hotels & Resorts

Norman Forsyth

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

Rami Moukarzel

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

Rui Barros

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

Samih Sawiris

Chairman, Orascom Development Holding AG

Abdulla Bin Sulayem

Chief Executive Officer, Seven Tides & Asteco

Russel Sharpe

Chief Operating Officer, Citymax Hotels - Landmark Group

Elizabeth Winkle

Managing Director, STR Global

Catalin Cighi

Managing Partner, Cain Hospitality Innovation (CHI)

Tariq Hameed

Managing Director, Capitas Group International Limited

Chiheb Ben-Mahmoud

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

Trevor Ward

Managing Director, W Hospitality Group

Mohamed Najia

Secretary General, Kuwait Hotel Owners Association

Carlos Khneisser

Vice President Development - Middle East, Hilton Worldwide

Aqeel Raees

Chief Executive Officer & Director, Gulf Hotels Group

Tim Kiltscher

Executive Director Asset Management, Seven Tides

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.