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2014 Speakers

Hubert Viriot

Chief Investment Officer , IFA Hotels & Resorts

Anil Bhardwaj

Director, A.A. Al Moosa Enterprises

Khaldoun Rashid Tabari

Vice Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Drake & Scull

Amro Attia Gomaa

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

Dr Badr Al Badr

Chief Executive Officer, SHARACO

Olivier Granet

Director of Development Middle East, ACCOR

Abdulla Bin Sulayem

Chief Executive Officer, Seven Tides & Asteco

Christoph Härle

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

Mark Wynne-Smith

Global Chief Executive Officer – Hotels & Hospitality Group, JLL

Fahd Al-Rasheed

Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, King Abdullah Economic City

Taras Ettl

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

Khatija Haque

Head of MENA Research, Emirates NBD

Kevin Underwood

Global Leader of Leisure and Culture, AECOM

Samih Sawiris

Chairman, Orascom Development Holding AG

Christopher Flinos

Managing Director, CH Stirling

Gert F. Kopera

Senior Vice President RnB, Jumeirah Group

Paul Diab

Vice President-Operations, Golden Tulip MENA

Gabriel Von Bonsdorff

Senior Manager – Hospitality & Leisure, Aldar Properties P.

Ziad El Chaar

Managing Director, DAMAC Holding Co. LLC

Mary Gostelow

, Gostelow Report

Adel Jemah

Vice President, Hill International Inc.

Henning Fries

Managing Director – Hospitality, Al Habtoor Group

Gerald Lawless

President and Group Chief Executive Officer, Jumeirah Group

Trevor Ward

Managing Director, W Hospitality Group

Greg Perry

Asset Manager, IFA Hotel Investments

Christopher Lund

Senior Consultant, Hotels, MENA Region, Colliers International

David Thomson

Chief Operating Officer, JA Resorts and Hotels

Nicholas Clayton

Chief Executive Officer, Group Operations, Jumeirah Group

Edmund O’Sullivan

Chairman, MEED

Adrian Jossa

Co-Founder & Owner, Muse Hotels de Luxe

Susan Harmsworth

Chief Executive Officer, ESPA

Bani Haddad

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

Vernon Page

Chief Executive Officer , Hotel Partners Africa

Peter Head

Executive Chairman, The Ecological Sequestration Trust

Pascal Gauvin

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

Oliver Ebner

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

Gordon Drake

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

Gordon Campbell Gray

Chairman, Campbell Gray Hotels

Chiheb Ben-Mahmoud

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

Dr Martin Berlin

PwC Partner , PricewaterhouseCoopers

Russel Sharpe

Chief Operating Officer, Citymax Hotels - Landmark Group

Frits van Paasschen

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

Abraham Kamau

Head of Credit, Tourism Finance Corporation

Costas Verginis

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

Alexandre Sogno

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

Elizabeth Winkle

Managing Director, STR Global

Andrew Clough

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

Rutger Smits

CEO, Al Rayyan Tourism Investment Company

Mohamed Najia

Secretary General, Kuwait Hotel Owners Association

James Innes

Partner, Chrystal Capital Partners LLP

Mark Martinovic

Chief Executive Officer, Hotel Spec

Ashley Scott

Principal, EMEA Leader for Leisure + Culture, AECOM

Andrew Briganti

Analyst, Meed Insight

Barry Curtis

Vice President - Global Strategic Accounts Buildings Business, Schneider Electric

René Beil

Managing Director, Beaufort Global Partners LLC

Simon Hage

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

HE Helal Almarri

Director General, DTCM

Elie Younes

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

Bernard Forster

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

Catalin Cighi

Managing Partner, Cain Hospitality Innovation (CHI)

Nicolas Mayer

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

Tom Hasker

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

Rui Barros

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

Amr Abdel Ghaffar

Regional Director - Middle East, UNWTO

Amine Moukarzel

President, Golden Tulip Hotels, Suites & Resorts MENA

Khalid Anib

Managing Director - Hotels Division, Al Hokair Group

Lo’ai  Bataineh

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

Peter Greenberg

Travel Editor, CBS News

HRH Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz

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

H.E. Issa bin Mohammed Al Mohannadi

Chairman, Qatar Tourism Authority

Alex Kyriakidis

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

Christopher R.J. Knable

Chief Operating Officer, Katara Hospitality

Rami Moukarzel

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

Simon Coombs

President & CEO, Shaza Hotels

Sameer Kazi

Head of Corporate Real Estate Investments, Sedco Holdings

Bernhard Bohnenberger

President, Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas

Andrew Sangster

Editorial Director, Hotel Analyst

Khalaf Al Habtoor

Chairman, Al Habtoor Group

Joe Sita

CEO, IFA Hotel Investments

Paul Macpherson

President & Managing Director, Whitbread Hotels & Restaurants International

Piers Brown

CEO, Boutique Hotel Media

Carlos Khneisser

Vice President Development - Middle East, Hilton Worldwide

Nenad Pacek

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

Ben Martin

Principal, Head of Economics, AECOM

Muhammad Al-Amir

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

Jonathan Worsley

Chairman, Bench Events, Board Director, STR Global

Hala Matar Choufany

Regional Managing Director, HVS Dubai

Yousuf Lootah

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

Martin Ostermann

Director of Development, Melia Hotels

Samer Abu Ayash

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

Michael Glennie

President & Chief Operating Officer, FRHI Hotels & Resorts

Alain Debare

Chief Executive Officer, Action Hotels Co.

Paul Lonergan

Vice President Asset Management Hotels, Jumeirah Group

Filippo Sona

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

Nick van Marken

Global Head – Hospitality, Deloitte LLP

Geoffrey Lipman

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

Dr Salah Al-Bukayyet

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

Animesh Pandey

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

Ahmed Ramdan

Founder and Group CEO, Roya International

Bob Puccini

Chief Executive Officer, Bob Puccini Group

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.