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2015 Speakers

Mustafa Al Hashimi

Chief Executive Officer, wasl Hospitality

Edmund O’Sullivan

Chairman, MEED

Simon Coombs

President & CEO, Shaza Hotels

Damian K. ten Bohmer

Director Commercial - Middle East & Africa, IHG

Helen Hangari

Senior Legal Consultant, DLA Piper

Markus Keller

Deputy Senior Vice President Global Sales and Distribution, ACCOR

Philippe Zuber

Chief Operating Officer, Emaar Hospitality Group

David Vely

Senior Vice President Development Middle East, Africa & India, Premier Inn International

Ramine Behnam

Associate Hotels & Hospitality Group, JLL

Christoph Härle

Chief Executive Officer EMEA, Hotels & Hospitality Group, JLL

Rafi-uddin Shikoh

Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director, DinarStandard

Henning Fries

Managing Director – Hospitality, Al Habtoor Group

Amine Moukarzel

President, Louvre Hotels & Golden Tulip in the MENA Region

Suma Venkatesh

Senior Vice President- Real Estate & Development, Taj Group (Indian Hotels Company Ltd)

Kees Hartzuiker

CEO, Roya International

Kristina Fischer

Associate Vice President – Business Development and Legal Services , Centara Hotels & Resorts

Rutger Smits

CEO, Al Rayyan Tourism Investment Company

Rawaf Bourisli

Director of Development, Action Hotels & General Manager, Board Member, Action Real Estate Company (kscc)

Gabriel Von Bonsdorff

Senior Manager – Hospitality & Leisure, Aldar Properties P.

Jerad Bachar

Managing Director - Consultancy, Nasaafir Solutions

Alison Grinnell

Director – Hospitality and Leisure, Assurance Services Lead, PwC

Gerald Lawless

President and Group Chief Executive Officer, Jumeirah Group

Jonathan Worsley

Chairman, Bench Events, Board Director, STR Global

John T.A Vanderslice

Global Head, Luxury & Lifestyle Brands, Hilton Worldwide

Imad Barrakad

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Moroccan Agency for Tourism Development (SMIT)

Susan Harmsworth MBE

Chairman, ESPA International

Daniel Silke

Director, Political Futures Consultancy

Ali Borhani

Founder CWO, Incubeemea

Farida Al Raisi

Director of Human Resources , Shangri-la Hotel and Traders Hotel Qaryat Al Beri

Mark Shea

Head of Hospitality for the Middle East, Faithful+Gould

Maria Zarraluqui

Global Development Managing Director, Melia Hotels International

Catalin Cighi

Managing Partner, Cain Hospitality Innovation (CHI)

Hala Matar Choufany

Managing Partner, HVS Dubai

Jawad Khan

Head of Debt & Capital Advisory Service (MENA region), PwC

Denis Sorin

President of Hotel Operations, Dur Hospitality

Daniel Ruff

President and Managing Director (EMEAI), Wyndham Hotel Group

Saad A Al-Qahtani

Accommodation Sector Manager, Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities

Khatija Haque

Head of MENA Research, Emirates NBD

Munir Ahmed

Director Hospitality, Naseel Holding

Paul Diab

Vice President-Operations, Golden Tulip MENA

Piers Brown

CEO, International Hospitality Media

Michael Glennie

President & Chief Operating Officer, FRHI Hotels & Resorts

Dr Jeroen Oskam

Director of the Research Centre - Visiting Professor at EADA Barcelona & co-editor of the Journal of Tourism Futures, Hotelschool The Hague

Taras Ettl

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

Mark Wynne-Smith

Global Chief Executive Officer – Hotels & Hospitality Group, JLL

Gaurav Sinha

Founder & CEO, Insignia Worldwide

Shaun Hinds

Managing Director – EMEA and APAC , BridgeStreet Global Hospitality

Elizabeth Winkle

Managing Director, STR Global

Ramzy Fenianos

Development Director - EMEA, Starwood Hotels & Resorts

Chiheb Ben-Mahmoud

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

Moses Solemon

Chairman and CEO, Canada Business Holdings Inc.

David Thomson

Chief Operating Officer, JA Resorts and Hotels

Simon Allison

Chairman, HOFTEL

Andrew Sangster

Editorial Director, Hotel Analyst Group of Titles

Stephen Tate

Chairman, Cristal International Standards

Simon Enders

Project Director, Faithful+Gould

Taleeb Noormohamed

Vice President Global Partnerships,

Simon Barlow

Chief Executive Officer – Hotels Business Unit, Majid Al Futtaim Properties

Arne M. Sorenson

President and Chief Executive Officer, Marriott International, Inc.

James Marsh

Vice President of Capital Projects, Jumeirah Group

Sebaa Orabi

Head of Discipline - Interior Design, SSH Design

Scott Antel

Partner, Berwin Leighton Paisner Abu Dhabi/Dubai

Assem Kaissi

Chief Operating Officer, Alesayi Group

Abdulla Ziyath

Managing Director, Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC)

Satyan Joshi

Senior Industry Manager , Google

Anil Bhardwaj

Director, A.A. AlMoosa Enterprises

His Excellency Hesham Abdulla Al Qassim

Chief Executive Officer, wasl Asset Management Group

Ahmed Ramdan

Founder and Group CEO, Roya International

Rudi Jagersbacher

President, Middle East and Africa, Hilton Worldwide

Hiran Cooray

CEO, Jetwing Hotels Ltd

Clarence Tan

Senior Vice President, Development, Asia, Middle East & Africa, IHG

Oliver Ebner

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

Christopher R.J. Knable

Chief Operating Officer, Katara Hospitality

Robert Swade

Group Chief Development Officer, Jumeirah Group

Neil George

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

Abdullah Al Jehani

Special Advisor to the President, Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities

Darroch Crawford

Managing Director, Premier Inn Hotels International

Alain Debare

Chief Executive Officer, Action Hotels

Chris Gregory

Display Sales Manager - Middle East & Africa, Trip Advisor

Nicolas Mayer

Partner & Industry Leader - Lodging & Tourism Clients Group, PwC

Hubert Viriot

CIO – IFA Hotels & Resorts &, CEO – Yotel Ltd, UK

Gordon Drake

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

Elie Younes

Executive Vice President & Chief Development Office, The Rezidor Hotel Group

Ivanka Trump

Executive Vice President of Development & Acquisitions, The Trump Organization

Jean-Jacques Dessors

Chief Executive Officer Mediterranean, Middle-East and Africa (MMEA), ACCOR

Filippo Sona

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

Nick Skea-Strachan

Partner, Berwin Leighton Paisner

Dr Badr Al Badr

Chief Executive Officer, Dur Hospitality

Philip Shepherd

Partner, PwC

Ben Martin

Principal, Head of Economics, AECOM

Alex Kyriakidis

President & Managing Director - MEA, Marriott International

Duncan Fraser-Smith

Managing Director, The Cutting Edge Agency , CEO, Global Hospitality Limited

Panos Loupasis

Senior Development Director – Middle East & Africa, Wyndham Hotel Group Middle East

Carlos Khneisser

Vice President of Development - Middle East, Hilton Worldwide

Abdellah Essonni

CEO, ABJAR Hotels International LLC

Olivier Granet

Senior Vice President of Development Middle East, ACCOR

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.