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2014 Speakers

Ashley Scott

Principal, EMEA Leader for Leisure + Culture, AECOM

Fergal Harris

Head of Commercial Real Estate, MENA, Standard Chartered

David Thomson

Chief Operating Officer, JA Resorts and Hotels

Elie Younes

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

Bob Puccini

Chief Executive Officer, Bob Puccini Group

Martin Ostermann

Director of Development, Melia Hotels

Adel Jemah

Vice President, Hill International Inc.

Muhammad Al-Amir

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

Abraham Muthogo-Kamau

Head of Credit, Tourism Finance Corporation

Wolfgang M. Neumann

President & CEO, The Rezidor Hotel Group

Henning Fries

Managing Director – Hospitality, Al Habtoor Group

Frits van Paasschen

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

Yousuf Lootah

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

Christopher Flinos

Managing Director, CH Stirling

Sumair Tariq

Managing Director, R Hotels

Costas Verginis

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

Andrew Briganti

Analyst, Meed Insight

Michael Glennie

President & Chief Operating Officer, FRHI Hotels & Resorts

Ziad El Chaar

Managing Director, DAMAC Holding Co. LLC

Simon Coombs

President & CEO, Shaza Hotels

Andrew Sangster

Editorial Director, Hotel Analyst

Alain Debare

Chief Executive Officer, Action Hotels Co.

Khatija Haque

Head of MENA Research, Emirates NBD

Joe Sita

CEO, IFA Hotel Investments

Rutger Smits

CEO, Al Rayyan Tourism Investment Company

Greg Perry

Asset Manager, IFA Hotel Investments

Khalid Anib

Managing Director - Hotels Division, Al Hokair Group

Amro Attia Gomaa

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

Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan

Immediate Past President, Maldives

Anil Bhardwaj

Director, A.A. Al Moosa Enterprises

Kevin Underwood

Global Leader of Leisure and Culture, AECOM

Ahmed Ramdan

Founder and Group CEO, Roya International

Bernhard Bohnenberger

President, Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas

Jean-Jacques Dessors

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

HE Helal Almarri

Director General, DTCM

Bani Haddad

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

Fahd Al-Rasheed

Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, King Abdullah Economic City

Kabir Mulchandani

Group CEO, SKAI Holdings

Hala Matar Choufany

Regional Managing Director, HVS Dubai

Saahil Lalit

Associate Manager Hotels, MENA Region, Colliers International

Catalin Cighi

Managing Partner, Cain Hospitality Innovation (CHI)

Paul Macpherson

President & Managing Director, Whitbread Hotels & Restaurants International

René Beil

Managing Director, Beaufort Global Partners LLC

Elizabeth Winkle

Managing Director, STR Global

Susan Harmsworth

Chief Executive Officer, ESPA

HE Dr. Lahcen Haddad

Tourism Minister, Kingdom of Morocco

Gabriel Von Bonsdorff

Senior Manager – Hospitality & Leisure, Aldar Properties P.

Animesh Pandey

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

Christopher R.J. Knable

Chief Operating Officer, Katara Hospitality

Amr Abdel Ghaffar

Regional Director - Middle East, UNWTO

Alexandre Sogno

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

Anita Mendiratta

Founder & Managing Director, CACHET Consulting

HH Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Al Maktoum

Executive Chairman, SHUAA Capital and the Chairman of Dubai International Holding Company

Andrew Clough

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

Samih Sawiris

Chairman, Orascom Development Holding AG

Christoph Härle

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

Alex Kyriakidis

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

Dr Badr Al Badr

Chief Executive Officer, SHARACO

Abdellah Essonni

CEO, ABJAR Hotels International LLC

Amir Lababedi

Associate Director, HVS Dubai

James Innes

Partner, Chrystal Capital Partners LLP

Paul Lonergan

Vice President Asset Management Hotels, Jumeirah Group

Dr Martin Berlin

PwC Partner , PricewaterhouseCoopers

Nicolas Mayer

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

Tim Kiltscher

Executive Director Asset Management, Seven Tides

Ben Martin

Principal, Head of Economics, AECOM

Jim Palmer

Funding Advisor, IFA Hotel Investments

Dr Salah Al-Bukayyet

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

Edmund O’Sullivan

Chairman, MEED

Russel Sharpe

Chief Operating Officer, Citymax Hotels - Landmark Group

Sven Doliwa

VP Sales & Development, WorldHotels

Christopher Lund

Senior Consultant, Hotels, MENA Region, Colliers International

Nenad Pacek

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

Neil George

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

Filippo Sona

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

Lo’ai  Bataineh

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

Khalaf Al Habtoor

Chairman, Al Habtoor Group

H.E. Issa bin Mohammed Al Mohannadi

Chairman, Qatar Tourism Authority

Mark Wynne-Smith

Global Chief Executive Officer – Hotels & Hospitality Group, JLL

Mary Gostelow

, Gostelow Report

Chiheb Ben-Mahmoud

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

Norman Forsyth

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

Peter Greenberg

Travel Editor, CBS News

Rui M. Barros

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

Paul Griffiths

Chief Executive Officer, Dubai Airports

Oliver Ebner

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

Aqeel Raees

Chief Executive Officer & Director, Gulf Hotels Group

Hubert Viriot

Chief Investment Officer , IFA Hotels & Resorts

Rami Moukarzel

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

HRH Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz

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

Olivier Granet

Director of Development Middle East, ACCOR

Vernon Page

Chief Executive Officer , Hotel Partners Africa

Mark Martinovic

Chief Executive Officer, Hotel Spec

Tom Hasker

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

Kees Hartzuiker

CEO, Roya International

Mohamed Najia

Secretary General, Kuwait Hotel Owners Association

Samer Abu Ayash

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

Nick van Marken

Global Head – Hospitality, Deloitte LLP

Carlos Khneisser

Vice President Development - Middle East, Hilton Worldwide

Barry Curtis

Vice President - Global Strategic Accounts Buildings Business, Schneider Electric

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.