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Day 2 - Wednesday 6th May 2015

8:00 - 9:00



8:30 - 10:00

Invitation-only Investor Briefing hosted by JLL

9:00 - 10:00


Join us for round table ‘brainstorming sessions’ with your fellow attendees. These sessions allow you to meet and share ideas ahead of the start of conference sessions. A great ice-breaker and an excellent way to gain industry knowledge. Network, demonstrate your expertise to potential partners and gain insight from industry leaders in an intimate setting. Each table will be hosted by an industry expert. During the session you will move tables twice to discuss industry issues from the following round tables:

Table 1: Is There Quantifiable Power in Social Media?

Should investors and developers take social media into account at any point of the decision making process? What should they be paying attention to and how can they utilize and react to the information it provides?

  • Chris Gregory Display Sales Manager - Middle East & Africa - Trip Advisor
  • Nicolas Mayer Partner & Industry Leader - Lodging & Tourism Clients Group - PwC
Table 2: OTAs vs Brand Power and Customer Loyalty

Where do OTAs add value and how can they work together with operators? Is it a case of if you can’t beat them, join them? How does the playing field continue to evolve?

Table 3: Rules and regulations governing the Saudi hotel & MICE markets – what are the latest developments’
  • Eng. Tariq Al Essa Executive Director - Saudi Exhibition and Convention Bureau
  • Abdullah Al Jehani Special Advisor to the President - Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities
  • Saad A Al-Qahtani Accommodation Sector Manager - Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities
  • Jerad Bachar Executive Director – Tourism and Leisure - Bahrain Economic Development Board

Table 4: Looking at Hotels as a Part of Key Transport Hubs

As the city gets more and more dense how can you grow? What are the key factors to getting a hotel at a transport hub right from an operational and design perspective. Bringing it all together from an architect’s, urban planning and hotelier’s perspectives.

  • Darroch Crawford Managing Director - Premier Inn Hotels International
  • Simon Hasdell Vice President , Asset Management - Hospitality - IFA Hotel Investments
  • Eric Perino Director, Business Development, Real Estate - Dubai World Central
Table 5: Maximizing ROI in F&B

Where are the ‘hotelier blind spots’ when it comes to F&B? How can you rejuvenate your F&B services to drive an increase in RevPAR? What innovations are the big brands introducing and how are they measuring success?

  • Duncan Fraser-Smith Managing Director - The Cutting Edge Agency , CEO, Global Hospitality Limited
  • Damien Rizzi Asset Manager (MENA Region) - Colliers International
Table 6: Forging Strategic Partnerships

In an increasingly competitive market place where the internet is often the most powerful route to market how can strategic partnerships add value, enhance consumer experience and give a real competitive and commercial edge to performance?

Table 7: Future Proofing Your Business. Tourism Development in the Middle east, scenarios and wildcards 2030
Future scenarios help us understand the threats and opportunities GCC destinations will face in the next five to ten years. 
  • Graciëlla Karijomedjo Project Coordinator and Researcher - European Tourism Futures Institute
  • Dr Jeroen Oskam Director of the Research Centre - Visiting Professor at EADA Barcelona & co-editor of the Journal of Tourism Futures - Hotelschool The Hague
Table 8: Asset Management in MENA looking at implementing effective asset management in the MENA region
  • René Beil Managing Director - Beaufort Global Partners LLC
  • Harry Johnson Chief Officer Asset Management - OMRAN
  • Fredrik Jonsson Head of Asset Management- Hospitality - Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD)
  • Nigel Teasdale Senior Asset Manager - Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC)

10:00 - 10:30



10:30 - 10:45


Followed by a conversation with Robert Swade, Chief Development Officer, Jumeirah Group on this year’s AHIC theme, Developing Hotels for Tomorrow’s Traveller.

  • Robert Swade Group Chief Development Officer - Jumeirah Group

10:45 - 11:30

Tracking the Future: 20 Trends to 2020 to Shape and Shift the World

11:30 - 11:50

Hard Talk with Arne Sorenson

President and Chief Executive Officer of Marriott International

  • Christoph Härle Chief Executive Officer EMEA, Hotels & Hospitality Group - JLL
  • Arne M. Sorenson President and Chief Executive Officer - Marriott International, Inc.

11:50 - 12:30

Industry Outlook

Forecast for Middle East for the next 12 months – what do we have to look forward to?
  • Filippo Sona Director | Head of Hotels  (MENA Region) - Colliers International
DEVELOPMENT UPDATE: On the progress of the Middle East’s hotel pipeline and tourism infrastructure projects.

12:30 - 13:15

Regional Leaders’ Panel

what are their plans for growth and development? How do they see the region developing and supporting the predicted inflow of inbound visitors? What is their take on the future of operators and how do they see them adding value to their business in the age of OTAs?

The Owners, The Operators and the Owner Operators

Moderated By

  • Alison Grinnell Director – Hospitality and Leisure, Assurance Services Lead - PwC


13:15 - 13:30


In conversation with:

13:30 - 14:30


Networking Lunch

14:30 - 17:40


14:30 - 15:10

Session A: Joharah 1

Getting Under the Skin of Refurbishments and Conversions

Assessing the feasibility around renovation and when it should be done, how it should be phased, how do you manage the situation? Looking at where to put your money to get the most for your dollar.  Where can you tweak to keep things fresh? Minimum spend for maximum result.

  • Sebaa Orabi Head of Discipline - Interior Design - SSH Design

In Conversation With:

15:20 - 16:00

Session B: Joharah 1

Behind the Scenes of Development Teams

What is the internal decision making process an operator goes through to gain approval to put a flag on a property? How is each project evaluated and how do they decide a brand is a fit? What are key points they look for in a potential partner? What are the ‘hot buttons’ which would cause them to walk away?

Moderated by


  • Taras Ettl Vice President Development - Middle East & Africa - InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 
  • Ramzy Fenianos Development Director - EMEA - Starwood Hotels & Resorts
  • Carlos Khneisser Vice President of Development - Middle East - Hilton Worldwide
  • Panos Loupasis Senior Development Director – Middle East & Africa - Wyndham Hotel Group Middle East
  • David Vely Senior Vice President Development Middle East, Africa & India - Premier Inn International

16:10 - 16:50

Session C: Joharah 2

Getting the Right Operator for the Right Price

Pushing the boundaries and getting creative on management agreements to create more favourable T&Cs and performance tests for owners.  What are some of the innovative deals being done?

  • Scott Antel Hospitality and Leisure Partner - Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP

In conversation with

17:00 - 17:40

Session D: Johara 1

Understanding Hotels that Embrace the Halal Lifestyle and Why it Makes Sense for Investors

Beyond religious tourism what and where is the demand for such hotels? Why is this segment becoming increasingly attractive to investors and financiers? Who is the customer, what do they want?

In conversation with

14:30 - 16:40


Short Informative Presentations on Key Industry Issues: 

Hosted by: 
  • Saahil Lalit Associate Manager Hotels, MENA Region - Colliers International

14:30 - 14:45

Session A: Joharah 2

Asia as a Feeder Market for Inbound Tourism

What role do travellers from Asia play in changing the local development landscape? Are they choosing to travel to the Middle East, and how can you appeal to them? How attractive are they for the bottom line as a target market? How is the profile of the Asian traveller evolving?

  • Clarence Tan Senior Vice President, Development, Asia, Middle East & Africa - IHG

14:45 - 15:00

Game Changers

A look at some of the global game changing innovations which have been successfully implemented in the GCC. What can you learn?

  • Catalin Cighi Managing Partner - Cain Hospitality Innovation (CHI)

15:00 - 15:20

Engineering Brand Value

15:20 - 15:40

What You Need to Know about Iran

What are the opportunities in the hospitality sector and how can they be navigated?

15:40 - 16:00

How to Reach Today’s Traveller

Understanding the world in which today’s consumers are basing their purchase decisions. What Hoteliers are in some cases doing and in other cases need to consider when faced with the highly connected, multi-screen researching and socially active guest.

16:00 - 16:20

Understanding Health and Wellness

What is wellness, is it just the new spa? And, does it make money?

16:20 - 16:40

Session A: Joharah 2

Regeneration and Re-Positioning in Egypt

What are the market fundamentals in the perspective of developers and the local market?

  • Filippo Sona Director | Head of Hotels  (MENA Region) - Colliers International

17:00 - 17:40

Session B: Joharah 2

The Great Debate

The emerging tourist destinations in the Gulf will be more than a match for existing tourist hubs in the Indian Ocean and SE Asia.

Moderated by



  • Hiran Cooray CEO - Jetwing Hotels Ltd
  • Prab Thakral Group CEO - Boutique Group of Companies (Subsidiaries of Thakral Land Ltd. (Thailand))

14:30 - 17:40


Hosted by

Intimate 25 minute interactive sessions which invite questions and discussion from the audience.

14:30 - 15:00

Session A: Murjan

Short-Term Rental and Serviced Apartment Trends and Innovations

With the growth in short term rental and an increasing pipeline of serviced apartment accommodation options available, how is the MENA region fairing and what impact (if any) will this have on the hotel sector. Who is the Millennial traveller? What is the outlook for the future? What are the legal implications? A conversation with leaders from innovative companies in the short term rental and serviced apartments sectors.

In conversation with

15:00 - 15:30

M&A in the GCC

Recent transactions, challenges and opportunities for investors.

Meeting the appetite of current owners vs market expectations. What’s the right yield, what can be learnt from recent transactions and what opportunities for investors looking to get into the market.

  • Chiheb Ben-Mahmoud Executive Vice President- Head of Hotels & Hospitality, Middle East & Africa - JLL

In conversation with

15:30 - 16:00

Investor Update – Developing Lifestyle Products Catering to the Next Gen Traveller

Lifestyle products are all the buzz, what are the key differentiating features for investors to consider? Why should they look at this segment? What is the ‘Next Gen’ traveller? Who is leading the race at the moment in capturing this market? Which brands are positioned well for the long term?  In 10 years’ time how will they position the three and four stars and lifestyle products of the now?

In conversation with

  • Robert Swade Group Chief Development Officer - Jumeirah Group
  • John T.A Vanderslice Global Head, Luxury & Lifestyle Brands - Hilton Worldwide
  • Elie Younes Executive Vice President & Chief Development Office - The Rezidor Hotel Group

16:00 - 16:30

Keeping Up Brand Standards in an Asset-Light, Social Media-Heavy World

why it is in the collective interest of owner and brand and how it can be achieved. Looking at the knock on impact of customer experience reviewed through social media and resulting hotel performance.  How can these challenges be tackled?

Moderated By


  • Viviane Khoury Regional Sales & Marketing Director - Golden Tulip MENA
  • Nicolas Mayer Partner & Industry Leader - Lodging & Tourism Clients Group - PwC
  • Stephen Tate Chairman - Cristal International Standards

16:40 - 17:20

Session B: Murjan: WORKSHOP

Building Mid-Market and Budget Hotels

Given high land costs how you build efficiently so you can make the numbers stack up? Looking at ‘Design and Build’ as an option.
  • Mark Shea Head of Hospitality for the Middle East - Faithful+Gould

In conversation with

  • Sultan Al Otaibi Head of Real Estate development - Dur Hospitality
  • Rawaf Bourisli Director of Development, Action Hotels & General Manager, Board Member, Action Real Estate Company (kscc) -
  • Paul Diab Vice President-Operations - Golden Tulip MENA
  • Russel Sharpe Chief Operating Officer - Citymax Hotels - Landmark Group
  • Hubert Viriot CIO – IFA Hotels & Resorts & - CEO – Yotel Ltd, UK

18:30 - 20:30



Emaar will host the final AHIC Networking Reception of AHIC 2015 at Downtown Dubai’s must-visit lifestyle destination Zeta. The newly expanded Asian Fusion Restaurant and Lounge offers guests unrivalled views of the The Dubai Fountain and Burj Khalifa.