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2015 Speakers

Stephen Tate

Chairman, Cristal International Standards

Satyan Joshi

Senior Industry Manager , Google UK Limited

Neil George

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

Dr Jeroen Oskam

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

Simon Enders

Project Director, Faithful+Gould

Elizabeth Winkle

Managing Director, STR Global

Arne M. Sorenson

President and Chief Executive Officer, Marriott International, Inc.

Christoph Härle

Chief Executive Officer, EMEA , JLL Hotels & Hospitality Group

Catalin Cighi

Managing Partner, Cain Hospitality Innovation (CHI)

Paul Diab

Vice President-Operations, Golden Tulip MENA

Darroch Crawford

Managing Director, Premier Inn Hotels International

Munir Ahmed

Director Hospitality, Naseel Holding

Clarence Tan

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

Abdulla Ziyath

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

Suparat Chirathivat

Vice President - Business Development, Centara Hotels & Resorts

Rutger Smits

CEO, Al Rayyan Tourism Investment Company

Robert Swade

Group Chief Development Officer, Jumeirah Group

Daniel Ruff

President and Managing Director (EMEAI), Wyndham Hotel Group

John T.A Vanderslice

Global Head, Luxury & Lifestyle Brands, Hilton Worldwide

Graciëlla Karijomedjo

Project Coordinator and Researcher, European Tourism Futures Institute

Roger Blackall

Executive Director – Real Estate Asset Management, Premier Group WLL

Anil Bhardwaj

Director, A.A. AlMoosa Enterprises

David Thomson

Chief Operating Officer, JA Resorts and Hotels

Chiheb Ben-Mahmoud

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

Simon Lazarus

Vice President of Food and Beverage, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Hilton Worldwide

Margreet Papamichael

Director, AECOM Economics

Edmund O’Sullivan

Chairman, MEED

Wolfgang M. Neumann

President & CEO, The Rezidor Hotel Group

Amine Moukarzel

President, Golden Tulip Hotels, Suites & Resorts MENA

Ignace Bauwens

CEO, Abu Dhabi National Hotels

Ivanka Trump

Executive Vice President of Development & Acquisitions, The Trump Organization

Mark Shea

Head of Hospitality for the Middle East, Faithful+Gould

Simon Barlow

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

Susan Harmsworth MBE

Chairman, ESPA International

Rafi-uddin Shikoh

Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director, DinarStandard

Gerald Lawless

President and Group Chief Executive Officer, Jumeirah Group

Tim Fox

Head of Research & Chief Economist, Emirates NBD

Denis Sorin

President of Hotel Operations, Dur Hospitality

Hala Matar Choufany

Managing Partner, HVS Dubai

Ahmed Ramdan

Founder and Group CEO, Roya International

Rawaf Bourisli

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

Mark Wynne-Smith

Global Chief Executive Officer – Hotels & Hospitality Group, JLL

Daniel Silke

Director, Political Futures Consultancy

Jonathan Worsley

Chairman, Bench Events, Board Director, STR Global

Abdellah Essonni

CEO, ABJAR Hotels International LLC

Simon Allison

Chairman, HOFTEL

Filippo Sona

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

Simon Coombs

President & CEO, Shaza Hotels

Bart Dohmen

Managing Director, BRC Imagination Arts, BV

Anita Mendiratta

Founder & Managing Director, CACHET Consulting

Maria Zarraluqui

Global Development Manager Director, Melia Hotels International

Dr Badr Al Badr

Chief Executive Officer, Dur Hospitality

Christopher R.J. Knable

Chief Operating Officer, Katara Hospitality

Moses Solemon

Chairman and CEO, Canada Business Holdings Inc.

Ali Borhani

Founder CWO, Incubeemea


Day 2 - Wednesday 6th May 2015

8:00 - 9:00



8:30 - 10:00

Invitation-only Investor Briefing hosted by JLL

9:00 - 10:30


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 the information it provides?

Table 2: What are the Drivers for Mall Development?
What are the drivers for retail mall development? What hotel capacity is being planned for the Mall of the World? Can you integrate facilities into a hotel that will also increase public use and revenue?

Table 3: Acquisitions – How do Strategies Differ From the US and UK?
How do acquisition strategies in the Middle East differ from other real estate markets globally? What is standard practice for buy-out clauses? Structured sales options.  Gap between buyer and sellers’ needs.

Table 4: Cost Control
With rates decreasing and costs increasing looking at ways to cut operating and financing costs.

Table 5: Educating the Investor – What is the New Normal?
With rates going down and costs increasing how are operators going to generate the same returns for investors which match their projections?  Is there an issue with rates in Dubai despite the high occupancy levels? Where does this leave the mid-market and economy offering given the new product slated to come into the market? How does this impact investor appetite for hotels?

Table 6: Growth Through Franchising
How do you effectively leverage the franchise model to achieve scale in a market? What are the keys to getting it right? As a franchisee how do you put in place the internal processes and structures to ensure a profitable operation?

10:30 - 11:00



11:00 - 11:15


11:15 - 11:45

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

11:45 - 12:05

Hard Talk with Arne Sorenson

President and Chief Executive Officer of Marriott International

12:05 - 12:30

Shape of the Industry – STR Global

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

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?

13:15 - 14:15


Networking Lunch

14:30 - 15:30


Session 1a

Getting Under the Skin of Refurbishments and Conversions

Why, When and How?

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.

Session 1b

Investor Update – Innovations in Lifestyle Products Catering to the Next Generation of 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?

Session 1c

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?

  • Simon Lazarus Vice President of Food and Beverage, Europe, Middle East and Africa - Hilton Worldwide

15:40 - 16:30


Session 2a

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?

Session 2b

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?

16:40 - 17:30


Session 3a

Outside the Obvious for Investors

Looking at opportunities with the GCC currently poised to offer investors more favorable returns in the future. Examining the current development plans and potential ROI for the hotel market in Bahrain, Oman and the up and coming emirates within the UAE.

Session 3b


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


  • David Thomson Chief Operating Officer - JA Resorts and Hotels
  • Abdulla Ziyath Managing Director - Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC)

14:30 - 16:30


14:30 - 15:00

Session 1: Owner's Intelligence Den

Asia as a Feeder Market for Inbound Tourism

What role do travelers 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 traveler evolving?

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

15:00 - 15:30

Session 2: Owner's Intelligence Den

Keeping Up Brand Standards in an Asset Light 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.

15:30 - 16:00

Session 3: Owner's Intelligence Den

Understanding Health and Wellness

Defining the segment, do you really know what product it is you want? Where is the potential in the region? How can you make the numbers stack up?

16:00 - 16:30

Session 4: Owner's Intelligence Den

Unveiling Iran

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

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.