Programme 2017

8:00 - 8:30

Networking

 
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Registration and Welcome Breakfast in the Sponsors Showcase

8:30 - 8:45  
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Welcome Remarks by

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Jonathan Worsley
Chairman & Founder, Bench Events - Board Director, STR

Jonathan Worsley

Chairman & Founder, Bench Events - Board Director, STR

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Jonathan Worsley, Chairman of Bench Events, is one of the founders and organisers of multiple leading international conferences for the hotel investment industry, including the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference in Dubai, now in its 13th year, The Summit in London, the Asia Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference and the Africa Hotel Investment Forum. 

More recently, Jonathan and his team have entered the Latin America market partnering with SAHIC in Cuba and Buenos Aires and the inaugural Iran Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference in 2017.

Bench Events has also branched out into the related fields of aviation and F&B, with the respective launches of AviaDev Africa, inaugurated in 2016, and The Global Restaurant Investment Forum now in its fourth year.

In 1997, Jonathan was one of the founding members of the annual International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF) in Berlin, a conference he subsequently organised for 19 years, which today attracts over 2,000 delegates. Earlier in his career, Jonathan worked for real estate consultants CBRE & Hotel Partners, hotel advisors PKF and hotel operator Forte & Holiday Inns.

Jonathan sits as a shareholder and board director of STR, a global benchmarking company with over 50,000 participating hotels following the merger of The Bench, STR and Deloitte’s Hotel Benchmark. He sits on the board of Hotel Swaps, which allows participating members to swap empty hotel rooms with other members around the globe and is an investor in TripTease, the tech start-up that enables hotels to increase direct sales and aims to defeat rate disparity.

Jonathan and his colleagues are actively involved raising money for the communities in which Bench Events works. They raised more than £200,000 for TUSK, Cancer Research and the Rwanda Cricket Stadium Foundation by participating in the Kili Madness challenge and breaking the World Record for the highest game of cricket ever played on top of Kilimanjaro. In 2016, Jonathan cycled from Amsterdam to Berlin with nine others for the opening of IHIF and raised funds for the Anne Frank Trust and Future Talent, a feat he will tackle again in 2017. 
Jonathan is a Trustee of Future Talent, a charity that provides financial support to gifted young musicians in need of financial assistance to pursue their dreams and talent.

Opening video by IWG (Insignia Worldwide Group)

8:45 - 9:15  
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Global CEO series - Catalysts of Change - Keynote

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Jonathan Worsley
Chairman & Founder, Bench Events - Board Director, STR

Jonathan Worsley

Chairman & Founder, Bench Events - Board Director, STR

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Jonathan Worsley, Chairman of Bench Events, is one of the founders and organisers of multiple leading international conferences for the hotel investment industry, including the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference in Dubai, now in its 13th year, The Summit in London, the Asia Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference and the Africa Hotel Investment Forum. 

More recently, Jonathan and his team have entered the Latin America market partnering with SAHIC in Cuba and Buenos Aires and the inaugural Iran Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference in 2017.

Bench Events has also branched out into the related fields of aviation and F&B, with the respective launches of AviaDev Africa, inaugurated in 2016, and The Global Restaurant Investment Forum now in its fourth year.

In 1997, Jonathan was one of the founding members of the annual International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF) in Berlin, a conference he subsequently organised for 19 years, which today attracts over 2,000 delegates. Earlier in his career, Jonathan worked for real estate consultants CBRE & Hotel Partners, hotel advisors PKF and hotel operator Forte & Holiday Inns.

Jonathan sits as a shareholder and board director of STR, a global benchmarking company with over 50,000 participating hotels following the merger of The Bench, STR and Deloitte’s Hotel Benchmark. He sits on the board of Hotel Swaps, which allows participating members to swap empty hotel rooms with other members around the globe and is an investor in TripTease, the tech start-up that enables hotels to increase direct sales and aims to defeat rate disparity.

Jonathan and his colleagues are actively involved raising money for the communities in which Bench Events works. They raised more than £200,000 for TUSK, Cancer Research and the Rwanda Cricket Stadium Foundation by participating in the Kili Madness challenge and breaking the World Record for the highest game of cricket ever played on top of Kilimanjaro. In 2016, Jonathan cycled from Amsterdam to Berlin with nine others for the opening of IHIF and raised funds for the Anne Frank Trust and Future Talent, a feat he will tackle again in 2017. 
Jonathan is a Trustee of Future Talent, a charity that provides financial support to gifted young musicians in need of financial assistance to pursue their dreams and talent.

In conversation with

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Christopher Nassetta
President and Chief Executive Officer - Hilton

Christopher Nassetta

President and Chief Executive Officer - Hilton

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Christopher J. Nassetta is President and CEO for Hilton Worldwide. He joined the company in 2007.

Previously, Mr. Nassetta was President and Chief Executive Officer of Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc., a position he held since 2000. He joined Host in 1995 as Executive Vice President and was elected Chief Operating Officer in 1997.

Before joining Host, Mr. Nassetta co-founded Bailey Capital Corporation in 1991, where he was responsible for the operations of the real estate investment and advisory firm. Prior to founding Bailey Capital Corporation, he spent seven years at The Oliver Carr Company, ultimately serving as Chief Development Officer. In this role, he was responsible for all development and related activities for one of the largest commercial real estate companies in the mid-Atlantic region.

Mr. Nassetta serves on multiple boards including the World Travel & Tourism Council, CoStar Group, Inc., The Real Estate Roundtable, International Youth Foundation, Federal City Council, Wolf Trap Foundation, and The John F. Kennedy Center.    

Mr. Nassetta graduated from the University of Virginia McIntire School of Commerce with a degree in finance. He currently serves on the McIntire School of Commerce Advisory Board.

9:15 - 9:30  
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Exclusive Research Report: Global Megatrends and their impact on Hospitality in the Middle East

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Dr. Martin Berlin
Partner, Deals Strategy ME, Global Deals Real Estate Leader - PwC

Dr. Martin Berlin

Partner, Deals Strategy ME, Global Deals Real Estate Leader - PwC

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Martin is a partner within the PwC Deals Strategy team in the Middle East based in Dubai. 


He  leads the Real Estate & Construction Practice in the Middle East and also serves as the Global Deals Real Estate Leader. Recently, he has worked on projects advising Construction Contractors and Architectural & Engineering companies in their corporate strategy development, assisting property development companies in feasibility and market entry studies and supporting other real estate companies in operational projects like customer reviews or growth projects. Martin is also actively involved in the Global Deal Origination initiative that has the objective to present customised deal opportunities to a targeted list of global investors (e.g. SWFs, Pension Funds and PE). He has also worked on several feasibility studies for Leisure, Entertainment & Hospitality development projects in the Middle East.


Martin brings over 12 years of experience working in senior strategy and operational positions at real estate development companies in the Middle East. While his core functional expertise is in strategy, he also gained significant experience in business development, deal making, marketing and operations. With his experience in McKinsey & Company, he combines a consulting advisor perspective with a operational expertise that he acquired working for Procter & Gamble and Dubai Holding.


Before joining PwC, Martin was the Chief Strategy Officer of Dubai Properties Group where he was responsible for the turn around and restructuring  of Dubai Holding’s property development and management business, optimizing revenue opportunities for the developer while streamlining OPEX.  Martin has is also experience in the Healthcare and Leisure & Entertainment sectors. He has served as the VP of Strategy & Business Development at Dubailand Parks & Resorts (BU of Dubai Holding) where he led IP licensing negotiations with Universal Studios, Six Flags, Marvel, and Dreamworks. His healthcare experience is focused on the pharmaceutical and specialty chemicals industry and the development of Dubai Healthcare City, a large development focusing on the delivery of the entire healthcare value chain.


Before his positions with Dubai Holding he was with McKinsey & Company for 6 years and with Procter & Gamble for 3 years.

9:30 - 10:15  
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Catalysts of Change

The ongoing digital revolution, emerging internet of things, advent of the sharing economy and changing needs of the consumer are having a profound effect on the way we do business across the world.

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Dr. Martin Berlin
Partner, Deals Strategy ME, Global Deals Real Estate Leader - PwC

Dr. Martin Berlin

Partner, Deals Strategy ME, Global Deals Real Estate Leader - PwC

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Martin is a partner within the PwC Deals Strategy team in the Middle East based in Dubai. 


He  leads the Real Estate & Construction Practice in the Middle East and also serves as the Global Deals Real Estate Leader. Recently, he has worked on projects advising Construction Contractors and Architectural & Engineering companies in their corporate strategy development, assisting property development companies in feasibility and market entry studies and supporting other real estate companies in operational projects like customer reviews or growth projects. Martin is also actively involved in the Global Deal Origination initiative that has the objective to present customised deal opportunities to a targeted list of global investors (e.g. SWFs, Pension Funds and PE). He has also worked on several feasibility studies for Leisure, Entertainment & Hospitality development projects in the Middle East.


Martin brings over 12 years of experience working in senior strategy and operational positions at real estate development companies in the Middle East. While his core functional expertise is in strategy, he also gained significant experience in business development, deal making, marketing and operations. With his experience in McKinsey & Company, he combines a consulting advisor perspective with a operational expertise that he acquired working for Procter & Gamble and Dubai Holding.


Before joining PwC, Martin was the Chief Strategy Officer of Dubai Properties Group where he was responsible for the turn around and restructuring  of Dubai Holding’s property development and management business, optimizing revenue opportunities for the developer while streamlining OPEX.  Martin has is also experience in the Healthcare and Leisure & Entertainment sectors. He has served as the VP of Strategy & Business Development at Dubailand Parks & Resorts (BU of Dubai Holding) where he led IP licensing negotiations with Universal Studios, Six Flags, Marvel, and Dreamworks. His healthcare experience is focused on the pharmaceutical and specialty chemicals industry and the development of Dubai Healthcare City, a large development focusing on the delivery of the entire healthcare value chain.


Before his positions with Dubai Holding he was with McKinsey & Company for 6 years and with Procter & Gamble for 3 years.

In conversation with

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Steven Daines
CEO New Businesses & CEO HotelServices Africa & Middle East - AccorHotels

Steven Daines

CEO New Businesses & CEO HotelServices Africa & Middle East - AccorHotels

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Aged 48, Steven is of both British and French nationalities. He is a graduate of the University of Geneva and holds an MBA in Hospitality Management from ESSEC.

Steven started his career with Accor in 1994. He joined the Group via Compagnie des Wagons-Lits where he held various operational positions in France and internationally between 1994 and 2005. He then switched to Accor's Hotel Operations and in 2008 he was appointed Managing Director for Accor’s economic brands in Latin America, based in Sao Paulo. In 2012, he was named Managing Director Ibis Budget and HotelF1 France.
Since April 2014, he was CEO Accor HotelServices for Northern Europe and Russia and member of the Accor Hotels Group Executive Committee.

On January 1st, 2017, he was appointed CEO Accor HotelServices Africa and Middle East and CEO New Businesses.

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Olivier Harnisch
Chief Executive Officer - Emaar Hospitality Group LLC

Olivier Harnisch

Chief Executive Officer - Emaar Hospitality Group LLC

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An international hospitality management leader with over 30 years of experience, Olivier Harnisch is the Chief Executive Officer of Emaar Hospitality Group. He is mandated with driving the overall operations of the organisation with a focus on setting new benchmarks for Emaar Hospitality Group in Dubai and other international markets.

He is responsible for the overall management strategy for 11 operational hotels and three serviced residences in Dubai, and the project pipeline of 18 upcoming hotels and 16 serviced residences in the UAE – in Dubai and Fujairah - as well as in international markets including Egypt, Bahrain, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

With the goal of enhancing efficiency, productivity and profitability, he leads the company in unlocking the potential of its three hotel brands – the premium lifestyle brand Address Hotels + Resorts, the upscale lifestyle boutique brand Vida Hotels and Resorts, and the contemporary mid-scale brand Rove Hotels.

He is also responsible for the leisure clubs under Emaar Hospitality Group and the Lifestyle Dining assets. In addition, he will focus on further enhancing guest experiences and implementing new strategies that create long-term value for all stakeholders.

Olivier joins Emaar from Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group in Brussels, where he was Chief Operating Officer, responsible for a portfolio of over 350 leased, managed and franchised hotels in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

He has acquired in-depth expertise in all aspects of the hospitality business through multiple leadership roles across four continents. He has significant regional and international experience in both hotel and restaurant operations.

Olivier started his career in 1986, and was initially associated with individual hotels, food and beverage operations and airlines for over 13 years, enabling him to gain strong insights in classic hospitality and in developing compelling guest experiences.

He then worked for over 14 years with an international hotel chain where he held the position of Vice President for Northern and Central Europe, before taking up his last role in 2012.

Olivier holds an MSc in Organisational Labour from the University of London, an MBA in International Finance from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh and a Degree in Hospitality Management from Berlin School of Hotel Administration. Having worked across the globe, Olivier is fluent in six languages.

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

Alex Kyriakidis

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

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Alex Kyriakidis is President and Managing Director, Middle East & Africa (MEA), for Marriott International, Inc., with responsibility for all business activities for the Middle East & Africa Region (MEA), including operations, sales and marketing, finance and hotel development.

Prior to joining Marriott in January 2012, Mr. Kyriakidis served as Global Managing Director – Travel, Hospitality & Leisure for Deloitte LLP.  In this role, Mr. Kyriakidis led the Global Travel, Hospitality & Leisure Industry team, where he was responsible for a team of 4,500 professionals that generated $700 million in revenues.

Mr. Kyriakidis has 40 years of experience providing strategic, financial, M&A, operational, asset management and integration services to the travel, hospitality and leisure sectors.  He has served clients in 25 countries, predominantly in the EMEA and Asia/Pac regions.

As President of the MEA region for Marriott International, Mr Kyriakidis oversees the operations of a portfolio of over 150 hotels in 19 countries and an active pipeline of more than 90 hotels. The MEA business employs over 30,000 associates.

Mr Kyriakidis is a fellow of the Arab Society of Certified Accountants, the British Association of Hotel Accountants and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

Mr. Kyriakidis holds a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science and mathematics from Leeds University in the United Kingdom.  He is based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Mr Kyriakidis is fluent in English, Greek and Arabic.

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Stefan Leser
Group Chief Executive Officer - Jumeirah Group

Stefan Leser

Group Chief Executive Officer - Jumeirah Group

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Stefan Leser joined the Jumeirah Group as Group Chief Executive Officer in February 2016. During his time with the company, he has overseen a number of important milestones. These include the launch of The Terrace at Burj Al Arab Jumeirah and the opening of Jumeirah Al Naseem, a 430 luxury room hotel in Dubai, which completes the award winning Madinat Jumeirah Resort.

Stefan continues to drive Jumeirah’s commitment to attracting top talent. He has visited international hospitality schools to share Jumeirah insights and meet students as well as support Jumeirah's National Graduate Programme, which develops the Emirati leaders of tomorrow.

As Jumeirah Group CEO, Stefan has put operating excellence and efficiency at the centre of focus, implementing organisational changes and driving growth. Prior to joining Jumeirah, Stefan worked with Swiss travel services provider, Kuoni Travel Holding, where he held executive management positions for more than 10 years. As a member of Kuoni’s Executive Board, he was most recently Executive Vice President of its outbound travel businesses, covering the Nordics, UK, Benelux, India, China, Hong Kong as well as the home market, Switzerland. In addition, he was responsible for all businesses specialising in inbound destination management. In this role, he held responsibility for $3 billion of revenues and 8,000 employees.

Earlier roles with Kuoni included Executive Vice President, CEO Division, Emerging Market and Specialist Businesses where he oversaw the growth and development of Kuoni’s global visa outsourcing business, VFS, which today accounts for $300m in annual sales.

Before joining Kuoni, Mr. Leser spent eight years working in IT service companies, with over five years in senior positions with EDS Corporation. Originally from Bavaria in Germany, Stefan holds a MBA from Augusta University, Georgia in the USA.

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Robert Welanetz
Chief Executive Officer - Majid Al Futtaim Properties

Robert Welanetz

Chief Executive Officer - Majid Al Futtaim Properties

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Robert Welanetz is the Chief Executive Officer of Majid Al Futtaim – Properties, responsible for leading the business’ strategic vision in line with the company’s integrated retail, leisure and entertainment business model in the MENA region. Mr. Welanetz monitors the performance of the Properties businesses and support its four business units including Shopping Malls, Hotels, Communities and Project Management to empower the company’s regional portfolio of world-class shopping malls, hotels and mixed-use living communities.

With nearly four decades of strategic investment and global operational experience, Mr. Welanetz brings an unrivalled understanding of the global retail real estate and portfolio management businesses to Majid Al Futtaim.

He was previously Blackstone Real Estate’s Global Retail Real Estate Advisor since 2008, responsible for sourcing and creating investment strategies, underwriting acquisition targets and determining strategic asset management guidance within the company’s real estate portfolio.

He recently served as the Chairman of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) a global trade associate with more than 70,000 members in over 100 countries and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Colorado State University.

10:15 - 11:00  
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The 2017 Macroeconomic Outlook for Middle East Hospitality

The Oil Price Stagnation, Limited Liquidity and the Countdown to VAT in the GCC. All change must be considered against a macroeconomic outlook and its practical implications for the market in question. Find out how regional circumstances will interact with global game changers.

Presentation by

MENA Economic Outlook

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Shady el Borno
Head of Macro Strategy - Global Markets & Treasury, Emirates NBD

Shady el Borno

Head of Macro Strategy - Global Markets & Treasury, Emirates NBD

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Shady Shaher Elborno is the Macro Strategy at Emirates NBD with responsibility for research on thematic issues covering Gulf Cooperation Council economies. Prior to joining Emirates NBD, Shady worked in financial services sector at, including Dubai Bank, ABN AMRO. He also has experience in the oil industry having been employed in the finance department of a government run oil company in his native Dubai. Notable is his 6 years as Senior Economist MENA for Standard Chartered Bank, where he joined that bank as currency trader in 2005, specializing in a broad range of FX tradable instruments. Shady is a frequent commentator in the local and international media, and has been a key note speaker at a number of conferences and events on economic issues in the MENA region.

Shady Shaher Elborno received degree in Accounting from Higher Colleges of Technology in 1999. His professional focus on Macro Economic themes of relevance to the GCC and MENA markets. His current projects include research on taxation and the introduction of VAT, labor markets productivity in the GCC and the impact of the new UAE bankruptcy legislation, trade dynamics of the UAE economy and M&A landscape of the UAE. Shady analyzes regional and global economic relationships and aims to provide thought leadership views on issues that impact the MENA region. Shady as part of the Emirates NBD Research team aims to provide detailed coverage of 16 GCC and MENA economies from a strategic perspective.

Session moderated by

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Richard Thompson
Editorial Director - MEED

Richard Thompson

Editorial Director - MEED

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Richard Thompson is the Editorial Director of MEED. He is responsible for the content of MEED Magazine, MEED.com, MEED Projects, MEED Insights and AMEInfo.com. A keen student of Middle East political and economic affairs, Richard regularly writes and contributes articles to the wider media, including Financial Times and the BBC. He is also a regular speaker on Middle East economy. Richard joined MEED as Managing Editor in February 2003. During his time at MEED, he has covered many areas of the Middle East economy including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon. He was named MEED editor in April 2007 and become Editorial Director in February 2010.  He has a Masters degree in International Relations, and a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering with Management Law. Prior to becoming a journalist he worked in the UK construction industry for Atkins and for Laing O’Rourke.

In conversation with

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Dr Badr Al Badr
Chief Executive Officer - Dur Hospitality

Dr Badr Al Badr

Chief Executive Officer - Dur Hospitality

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Dr. Badr Al-Badr is a veteran business leader, serial entrepreneur, a published author, a blogger, and a social activist. The Chief Executive Officer of one of the oldest Saudi publicly listed companies in Saudi Arabia, Dur Hospitality Company, a Saudi Joint Stock hospitality company established in 1976, recognized for its extensive record in managing, developing and operating a wide portfolio of hotels and residential compounds across the kingdom.
Prior to being with Dur, Dr. Badr held many leading positions in local and multinational companies, earning him numerous “Best Manager” awards during his career. He was the CEO of Cisco Systems Saudi Arabia which, under his leadership, won the “Best Business Environment” Award in Saudi Arabia, he was also the CEO of AwalNet Company and CEO of Al Alamiah Internet and Communication Company.
Dr. Badr earned his masters and PHD from Washington University, USA and his B.A degree from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran. An entrepreneur and contributor to leading and developing emerging business, Dr. Badr actively participated in many leadership programs at several renowned universities including Oxford, Cornell, and George Washington University.
Dr. Badr is currently a member of the board of directors for Tourism National Committee Riyadh, SYAHYA National Company for Tourism, and Saudi Heritage Hospitality Company "NUZUL". He is also an activist on social media for knowledge and science dissemination and a spokesperson on several occasions.
Ranked 17th in the list of top 50 most influential hospitality professionals in the Middle East in 2016 by hotelier magazine, and 65 on the list of top 100 CEO in the GCC for the year 2016 by TRENDS magazine and INSEAD – international business school, Dr. Badr is known for being an eloquent speaker in major conferences such as Arabian Hotel Investment Conference, Global Competitive Forum, Hospitality Summit, and IPD MEA Summit.

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Ignace Bauwens
Regional Vice President Middle East and Africa - Wyndham Hotel Group

Ignace Bauwens

Regional Vice President Middle East and Africa - Wyndham Hotel Group

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Ignace Bauwens joined Wyndham Hotel Group as Regional Vice President, Middle East and Africa in 2016. Based in the company’s Dubai office, Bauwens joined WHG with almost 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry, including senior operations roles at Accor and InterContinental Hotels Group. Wyndham Hotel Group is the world’s largest hotel company based on number of hotels and one of three hospitality business units of Wyndham Worldwide. Driving the democratisation of travel, Wyndham Hotel Group is elevating the experience of the everyday traveller, changing the game so every traveller – no matter how much they spend or how they like to travel – has an extraordinary experience. As both a leading hotel brand franchisor and hotel management services provider, the company’s global portfolio consists of more than 8,000 hotels and approximately 697,600 rooms in 77 countries. Wyndham Rewards, ranked number one hotel rewards programme for 2016-2017 by U.S. News & World Report, offers more than 49 million members the opportunity to earn and redeem points at 25,000 hotels, condos and homes globally. For more information, visit www.wyndhamworldwide.com.

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Amine Moukarzel
President - Louvre Hotels Group & Golden Tulip MENA

Amine Moukarzel

President - Louvre Hotels Group & Golden Tulip MENA

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A veteran hotelier for over three decades, Amine E. Moukarzel has vast experience in managing and leading international hotel chains and managing companies with his thorough knowledge in the MENA region having developed and operated leading hotels in the marketplace. 

Having worked as the Hotel Operator, General Manager and Director of Operations of hotel owning companies in the United Arab Emirates, the Emirates property Investment Company, who have built the most successful hotels in Dubai & Abu Dhabi in the early and mid 90’s. Amine established the momentum of being awarded the top operator having won the top 10 torchbearer award in Europe and the MENA region of Holiday Inn Chain at the time.

A certified trainer on the models for management, Amine has contributed to the development of many hoteliers who have become leaders in the Middle East and Africa and has seen those who have emigrated from the region to the world packed with his training and knowledge, has formed the management program of USEK (University of Saint Esprit Kaslik-Lebanon) and has been lecturing around Europe and the MENA region for many years in several leading institutes. 

Carried out several training workshops as a trainer, has contributed for several years to be a key note speaker and moderator for Arab ministers in AHIC (Arabian Hotel Investment Conference) and other leading trade shows and conferences.  Member of several committees and boards, and won several awards, latest Tatweej , for his contribution in the Hospitality Industry,  to be selected also from UNTWO to give a lecture on the latest hospitality trends in the region.

Amine E. Moukarzel, the founder of Flamingo Hotel Management Company 12 years ago that started with 3 people is currently operating from the regional head office based in the UAE with 22 executives and 6000 employees around the region having more than 70 hotels under the Golden Tulip Hotels, Suites & Resorts in the MENA region as President of the Group and Partner with Louvre Hotels Group and Starwood Capital in the MENA region.

The success story goes on with the Human resources development, seeing executives joining the company, getting married and having children, thus growing their family within the family of Flamingo Hotel Management and Golden Tulip MENA especially with loyal employees and executives who have been in employment since its inception.

He was nominated among the top 20 Arab Hoteliers and in 2009, in 2013 he was ranked number 9 among the top 50 hoteliers in the Middle east and Number 2 in the top 10 Arab Hoteliers in the Middle east. Amine E. Moukarzel was the recipient of the famous HORECA Lebanon & Levant award that is a prestigious award and a selection of top 5 leaders in hospitality and tourism who have contributed to the Middle East & North Africa. 

In 2011 Amine was nominated as “Man of the Year” by the General Managers Magazine and received the prestigious award in Lebanon.

In 2012 he was awarded the Platinum award from Louvre Hotels and Starwood Capital for his contribution in the MENA region in the company worldwide portfolio.

Currently heading the fastest expanding hotel management company in the MENA region, the Golden Tulip has grown from 43 hotels at the end of 2011 to reach 60 hotels at the end of 2012, having in its portfolio Golden Tulip Hotels, Suites & Resorts and Louvre Hotels, making the group the 2nd largest European group and the 8th largest worldwide with its brands: Royal Tulip, Golden Tulip, Tulip Inn, Kyriad, Campanile and Premiere Classe. 

This shall capitalize on the success factor of Golden Tulip’s achievements in the region as Amine E. Moukarzel believes that building up such success with close relationships is related to respecting owners and driving hotel developments and delivering the promises to the highest return on investments to shareholders and to be the employer of choice and of reference.

The plan is to open one Golden Tulip hotel every month and at the forefront, develop Louvre Hotels, capitalizing on the success of Golden Tulip as both will provide synergy management with an excellent platform for development, owners’ relation, human resources etc.

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Joe Sita
Chief Executive Officer - IFA Hotel Investments

Joe Sita

Chief Executive Officer - IFA Hotel Investments

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An accomplished CEO, Sita brings more than 35 years’ experience to his position as Chief Executive Officer of IFA Hotel Investments. In this role, Sita drives the strategic direction of IFA Hotels & Resorts’ operational asset portfolio, currently valued at approximately USD$1billion and that operates in the Middle East, North America, Europe, South Africa and Asia.

Prior to joining IFA Hotel Investments in 2010, Sita was the founding CEO of Istithmar Hotels, a position he held for four years. During that time and under his leadership Istithmar Hotels amassed a global portfolio of hotel assets valued at approximately US$4 billion. While in this role, Sita sat on the board of Kerzner Ltd, and was also Chairman of Corinthia Hotels International.

Before moving to Dubai in late 2005, Sita was Singapore based where he held the role of Executive Vice President of Development for Carlson Hotels Asia Pacific, a post he held for 4 years. Sita also spent 13 years at Accor Asia Pacific (1988 – 2001) where he held positions ranging from hotel General Manager and Director of Operations to Head of Development. Sita’s last role at Accor was as CEO of Accor Vacation Club, which he founded in1999.

More recently (2011 – 2014) Sita has held the role of non-executive Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Best Hotels Properties a.s., a Slovakian listed hotel investment company that has ownership interests in some of eastern Europe’s best hotels including the Kempinski Baltschug, Moscow and the Hotel InterContinental, Prague.

11:00 - 11:15  
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Global CEO Series - Catalysts of Change

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Jonathan Worsley
Chairman & Founder, Bench Events - Board Director, STR

Jonathan Worsley

Chairman & Founder, Bench Events - Board Director, STR

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Jonathan Worsley, Chairman of Bench Events, is one of the founders and organisers of multiple leading international conferences for the hotel investment industry, including the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference in Dubai, now in its 13th year, The Summit in London, the Asia Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference and the Africa Hotel Investment Forum. 

More recently, Jonathan and his team have entered the Latin America market partnering with SAHIC in Cuba and Buenos Aires and the inaugural Iran Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference in 2017.

Bench Events has also branched out into the related fields of aviation and F&B, with the respective launches of AviaDev Africa, inaugurated in 2016, and The Global Restaurant Investment Forum now in its fourth year.

In 1997, Jonathan was one of the founding members of the annual International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF) in Berlin, a conference he subsequently organised for 19 years, which today attracts over 2,000 delegates. Earlier in his career, Jonathan worked for real estate consultants CBRE & Hotel Partners, hotel advisors PKF and hotel operator Forte & Holiday Inns.

Jonathan sits as a shareholder and board director of STR, a global benchmarking company with over 50,000 participating hotels following the merger of The Bench, STR and Deloitte’s Hotel Benchmark. He sits on the board of Hotel Swaps, which allows participating members to swap empty hotel rooms with other members around the globe and is an investor in TripTease, the tech start-up that enables hotels to increase direct sales and aims to defeat rate disparity.

Jonathan and his colleagues are actively involved raising money for the communities in which Bench Events works. They raised more than £200,000 for TUSK, Cancer Research and the Rwanda Cricket Stadium Foundation by participating in the Kili Madness challenge and breaking the World Record for the highest game of cricket ever played on top of Kilimanjaro. In 2016, Jonathan cycled from Amsterdam to Berlin with nine others for the opening of IHIF and raised funds for the Anne Frank Trust and Future Talent, a feat he will tackle again in 2017. 
Jonathan is a Trustee of Future Talent, a charity that provides financial support to gifted young musicians in need of financial assistance to pursue their dreams and talent.

In conversation with

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Stephen Joyce
President & CEO - Choice Hotels International Inc.

Stephen Joyce

President & CEO - Choice Hotels International Inc.

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AHIC Pecha Kucha: The Hotel of the Future

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David Daniels
Discipline Lead for Architecture & Senior Associate - SSH

David Daniels

Discipline Lead for Architecture & Senior Associate - SSH

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David’s experience spans the commercial, hospitality, residential and retail sectors, and includes the design of large stadia and sporting facilities.

With more than 14 years of experience with leading international practices in the UK and the Middle East, he has a proven record of creating, presenting and developing an international level of design work. In these projects he has also played a key leadership and business development role with both local and international clients.

David was previously employed by Meraas as a Lead Design Architect where he worked on several prestige projects. Prior to this, he worked with the internationally acclaimed studios Hopkins Architects and Glenn Howells Architects (GHA), where he was engaged in numerous projects including the London 2012 Olympics and the Dubai World Trade Centre.

Qualified with a BA(Hons) Degree in Architecture and a Post Graduate Diploma in Architecture in 2003 and 2007 respectively, and as a Chartered Member of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), David brings a wealth of knowledge to SSH.

11:15 - 11:45  
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Morning Refreshments and Networking in Sponsors’ Showcase

 
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AHIC Pecha Kucha: The Hotel of the Future

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Kevin Underwood
Principal, Masterplanning & Design - HKS Architects

Kevin Underwood

Principal, Masterplanning & Design - HKS Architects

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Kevin is Principal and Head of Masterplanning & Design in the Hospitality sector for HKS, one of the world’s eminent hospitality design firms. A masterplanner and designer, Kevin has over 30 years of experience in planning, design and management of projects from a wide ranging portfolio globally but specialising in hotel/resorts, urban regeneration, golf and leisure, commercial and retail.
Formerly Global Leader of Leisure and Culture at Aecom and a Partner at Derek Lovejoy Partnership in London, Kevin was responsible for some of the practice’s most notable designs including the seminal Heart of Doha/Msheireb project, Saadiyat Island the Four Seasons Hotel in Istanbul, Goa and Montenegro, Emirates Palace Hotel Abu Dhabi, Ritz Carlton Dubai, Hotel Monasterie Santa Rosa Amalfi Italy Hyatt Mallorca and Thessaloniki and Disneyland Paris.
He drives HKS’s dynamic and creative approach, championing innovations and cutting-edge solutions to create enduring designs that offer measurable real estate returns.
Kevin Underwood is also an accomplished sculptor and artist working in pencil, watercolours and collage.

11:45 - 12:25  
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Stripping Away the Segments

The new era of hoteliers offer brands that are synonymous with a certain lifestyle, making traditional hotel star ratings redundant. What do these so-called disruptive brands offer investors?

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Catalin Cighi
Managing Partner - Cain Hospitality Innovation (CHI)

Catalin Cighi

Managing Partner - Cain Hospitality Innovation (CHI)

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Catalin works to reinvent decision-making in hospitality development. His time is divided between research (80%) and consulting (20%).
To validate his findings - and fund the next round of research - he works with hospitality asset developers, tourism authorities and governments.
His current focus is on experience design. To understand why people fall in love with places. To use these findings in development strategies that optimize $/m2.
Before founding CHI in Dubai, Catalin worked in Europe and North America with companies such as PwC, HVS and The Economist Group

In conversation with

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

Pascal Gauvin

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

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Pascal Gauvin is Chief Operating Officer for IHG across India, Middle East and Africa. He is responsible for the operations and performance of more than 124 hotels as well as overseeing the strategic development of IHG’s plans, including the 74 hotels in the region’s development pipeline. Key to his role is maintaining and fostering relations with existing and new hotel owners.

Pascal has a wealth of expertise in the hospitality business, starting his career in the Food & Beverage department. Pascal held several managerial positions at Accor and Hilton Hotels before joining IHG in 1993 as a Food and Beverage Manager at the InterContinental Hotel Paris. He has been with IHG for 20 over years, and has held a number of senior managerial positions in Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Africa, Lebanon, Qatar and UAE.

A strong believer in the principles of ‘leadership by example’ as well as ‘empowerment’, he spends at least 50 percent of his time in the field to ensure that day-to-day operations and relations are in line with IHG’s standards.

Pascal is a father of two and his favourite family getaway is Nice in France. Despite Pascal’s very busy schedule, he finds time to practice golf.

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Olivier Granet
Managing Director & Chief Operating Officer - Middle East & Africa AccorHotels

Olivier Granet

Managing Director & Chief Operating Officer - Middle East & Africa AccorHotels

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Olivier Granet is the Managing Director & Chief Operating Officer of AccorHotels Middle East since January 2016. In January 2017 he took also the responsibility of Africa. He oversees the overall AccorHotels’ diverse portfolio of internationally renowned luxury, upscale, midscale and economy hotels in these regions, and is responsible for the development of the AccorHotels network in the Middle East and Africa. This includes more than 178 operational hotels with over 40,000 rooms across twenty-eight countries, and more than 160 properties under development that will bring over 37,000 additional rooms.

Olivier’s previous role was Senior Vice President of Development at AccorHotels Middle East. Since he moved to Dubai in 2011, Olivier oversaw the signing of over 90 new partnership agreements across the region; reaching a rate of one new signature every two weeks.

He is a 16-year veteran of the hospitality industry, having joined AccorHotels in 1999 as Chief Financial Officer for Central Europe, based in Budapest. Moving to Paris in 2002, Olivier was appointed Vice President, Corporate Finance, in charge of integrating the German hotel chain Dorint and developing synergies with Club Méditerranée and Groupe Lucien Barrière. He served as AccorHotels’ Executive Committee General Secretary in 2006, and Chief Financial Officer for Accor Services in 2007 and 2008. Olivier took on the role of Senior Vice President, Strategy in 2009, before moving to Dubai two years later to head up AccorHotels’ regional Development team in the Middle East.

Prior to joining AccorHotels, Olivier worked with Deloitte & Touche for ten years, initially as an auditor and later as a Manager in the Corporate Finance Department, holding positions in France and abroad.

He has a degree from the Grenoble Institute of Political Studies (Sciences-Po Grenoble) and an MBA from ESSEC Business School in Paris.

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Kees Hartzuiker
Chief Executive Officer - Roya International

Kees Hartzuiker

Chief Executive Officer - Roya International

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Kees Hartzuiker oversees all aspects of Roya International, leading an interdisciplinary team of 55 consultants and specialists, charged with key areas such as development advisory, asset management and hospitality services.

A recognized leading hotelier, Kees brings with him global expertise and experience, having assumed senior roles in three continents, initially in Europe, followed by MENA and Asia.

Prior to taking up the role in Roya, he has served as CEO of Rixos Hotels, orchestrating the transition of the chain from being regional to becoming international, shaping its strategy, structure and management tools.

A significant chapter in Kees’s career was his tenure with Hilton International, where amongst many responsibilities he was driving all Food & Beverage development across the Middle East and Asia-Pacific regions; most recently as Vice President Asia he led the company’s operations during its multi brand fast paced growth in the region, including key markets such as India and China.

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Shafi Syed
Chief Development Officer - Jumeirah Group

Shafi Syed

Chief Development Officer - Jumeirah Group

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Shafi Syed joined Jumeirah in August 2016 as the Group Chief Development Officer. He is in charge of Jumeirah’s global growth and leads the Group’s development team and the development strategy.
Reporting to Stefan Leser, Group CEO, Shafi brings over 25 years of development expansion experience across diverse hospitality sectors, including hotels and branded real estate, in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
He joined Jumeirah Group from Trump Hotels where he was Regional Vice President of development and acquisitions. He previously held senior positions in development and operations at Wyndham in London and Dubai, and Taj Hotels in India.

Shafi is a graduate of the Institute of Hotel Management in Bangalore and holds an Advanced Certification in Real Estate & Hotel Investments from Cornell University, New York. He is a dual citizen of the UK and India and has lived and worked in Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

12:25 - 12:40  
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Time To Face The Brutal Hotel Brand Facts

Presented by

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Erik Saelens
Founder, President & Executive Strategic Director - Brandhome Group

Erik Saelens

Founder, President & Executive Strategic Director - Brandhome Group

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Erik Saelens is a consultant and interim manager with over 20 years’ experience in brand marketing and communications. He is the founder, president and executive strategic director at Brandhome group.
He specializes in rebranding and renaming operations, and has researched more than 300 brand-change operations worldwide. He is also an expert on brand management and M&A and IPO strategies,…

Erik speaks regularly at conferences and universities worldwide, as well as contributing frequently to specialist sector media. He focuses on what makes branding meaningful today and how to make marketing relevant tomorrow. How can brands maintain/initiate contact with their customers? What do those customers want anyway? Erik is constantly rethinking these strategies and looking ahead. His unique storytelling style never fails to enlighten and entertain. Erik has written more than 15 books on brand marketing. Check out eriksaelens.com.

Erik holds Belgian nationality and lives with his family in Antwerp, Belgium.

13:45 - 14:30  
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Brand Clinic - Do you need an International Brand?

Middle Eastern owners are shying away from the big names to create their own hotel brands. Have OTAs and hotel alliances enabled the creation of new, niche owner-operated concepts? Do new hotel ‘collections’ from the global chains offer a viable alternative?

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Andrew Sangster
Editorial Director & Owner - Hotel Analyst

Andrew Sangster

Editorial Director & Owner - Hotel Analyst

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Andrew Sangster launched Hotel Analyst more than 14 years ago and it has grown into a publishing business that now encompasses a paid subscription service for hotel investors, a reports division and events.


There are three London-based conferences: The Hotel Distribution Event; The Hotel Alternatives Event; and the Hotel Operations Conference. You can find out more about the events and Hotel Analyst at www.hotelanalyst.co.uk.


Andrew has been a journalist for his entire career, starting out on trade press titles before joining the national press and a brief spell at the BBC. He launched his own business focused on providing high level information on a subscription basis after despairing at the quality of what the old business model of selling advertising space was producing.


Andrew holds a BSc in economics and a MA in journalism. He lives in Cambridge with his wife and three children.

In conversation with

The Owner

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Anil Bhardwaj
Director - A.A. AlMoosa Enterprises

Anil Bhardwaj

Director - A.A. AlMoosa Enterprises

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Anil Bhardwaj, a Chartered Accountant by profession, is a director with A.A. Almoosa Enterprises LLC, Dubai (The Arenco Group) for several years. The Group is a diversified conglomerate with interests in real estate, hotels, manufacturing, services and trade. As one of the largest landlords of Dubai it has, inter alia, several hotel and hotel apartment ownerships, with the hotels being managed by internationally renowned operators. The Group pioneered the hotel apartment concept in Dubai almost 25 years  ago. Anil sits on the board of the  group company that regularly  interacts with the hotel operators and their management.

The New Players

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Tarek M. Daouk
Founder and Managing Partner - Smartotels Hospitality International LLC

Tarek M. Daouk

Founder and Managing Partner - Smartotels Hospitality International LLC

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Tarek M. Daouk is the Founder and Managing Partner of Smartotels Hospitality International LLC (“Smartotels”), a hotel real estate investment and full-service hospitality and asset management firm developing and operating hotels under its unique proprietary hotel brands.

Prior to founding Smartotels, Mr. Daouk was Head of Hospitality at Goldman Sachs's Realty Management Division in Europe responsible for hotel acquisition, asset management and disposition activities. Prior to his time in Europe, Mr. Daouk was involved in hotel acquisitions for the Whitehall Street Real Estate Funds in the U.S.  Before joining Goldman Sachs, Mr. Daouk worked at InterContinental Hotels Group and PricewaterhouseCoopers L.L.P.

Mr. Daouk is President of the Cornell Hotel Society MENA Chapter, serves on the Board of the Columbia Alumni Association UAE, and is the Event Chair of the Dubai Lodging Outlook Seminar, an annual seminar co-hosted with STR. He earned his MSc in Real Estate Development from Columbia University after receiving his BSc in Hotel Administration with distinction from Cornell University. He is fluent in English, French and Arabic.

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Imad W. Elias
Chief Executive Officer - Roda Hotels & Resorts

Imad W. Elias

Chief Executive Officer - Roda Hotels & Resorts

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Imad brings over 40 years of Hospitality experience in all operating departments within a hotel. His long standing career includes previously being General Manager, Regional Director, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Hilton Hotels and Resorts and Rotana Hotels & Resorts in the Middle East.

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Saurabh Rai
Executive Vice President - Preferred Hotels & Resorts

Saurabh Rai

Executive Vice President - Preferred Hotels & Resorts

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Saurabh Rai, Executive Vice President – South Asia, Middle East, Africa and Australasia, oversees the development and expansion of the Preferred Hotels & Resorts in the region. Since joining the company in early 2008, he augmented the group’s presence in South Asia to a six-fold expansion over the past seven years. With impetus on growth in the Middle East & Africa, he is successfully spearheading and ramping up company’s portfolio growth in the region.
His Industry expertise of decade and a half in Hospitality domain includes Development Consulting, Sales & Marketing Strategy, Hotel Operations, Market Studies and Quality Assurance. He began his career with Taj Group of Hotels, followed by The Oberoi Hotels and Resorts. He then moved on to The Imperial, New Delhi, where he last headed the Sales & Marketing effort for this iconic luxury hotel.

The Established Players

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Carlos Khneisser
Vice President, Development - Middle East, North Africa & Turkey - Hilton

Carlos Khneisser

Vice President, Development - Middle East, North Africa & Turkey - Hilton

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Based in Hilton’s MEA Regional Office, Dubai – Khneisser is charged with spearheading the growth of the Hilton portfolio across MENA & Turkey.

Under Khneisser’s leadership, Hilton’s Middle Eastern development has enjoyed year-on-year, organic growth and markets he oversees contribute over 50% of Hilton’s total pipeline in EMEA.

Carlos Khneisser started his career in the hospitality industry in 1998, gaining broad experience across the sector, before focusing on finance and asset management positions over a nine-year period. 

Khneisser joined Hilton in 2009, overseeing the company’s growth within the Middle East & North Africa region that now features more than 140 hotels trading or under development under eight brands.  In 2016 he began overseeing Hilton’s development operations in Turkey.

He graduated in 1996 with a BA Business Administration and Finance from Notre Dame University, Lebanon and is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

A native of Lebanon, Khneisser is fluent in Arabic, English and French.

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

Suma Venkatesh

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

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Suma Venkatesh, Senior Vice President – Real Estate & Development, The Indian Hotels Company Ltd., heads Taj Group’s initiatives for growth through green field developments, acquisitions, licenses and management contracts. Over the last 12 years with the Taj Group, she has been involved in doubling the Group’s inventory to 126 hotels with 15500+ keys.

Ms. Venkatesh is an Electrical Engineer by training and holds a Masters Degree in Management Studies from the Mumbai University in India. She has over 23 years of cross functional experience across industries. Before joining the Taj Group, she has worked in different functions across multiple industry sectors in India.

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Maria Zarraluqui
Global Development Managing Director - Meliá Hotels International Group

Maria Zarraluqui

Global Development Managing Director - Meliá Hotels International Group

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María Zarraluqui is Global Development Managing Director for Meliá Hotels International Group, she is heading the worldwide development for the Group and is responsible for executing together with her team of developers the growth strategy of Meliá worldwide, having signed over the last 3 years more than 110 deals worldwide.


María holds a Law degree from the University of Navarra in Spain, as well as a  Master’s degree in Enterprises Legal Consultancy for the Deusto University in, Spain, a Postgraduate degree in Urban Development Law from the UIB University and got a Mention of honour as number 1 of the 2008-2009 Executive Tourist MBA, IE Business School, in Spain. She joined Meliá´s legal Department in 1999, on 2008 she joined the Development team as Development Director and was promoted to Global Development Managing Director in 2011.

14:30 - 15:30  
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Knowledge Platform - Performance and Pipeline for the Three - Four Star Segment

Exclusive presentation from

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Robin Rossmann
Managing Director - STR

Robin Rossmann

Managing Director - STR

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Robin Rossmann is Managing Director of STR, leading its operations across the Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and Central and South America regions. Robin is focused on continuing to improve the way STR provides the hotel industry with robust and insightful performance benchmarking that enables stakeholders to make better decisions. Prior to STR, Robin was a Senior Director in Deloitte’s Global Hospitality Advisory Team in London. During his 13 years with Deloitte, he advised leading hotel brands, operators, investors and lenders in most major global markets. His wide range of experience includes advising on hotel strategy, business planning, investment appraisal, market reviews, financial and commercial due diligence, IPOs, debt advisory, valuation, financial assurance, controls improvement and risk management.

 
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The Investment Climate warms up to the Mid-Market

The compelling investment model for lower development costs, a result of bank liquidity, market volatility and lender caution, is finally putting the mid-market in favour. This session will explore the current alignment with a long-term view, looking at costs, rate strategy and returns.

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Robin Rossmann
Managing Director - STR

Robin Rossmann

Managing Director - STR

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Robin Rossmann is Managing Director of STR, leading its operations across the Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and Central and South America regions. Robin is focused on continuing to improve the way STR provides the hotel industry with robust and insightful performance benchmarking that enables stakeholders to make better decisions. Prior to STR, Robin was a Senior Director in Deloitte’s Global Hospitality Advisory Team in London. During his 13 years with Deloitte, he advised leading hotel brands, operators, investors and lenders in most major global markets. His wide range of experience includes advising on hotel strategy, business planning, investment appraisal, market reviews, financial and commercial due diligence, IPOs, debt advisory, valuation, financial assurance, controls improvement and risk management.

In conversation with

The Owners and Developers

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Alain Debare
Chief Executive Officer - Action Hotels

Alain Debare

Chief Executive Officer - Action Hotels

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Alain has spent his entire career in the hospitality industry and in particular in the management of hotels, gaining extensive experience in operations as well as hotel development.

He joined Action Hotels in February 2008 shortly after its inception and has been key to its growth. Alain focuses on real estate development, oversees hotel projects from initiation to completion and has a supervisory role to ensure the ownership objectives are achieved. Driven by his sector knowledge and hands-on expertise, Alain is closely involved with the operators to increase profitability and performance of the operating hotels.

Prior to joining the Group, Alain held various management positions with leading hotel management companies, including Mandarin Oriental and Hilton Hotels Corporation. He joined Hilton in 1996 and worked his way through hotel operations to reach general management.

Alain has broad international management and operations experience having worked in the Philippines, France, Venezuela, Brazil, Spain and the GCC. He received a BA in Hotel Management from Institut Paul Bocuse - IGL Lyon in France and has also obtained a certification in hospitality investments and asset management from Cornell University. He speaks fluent French, English, Spanish and Portuguese and is a member of HAMA (Hotel Asset Managers Association).

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Samer Sabra
Vice President, Investment & Development - Ghina Real Estate Company

Samer Sabra

Vice President, Investment & Development - Ghina Real Estate Company

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Mr. Samer Sabra is VP – Investment & Development at Ghina Real Estate Company, the real estate arm of Bakheet For Machinery Group in Jeddah, KSA. Mr. Sabra is overseeing the establishment of Ghina Real Estate Company as a new real estate player in the Saudi market, in addition to the design and implementation of its development strategy over the coming 5 years. Mr. Sabra brings more than 17 years of real estate experience working with leading real estate developers in the GCC region (Riyada Hotels, IFA Hotels & resorts, Injazzat Real Estate) covering mixed-used and hospitality segments. Mr. Sabra holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the American University of Beirut and an MS in Project Analysis, Finance and Investment from the University of York.

The Brands

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Jaidev Menezes
Corporate Director, Business Development - Emaar Hospitality Group

Jaidev Menezes

Corporate Director, Business Development - Emaar Hospitality Group

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Mandated with the global growth and expansion of all Emaar Hospitality Group brands through potential acquisitions and management contracts, Jaidev Menezes brings over ten years of global corporate strategy and hotel development expertise to Emaar.

Jaidev has a successful track record in hotel and branded residential development in several markets including the Americas, Asia, Europe, Middle East and Africa. He earlier served in corporate strategy and development roles including his most recent position leading mixed-use development for the EMEA region at a global luxury hotel operator.

Jaidev holds an MBA from the Ivey Business School and a Bachelor of Science in Hotel Administration from Cornell University.

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Elie Milky
Vice President Business Development Middle East & Africa - The Rezidor Hotel Group

Elie Milky

Vice President Business Development Middle East & Africa - The Rezidor Hotel Group

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In his current role, Elie is responsible for driving expansion opportunities in accordance with the group’s growth strategy across the Middle East and parts of Africa, which remains an area of focus for each of the core brands: Radisson Blu, Park Inn by Radisson, Radisson RED and the Quorvus Collection. 
Elie’s strengths lie in his ability to forge strong relationships with existing partners and local owners as well as developing new associations. He is adept at assessing market conditions and gathering intelligence, turning opportunities into business.
A Lebanese/Gambian national, Elie has a BA in Hospitality Management & Tourism and an MBA in International Hospitality Management specialising in Hotel Real Estate and Finance from the renowned IMHI – ESSEC Business School in Paris.
Prior to joining The Rezidor Hotel Group in 2010, Elie was part of the HVS team based in London and in Dubai where his focus was on conducting feasibility studies, valuations, ROI analyses and strategic advice across Europe the Middle East and Africa. He has also co-authored articles on a number of hospitality markets including Libya, Qatar and Lebanon.

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Rami Moukarzel
Vice President Development & Acquisitions, Middle East & North Africa - Louvre Hotels Group

Rami Moukarzel

Vice President Development & Acquisitions, Middle East & North Africa - Louvre Hotels Group

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Rami A. Moukarzel is the Vice President of Development & Acquisitions for Louvre Hotels Group in the Middle East & North Africa (MENA).

A dynamic professional with a keen insight into the shifting regional hospitality marketplace, Rami has over 15 years of experience leading all aspects of hotel development and operations. He is responsible for overseeing business development and bringing people and resources together to support Louvre Hotels Group’s growth strategies in the region, in addition to directing the new modern branding initiatives the group aggressively takes on.

Rami began his career in 2002 and held several pre-opening, operational and F&B positions with leading hotel chains such as Hyatt, Jumeirah, Kempinski and Mövenpick. In 2008, Rami joined FRHI Hotels & Resorts as Manager - Development, Europe, Middle East & Africa, and progressed over the next 7 years to successive promotions to head up development and growth strategy of the group in the Middle East and Africa, holding the title of Vice President - Development.

The passionate hotelier joined Louvre Hotels Group in mid-2015 with the mandate to grow the group’s presence in the Middle East and North Africa and establish it as the leading mid and upscale hotel operator in the region for years to come.

Rami holds a Master of Science in Management from the UK and a Bachelor of Science degree in Hospitality Management from the Emirates Academy in Dubai and École hôtelière de Lausanne.

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Chris Nader
Vice President – Development - Shaza & Kempinski Hotels

Chris Nader

Vice President – Development - Shaza & Kempinski Hotels

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Chris has started his career in hospitality with Shaza Hotels, a luxury hotel brand partly owned by Kempinski. He has seen the birth of the company and was involved in setting up the brand’s identity and positioning, creating signature products and concepts, and assisting in the various phases of a hotel project’s cycle. He then naturally developed into a key player of the company’s growth strategy, boosting its development activities across the globe. In 2014, Chris took also the development role at Kempinski for Middle-East and Africa, and is based out of the regional office in Dubai.

Prior to joining Shaza, Chris held several positions in food and beverage where he assisted in the creation of some of the trendiest resorts and restaurant concepts in Lebanon.  He holds a Master in Hotel Administration from the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne in Switzerland, and a Bachelor in Business Administration from the American University of Beirut.

Breakout
 
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Stream 1 - The Owners Intelligence Den

Room: Joharah 1

Hosted by

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Andrew Sangster
Editorial Director & Owner - Hotel Analyst

Andrew Sangster

Editorial Director & Owner - Hotel Analyst

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Andrew Sangster launched Hotel Analyst more than 14 years ago and it has grown into a publishing business that now encompasses a paid subscription service for hotel investors, a reports division and events.


There are three London-based conferences: The Hotel Distribution Event; The Hotel Alternatives Event; and the Hotel Operations Conference. You can find out more about the events and Hotel Analyst at www.hotelanalyst.co.uk.


Andrew has been a journalist for his entire career, starting out on trade press titles before joining the national press and a brief spell at the BBC. He launched his own business focused on providing high level information on a subscription basis after despairing at the quality of what the old business model of selling advertising space was producing.


Andrew holds a BSc in economics and a MA in journalism. He lives in Cambridge with his wife and three children.

15:30 - 16:00
Breakout
 
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An A-Z of Reflagging your Hotel

Learn how to work with an operator to accept a potential exit and how to target a replacement operator from those that have successfully managed to reflag their properties. Consider the reasons for reflagging and the legal and financial ramifications.

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Scott Antel
Hospitality and Leisure Partner - Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP

Scott Antel

Hospitality and Leisure Partner - Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP

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Scott Antel is an internationally regarded emerging markets hotels & hospitality lawyer.  He has more than 20 years’ experience advising both owners/developers and international operators in the Middle East, Russia/CIS, Turkey, the Baltics and Asia on hotel, branded residence and mixed use developments.
A senior partner in BLP's Abu Dhabi and Dubai offices, Scott recently joined BLP to lead the firm's "tier one" global Hospitality Practice in the Middle East as well as focus on developing the Russian, African and Asia Pacific practices.
Scott regularly advises clients on all aspects of hotel, branded residence and mixed use development and operational matters, including litigation.  He has acted on hundreds of hotel projects, including numerous landmark projects with major international hotel brands.  He most recently advised on several luxury hotel and branded residence projects on Dubai’s iconic Palm Jumeirah.  He also works in the franchise sector advising hotels, restaurants and retail clients. 
Scott is recognised as a “leading advisor” and “go to hospitality lawyer” by Chambers Europe and Legal 500 law directories.  He serves on the advisory board of the Russian and Arabian Hotel Investment Forums and is a regular speaker at events, as well the Berlin IHIF and is regularly published and quoted on hospitality related topics.
Scott was recipient of the Russia/CIS Hotel Investment Forum's 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the industry in emerging markets, the only lawyer to ever receive this prestigious award.

In conversation with

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Yannis Anagnostakis
Chief Executive Officer - RAK Hospitality Holding LLC

Yannis Anagnostakis

Chief Executive Officer - RAK Hospitality Holding LLC

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Yannis is a passionate and creative hospitality executive with a long track record in ‘turnaround’ projects and delivery of financial returns for stakeholders. He has over 22 years’ experience in international 5-star and luxury hospitality, with a career spanning 12 cities in 8 countries, across 4 geographical regions.

After obtaining a degree at Les Roches International School of Hotel Management in Switzerland, Yannis developed an extensive knowledge of hotel operations in various managerial and senior executive roles.

Prior to joining RAK Hospitality Holding, Yannis was employed by Hilton International (Athens, London, Durban, Cairo), InterContinental Hotels Group (Miami, San Francesco, Toronto, Dubai) and Jumeirah Group (New York, Dubai). His hospitality career path included managerial and executive roles in hotel operations, project management and development.

Since joining RAK Hospitality Holding LLC in December 2013, Yannis has been tasked with the consolidation of Government owned hotel and hospitality assets and the formation of RAKHH subsidiaries.

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Jerome Briet
Vice President Development, Middle East & Africa - Marriott International

Jerome Briet

Vice President Development, Middle East & Africa - Marriott International

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In his capacity of Vice President Development, Jerome oversees the expansion of Marriott International and The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company brands in the region with a particular focus on the United Arab Emirates and Oman. His extensive network and solid market reputation built over the last 10 years spent in the region have enabled Jerome to bring some of the company’s most iconic brands to the region, including Edition and Bulgari Hotels & Resorts, as well as expand the midscale and full service brands in underprovided submarkets.

Prior to joining Marriott International, Jerome has advised international clients in successfully conducting hotel transactions both in Europe and the Middle East, having been a senior member of the Capital markets team of Jones Lang Lasalle in Dubai and previously in Paris.

Jerome holds a BSc in Finance from INSEEC Paris and an MBA from ESSEC Paris in Hospitality Management.

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Rabih Feghali
Director - Business Development - Ròya International

Rabih Feghali

Director - Business Development - Ròya International

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Rabih Feghali heads up business development at Roya, the region's largest hospitality consultancy firm, advising investors from around the GCC on their hospitality assets and strategies. Born and raised in the UAE, he spent the early part of his career in New York City at iconic properties such as The New York Palace and The Plaza, before moving back home to Abu Dhabi to open up a boutique hotel and later taking on the role of Hospitality Development Director for a Financial Institution in Beirut. A third generation hotelier, he is a graduate of the Les Roches Hotel School in Switzerland as well as University of Nevada Las Vegas and Cornell University in New York.

16:00 - 16:30
Breakout
 
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Medical, Wellness, Culture, Heritage or Entertainment

Which of the new tourism trends holds most potential for hotel investors?

Developing run-of-the-mill hotels and resorts is no longer enough; many upcoming projects have wellness, spa, culture, or heritage as their cornerstone. These projects come at a price, however, so are the returns really worth it?

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Kevin Underwood
Principal, Masterplanning & Design - HKS Architects

Kevin Underwood

Principal, Masterplanning & Design - HKS Architects

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Kevin is Principal and Head of Masterplanning & Design in the Hospitality sector for HKS, one of the world’s eminent hospitality design firms. A masterplanner and designer, Kevin has over 30 years of experience in planning, design and management of projects from a wide ranging portfolio globally but specialising in hotel/resorts, urban regeneration, golf and leisure, commercial and retail.
Formerly Global Leader of Leisure and Culture at Aecom and a Partner at Derek Lovejoy Partnership in London, Kevin was responsible for some of the practice’s most notable designs including the seminal Heart of Doha/Msheireb project, Saadiyat Island the Four Seasons Hotel in Istanbul, Goa and Montenegro, Emirates Palace Hotel Abu Dhabi, Ritz Carlton Dubai, Hotel Monasterie Santa Rosa Amalfi Italy Hyatt Mallorca and Thessaloniki and Disneyland Paris.
He drives HKS’s dynamic and creative approach, championing innovations and cutting-edge solutions to create enduring designs that offer measurable real estate returns.
Kevin Underwood is also an accomplished sculptor and artist working in pencil, watercolours and collage.

In conversation with

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Saad A Al-Qahtani
Accommodation Sector Manager - Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities

Saad A Al-Qahtani

Accommodation Sector Manager - Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities

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• Director of Sales for Intel Continental Hotel.(1990 To 1996).Abha
• General Manager Intercontinental hotel.(1996 To 1998).Abha
• Manger of Saudi expiation in world Disney world. (1998 To 2000) Orlando USA
• Project manager for accommodation sector in Saudi Commission of Tourism and National Heritage H (2001 To 2007)
• Tourist Accommodation Manager. (2007 To Now) Saudi Commission of Tourism and National Heritage

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Klaus Assmann
VP - Hospitality and Retail - Dubai Parks and Resorts

Klaus Assmann

VP - Hospitality and Retail - Dubai Parks and Resorts

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Klaus Assmann, a German national who holds a bachelor’s degree in Hotel Management brings more than 27 years of experience in the hospitality industry. Started his career with Nikko hotels in London, worked in New York, San Francisco, Hamburg, Manila and Phuket with brands such as Hyatt and Shangri La. Moving to the Middle East, he spent 10 years with the Jumeirah Group and was part of the opening teams of Madinat Jumeirah, Meydan and Jumeirah Creekside Hotel in Dubai and later on joined the Accor Group to open Sofitel Dubai Downtown which is the companies regional five star-luxury flagship Hotel. Dubai Parks and Resorts marks his 8th opening and the 5th in Dubai, for which he would be responsible for the company’s entire hospitality portfolio, retail, events along with food & beverage in the common areas . Klaus Assmann is a people oriented person who is inspired by people and a strong believer that the dominant theme in the hospitality industry is the human element as it is equally important when dealing with both guests and the team that will make the business successful

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Salim Bitar
Chief Executive Officer - Rani Investment

Salim Bitar

Chief Executive Officer - Rani Investment

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Salim Bitar, CEO of Rani Investment, leads the Hospitality and Real Estate practice at Aujan Group Holding.  The Group owns properties in the Middle East and Africa under the Radisson Blu, Oberoi, Anantara and Avani brands. Since 2011 he has led the transformation of the Group’s hospitality business to emphasize investments in business tourism in addition to forming strategic partnerships resulting in equity participation, rebranding and expansion.  Most recently, Bitar concluded the development of a mixed-use project in Maputo, Mozambique, as part of a joint venture where Minor International acquired a 49% share.

Prior to joining the Aujan Group in 2011, Bitar spent 21 years in the Telecom Sector working for Motorola where he held senior finance and operational roles in the United States, Asia, and the Middle East & Africa.  After leaving Motorola, he joined Dubai Holding where he held senior roles leading the F&B business, and later the restructuring and development of a $2 Billion residential district in Dubai.

Having developed a passion for conservation and responsible tourism since moving to the region, Bitar is committed to highlight the Group’s two-decade' efforts in this area, and to intensify the business’s focus on sustainable development and preservation of the environment.

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Vikram Loomba
Director, Real Estate and Hospitality Advisory Services - PwC

Vikram Loomba

Director, Real Estate and Hospitality Advisory Services - PwC

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Vikram is a director in the Real Estate, Hospitality, and Leisure Advisory Services division of PwC Middle East. He received a Master of Management degree in Hospitality Management with specialization in Real Estate Development and Finance from Cornell University, New York. His operational and advisory experience in real estate and hospitality spans over 23 years across several countries in Asia, Middle East, Eastern Europe, Africa, and North America. Prior to joining PwC, Vikram worked for Ernst & Young, and Oberoi Hotels and Resorts in various management positions.

16:30 - 17:00
Breakout
 
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Hotel Room Investments: The Alternative Model

Several developers in the Middle East have funded the development of luxury hotel projects with innovative room investment models or other part-investment incentives. Find out how this approach can get your project off the ground and what the return is for investors

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Selim El Zein
AVP – Hospitality - DEYAAR

Selim El Zein

AVP – Hospitality - DEYAAR

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Selim specializes in hotel development & asset management for standalone, mixed use and portfolio level hotel projects, and is a specialist in hotel management agreements, hotel operator search & selection, and market financial studies.
Selim’s extensive knowledge of hotel operations allows him to enhance hotel profitability and drive asset value by carrying out strategic operational and financial reviews. . Currently he is responsible for overseeing the hospitality function at Deyaar PJSC for their pipeline of upcoming hotels.
Selim has worked in the tourism and  hotel industry for the past 23 years at an international level. The early part of his career has included experience in tour and hotel operations, finance, F&B and Human Resources.
Having worked for leading organizations in hotel asset development, management, hotel operators, and developers, Selim is an all rounded hotel real estate professional.

In conversation with

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Abdulla Bin Sulayem
Chief Executive Officer - Seven Tides

Abdulla Bin Sulayem

Chief Executive Officer - Seven Tides

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After completing his degree in Business at Middlesex University, Abdulla Bin Sulayem moved on to join one of the world’s largest real estate developers, Nakheel in 2005 as Director of Operations.
After six successful years, Bin Sulayem then joined leading real estate and hospitality developer, Seven Tides, as CEO, with the overall responsibility for the company’s luxury five-star properties which include Anantara The Palm Dubai Residences; Mövenpick Hotel Ibn Battuta Gate; Oceana Residences on Palm Jumeirah, flagship DUKES Hotel in London and the under development DUKES Dubai, which will open in Q4 2016. Seven Tides also owns and operates the popular steak house and grill on the Palm, West 14th.
In 2012, Bin Sulayem was also given the added responsibility as CEO of Asteco, a major regional and international real estate services firm and the largest property services company in the United Arab Emirates.

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Hala Matar Choufany
President, Middle East and Africa - HVS

Hala Matar Choufany

President, Middle East and Africa - HVS

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Hala Matar Choufany is President for HVS Middle East and Africa and Managing Partner of HVS Dubai.
Since joining HVS, she has worked on several mid and large scale mixed use developments and conducted numerous valuations, feasibility studies, operator search, contract negotiations, operational assessments, strategy advice, return on investment and market studies in Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia. Hala has in-depth expertise in regional hotel markets and a broad exposure to international markets and maintains excellent contacts with developers, owners, operators, investment institutions and government entities.
Hala is an official Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (MRICS). She also holds an MPhil from Leeds University,U.K., an MBA in Finance and Strategy from IMHI (Essec- Cornell) University, Paris, France and a BA in Hospitality Management from Notre Dame University, Lebanon. Hala is fluent in English, French and Arabic.

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Patrick Smith
Senior Vice President – Asset Management - IFA Hotels & Resorts

Patrick Smith

Senior Vice President – Asset Management - IFA Hotels & Resorts

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With more than 20 years of industry experience, Patrick is a pivotal founding member of the company, joining IFA Hotels & Resorts in 2004 supporting the company’s international expansion, before heading the Middle East Development team, and then subsequently joining IFA Hotel Investments in 2010.


Since moving across to IFAHI, Patrick set up IFA Residential Services which has since been restructured into six business divisions, with Patrick leading the operational and strategic direction thereof with the Company’s CEO.


Prior to joining IFA, Patrick was Schooled via The Savoy Group's Management Training Programme in London with five additional years hotel consulting with PKF and HVS International

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Jeff Tisdall
Vice President, Residential Development, International - AccorHotels

Jeff Tisdall

Vice President, Residential Development, International - AccorHotels

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Jeff Tisdall is the Vice President, Residential Development, International for AccorHotels. AccorHotels is a global leader in branded residences, and has developed a comprehensive suite of whole ownership, private residence club and extended stay solutions to meet the needs of its investment partners and customers.

Working with partners across EMEAI and Asia Pacific, Tisdall oversees the development of a growing portfolio of branded residences. Prior to joining AccorHotels (via FRHI Hotels and Resorts), Tisdall was the Managing Director of Singapore-based LIFT, a consulting company he co-founded to address the needs of luxury residential developers and leading hospitality companies. Through LIFT, he served as branded residential advisor to FRHI Hotels and Resorts and the Jumeirah Group.

Previously, Tisdall worked with Wyndham Worldwide in Dubai, holding the position of Managing Director with responsibility for the company’s RCI and Registry Collection brands in the Middle East and North Africa region. He was also Vice President of Real Estate at Kingdom Hotel Investments, where he managed the company’s residential and commercial real estate portfolio. Earlier in his career, Tisdall spent 13 years with Intrawest, leaving as a Senior Vice President at the company’s premium vacation ownership division.

Tisdall holds a degree from McGill University in Canada and lives in Singapore with his family..

17:00 - 17:30
Breakout
 
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White Label Operators

Appointing a third party management company can give owners the security they need over their investment and brands a route to growth in an unfamiliar territory. Understand the initial outlay, the legal constructs, and how to make it work for you. It’s time for hotel management to become ‘asset-centric’.

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Damien Rizzi
Asset Manager (MENA Region) - Colliers International

Damien Rizzi

Asset Manager (MENA Region) - Colliers International

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In Colliers, Damien is working primarily with four and five star hotels, currently looking after a portfolio of over 20 hotels in UAE, Algeria, Qatar, Jordan, Soudan and Saudi Arabia. He has worked in the hotel industry for the past 16 years, starting his career in operational roles with Starwood and Marriott in Europe. He moved to Dubai as hospitality consultant with an edge in F&B. As project manager, he helped investors and owners in concept development, F&B operational audit, due diligence and project management. He then worked for Meraas in F&B projects, helping them to create their F&B portfolio and bringing brands from Turkey and UK to Dubai.He has worked in the hotel industry for the past 16 years, starting his career in operational roles with Starwood and Marriott in Europe.

In conversation with

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Muhammad Al-Amir
Founder and Managing Director - Riyada International Hotel and Resorts Company Ltd.:

Muhammad Al-Amir

Founder and Managing Director - Riyada International Hotel and Resorts Company Ltd.:

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Muhammad Al-Amir is the Founder and Managing Director of Riyada International Hotel and Resorts Company Ltd.: the exclusive master developer and operator of the Wyndham Hotel Group’s two prominent brands: Ramada and Days Inn in Saudi Arabia. He has previously held several executive roles in several distinguished organizations such as Saudi Aramco, Accor Group, SEDCO, and Elaf Hotels.

He is currently the vice chairman of the Board at the  Saudi Hotels Association , a member of  of Real Estate Committee of Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industries, and member of the Saudi Korean Business Council at  the  Council of Saudi Chambers.

A holder of Master of Science in Project Management and a Bachelor of Architecture with Honors from KFUPM, Dhahran, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; Certification in Strategic Hospitality Management from Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA; and an Alumni of the Entrepreneurs Development Executive Training, University of California at San Diego, California, USA.

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Bani Haddad
Managing Director Middle East & Turkey, Dream Hotel Group - Founder & Managing Director, Aleph Hospitality

Bani Haddad

Managing Director Middle East & Turkey, Dream Hotel Group - Founder & Managing Director, Aleph Hospitality

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A visionary leader, decorated speaker and widely respected hospitality industry veteran, Bani Haddad has first-hand experience of virtually every aspect of hotel management. From site selection, fundraising and construction at Hospitality Management Services, to pre and post-opening operations with Starwood and Disneyland Resort Paris, to strategic growth and development as Regional Vice President Middle East & Africa, Wyndham Hotel Group, Haddad has over 20 years’ experience in launching, developing and successfully managing international hotel brands. During his career, Haddad has orchestrated brand launches in countries including Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain and has received an MBA from IMHI, a joint programme established by Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and ESSEC.

Via his pioneering third-party management company, Aleph Hospitality, Haddad has gained extensive experience in developing and managing hotels in Africa.  He is also the Managing Director Middle East and Turkey for Dream Hotel Group.  Dream Hotel Group is a hotel brand and management company with a rich, 30-year history of managing luxury and lifestyle properties in some of the world's most highly competitive hotel environments.

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Panos Loupasis
Vice President Development – Middle East & Africa - Wyndham Hotel Group

Panos Loupasis

Vice President Development – Middle East & Africa - Wyndham Hotel Group

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Panos, a Greek national holds a BSc in Economics from the Aristotelian University in Greece and an MBA in International Hospitality Management from IMHI, a program established by Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration.

Panos, started his career in the hospitality industry on an operational level in properties in Europe, the United States and the Middle East.

He moved to the Middle East in 2003 as Revenue Manager for the Novotel and Ibis World Trade Centre in Dubai before moving into the field of business development with Holiday Inn Express where his contribution was instrumental for the introduction of the brand in the GCC.

In 2007 Panos joined The Rezidor Hotel Group as Regional Director of Business Development where he drove growth for Rezidor through the execution of management contracts. His most recent position was with Taameer Real Estate Investment Co where Panos undertook various tasks ranging from business development, to equity raising, asset- and project management.

Since 2011 Panos is with the Wyndham Hotel Group. His role is to drive growth in the Middle East and Africa by focusing on new markets and the introduction of new brands under both management and franchise contracts.

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Rana Mukherji
General Manager - Bespoke Hotels Limited

Rana Mukherji

General Manager - Bespoke Hotels Limited

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With over 15 years of experience in hospitality management and executive decision making, Rana brings proficiency and service expertise to his position as General Manager of Bespoke Hotels, Middle East & Africa. The role is to oversee expansion of what has become one of the industry’s most dynamic brands in recent years.
Rana brings the excellence and disciplines inherited from over a decade of management experience within the Fairmont Hotels & Resorts group coupled with the entrepreneurial drive required for IFA Real Estate Services’ ambitious growth agenda.


Bespoke Hotels MEA not only oversees hotel property operations for the brand regionally, but also has tenancy management and Holiday Home licensed management within the company’s range of services. Rapidly expanding within the UAE, recently Bespoke MEO has added North African properties to the company’s burgeoning portfolio.


Within the last few months, Rana has also incorporated and launched Bespoke’s Property Management service which entails incorporating international hospitality standards of services to property management ensuring real estate owners in the UAE can have the first truly international class property management in the region which engenders service throughout its offer.

Breakout
 
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Stream 2 - The Conversation Den - Focus on the GCC

Room: Murjan

Intimate, interactive conversation-based sessions.

Hosted by

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Richard Thompson
Editorial Director - MEED

Richard Thompson

Editorial Director - MEED

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Richard Thompson is the Editorial Director of MEED. He is responsible for the content of MEED Magazine, MEED.com, MEED Projects, MEED Insights and AMEInfo.com. A keen student of Middle East political and economic affairs, Richard regularly writes and contributes articles to the wider media, including Financial Times and the BBC. He is also a regular speaker on Middle East economy. Richard joined MEED as Managing Editor in February 2003. During his time at MEED, he has covered many areas of the Middle East economy including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon. He was named MEED editor in April 2007 and become Editorial Director in February 2010.  He has a Masters degree in International Relations, and a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering with Management Law. Prior to becoming a journalist he worked in the UK construction industry for Atkins and for Laing O’Rourke.

15:30 - 16:00
Breakout
 
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Upscale is The New Luxury

The growing budget conscious middle class is moving away from traditional luxury and driving demand for trendy, quality, upscale hotel products. Are operators offering what owners need to capitalise on this shift in the market?

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Vikram Loomba
Director, Real Estate and Hospitality Advisory Services - PwC

Vikram Loomba

Director, Real Estate and Hospitality Advisory Services - PwC

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Vikram is a director in the Real Estate, Hospitality, and Leisure Advisory Services division of PwC Middle East. He received a Master of Management degree in Hospitality Management with specialization in Real Estate Development and Finance from Cornell University, New York. His operational and advisory experience in real estate and hospitality spans over 23 years across several countries in Asia, Middle East, Eastern Europe, Africa, and North America. Prior to joining PwC, Vikram worked for Ernst & Young, and Oberoi Hotels and Resorts in various management positions.

In conversation with

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Louis Abboud
Director of Development - AccorHotels Middle East

Louis Abboud

Director of Development - AccorHotels Middle East

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Louis Abi Aboud is Director of Development at AccorHotels Middle East, a role he has held since November 2014. Louis has diverse experience within the hospitality industry, having served on the property owner side as well as the hotel operator side.

He began his career in hotel operations with Starwood Hotel and Resorts in the United Sates, at the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort in California. He held management positions in hotel operations for a couple of years, before joining the Saudi Bin Ladin Group in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, as part of their Asset Management team overseeing a 3000-keys portfolio of hotels in Makkah.

Louis later moved to the United Arab Emirates, joining international consultancy firm HVS in Dubai, where he was in charge of valuation, feasibility, management contracts, and other strategic assignments throughout the Middle East. He then moved to Asset Management & Business Planning at Majid Al Futtaim Properties, to work part of the team overseeing eleven internationally branded properties in Dubai, UAE, and Manama, Bahrain, in addition to several new hotel developments across the Middle East and North Africa region.

Louis graduated from Sagesse University’s Faculty of Hospitality Management with an academic certification of École hôtelière de Lausanne with a Bachelors of Science in Hospitality Management. He also holds a certification in Real Estate Investment and Asset Management from Cornell University.

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Mariano Faz
Head of Asset Management - TFG Asset Management

Mariano Faz

Head of Asset Management - TFG Asset Management

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Mariano Faz is Head of TFG Asset Management in Dubai. www.tfgassetmanagement.com. He is responsible for the asset management of the company’s Hospitality and Real Estate portfolio which comprises over 3,000 units in the UAE and an additional 3,000 hotel units under development. During his tenure, Mariano has guided the strategic planning efforts to achieve investment objectives on behalf of owners. He provides leadership to the asset management team and ensures that the hotels are managed to the best of their capacity.


Mariano is an active HAMA (Hotel Asset Management Association) member and also is part of the HSMAI (Hotels Sales & Marketing Association International) Advisory Board. Mariano brings over sixteen years of expertise within the hospitality sector, where he has held a number of management, finance and operational roles. He has successfully negotiated multiple hotel management contracts, coordinated pre-openings and possesses in-depth knowledge of hotel industry trends.
Before joining TFG Asset Management, Mariano served as the SVP of JLL Hotels in Dubai where he focused on investment and advisory. Prior to that, he worked for Ilunion hotels as a Chief Operating Officer for three years and Barcelo hotels in Europe where he successfully managed to expand the brand through management contracts and lease contracts.


Mariano is a Spanish national and holds a Bachelor degree in Business Administration from the University International of Catalonia, Spain and a Master in Finance from EADA, Barcelona. Mariano is a regular speaker at prominent Hospitality Conferences in the Middle East. He also collaborates in multiple hotel sector publications related to Hotel Asset Management topics.

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Ramsay Rankoussi
Senior Director Business Development, Middle East & Africa - The Rezidor Hotel Group

Ramsay Rankoussi

Senior Director Business Development, Middle East & Africa - The Rezidor Hotel Group

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Ramsay Rankoussi, a Belgian national, joined the Rezidor Hotel Group in Dubai in June 2014 as Manager of Business Development before being promoted twice to his most recent role as Senior Director.

He was previously with Millennium Hotels & Resorts where he first joined them as a feasibility analyst for their Middle East office. He quickly moved into the role of Associate Director of Development & Asset Management, where he led all development related activities for the company in the region. During his tenure with the hotel group Ramsay successfully positioned the company in the top 5 hotel pipeline in the Middle East with over 25 hotels and 8,000 rooms secured with multiple new market entries.

Ramsay is now co-heading the business development activities in the Middle East for the Rezidor Hotel Group as part of a common objective to double the hotel portfolio within the next three years across each of the brands: Radisson Blu, Park Inn by Radisson, Radisson Red and the Quorvus Collection.

A hotel development and investment professional, Ramsay is committed to value creation through strategic growth, financial expertise and appropriate due diligence on each project that he embarks on. He personally enjoys management contract negotiation and execution while remaining proactive in the sourcing and maintaining of new and existing relationships with local and international partners.
Ramsay holds a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration and a MBA majoring in Hotel Real Estate Finance and Asset Management from the ESSEC Business School (IMHI) in Paris.

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David Vely
Vice President Regional Development & Asset Middle East, Africa and India - Club Med

David Vely

Vice President Regional Development & Asset Middle East, Africa and India - Club Med

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David brings 19 years track record in the hospitality industry with an extensive experience in strategy, asset management and development.


Since 2016, David serves as Vice President Regional Development & Asset in charge of the Middle East, Africa and India for Club Med.


Before joining Club Med, David held the position of Senior Vice President Development Middle East, Africa, India and Turkey for Premier Inn, the hospitality division of Whitbread PLC. Prior to this, he held senior development roles in the Middle East and Africa for MGM Resorts International, Majid Al Futtaim and Accor.


He had previously held the role of Director of Mergers and Acquisitions for Accor based in Europe.


David has a Masters in Business Administration from the J. L. Kellogg School of Management - Northwestern University, USA. He is also a graduate with a degree in Engineering from ESIEA Paris, France.

16:00 - 16:30
Breakout
 
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Concepts for the GCC

Intra-regional travel forms the core guest base for many Middle Eastern markets. Which products will encourage GCC travellers to stay longer and spend more within your property?

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Devina Divecha
Group Editor, Hospitality Group - ITP Media Group

Devina Divecha

Group Editor, Hospitality Group - ITP Media Group

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Devina Divecha is the group editor of ITP Business’ Hospitality Group and editor of Hotelier Middle East. The Hospitality Group includes: Hotelier Middle East, a B2B magazine for the Middle East hotelier industry; Caterer Middle East, a trade publication for the F&B industry in the Middle East; Hotelier Qatar, a quarterly trade magazine focused on the Qatari hospitality market; and, Hotelier Express, the essential guide for the region’s mid-market and budget hotels. Prior to her current role, Divecha was the editor of Caterer Middle East, and has written for a number of other magazines under ITP Media Group since April 2011, covering sectors such as interior design, architecture and facilities management.
Previously a respected food blogger in Dubai, where she has lived since 1989, Divecha retains a significant online following and is also routinely ranked among the top 100 non-resident Indians on social media. She holds a BSc in Business from the London School of Economics and an MA in Magazine Journalism from the University of Sheffield.

In conversation with

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Mohamed Awadalla.
Chief Executive Officer - TIME Hotels Management L.L.C.

Mohamed Awadalla.

Chief Executive Officer - TIME Hotels Management L.L.C.

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An international hotelier with over 28 years experience, Mohamed Awadalla has worked with some of the leading global hospitality companies including Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, Hilton International, Rotana Hotels and now TIME Hotels Management L.L.C.

After completing his studies at the German Academic Institute for Hotel Management in 1985, Awadalla began his career with the well-known Swiss hotel group, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, in the Egyptian city of Luxor.  He then joined Hilton International in Luxor and was subsequently tasked with running the travel trade division out of the Area Sales Office in Cairo, with the responsibility of 12 properties.

In 1996 Awadalla relocated to the UAE, and returned to operations, joining the Hilton Corniche Residence team in Abu Dhabi as Rooms Division Manager. Recognising the Emirates’ burgeoning potential in the hospitality sector in 2000 he was appointed Director of Business Development for the Al Ain Hilton Hotel, where he spent two years driving the brand’s business strategies.

Following his successful tenure with Hilton International, Awadalla was headhunted by UAE-headquartered Rotana Hotels and joined the Al Maha Rotana, Abu Dhabi, as General Manager in 2004. His reputation for operational excellence then saw him take on the role as opening General Manager for the new five-star Al Manshar Rotana in Kuwait City, where he quickly established brand presence, setting new standards of hospitality within the local market.

Awadalla joined TIME Hotels Management in 2007 as the Area Vice President. In 2012 he was promoted to the position of CEO with overall responsibility for the company’s seven hotels and hotel apartments and a remit to spearhead the future development and drive the commercial success of TIME’s rapidly expanding portfolio of Middle East and Northern Africa based properties.

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Jerad Bachar
Executive Director – Tourism Sector - Bahrain Economic Development Board

Jerad Bachar

Executive Director – Tourism Sector - Bahrain Economic Development Board

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Jerad has over 12 years of destination marketing experience and 13 years of hotel and convention centre experience, and has worked in an array of countries and business environments. He has worked in both developed and emerging markets to enhance the areas of tourism including investment, marketing, sales, legislation and governance, stakeholder relations, and international networks.

Jerad started his career in tourism agencies at VisitPittsburgh in 2004. He joined the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing as a divisional director in 2008.

In 2013, Jerad launched Nasaafir where he worked as a strategic consultant for clients such as the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities and the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Cultural Authority.

He is currently leading the tourism and leisure investment team at the Bahrain Economic Development Board, to drive further growth to the sector and attract investments to the Kingdom.

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Chris Nader
Vice President – Development - Shaza & Kempinski Hotels

Chris Nader

Vice President – Development - Shaza & Kempinski Hotels

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Chris has started his career in hospitality with Shaza Hotels, a luxury hotel brand partly owned by Kempinski. He has seen the birth of the company and was involved in setting up the brand’s identity and positioning, creating signature products and concepts, and assisting in the various phases of a hotel project’s cycle. He then naturally developed into a key player of the company’s growth strategy, boosting its development activities across the globe. In 2014, Chris took also the development role at Kempinski for Middle-East and Africa, and is based out of the regional office in Dubai.

Prior to joining Shaza, Chris held several positions in food and beverage where he assisted in the creation of some of the trendiest resorts and restaurant concepts in Lebanon.  He holds a Master in Hotel Administration from the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne in Switzerland, and a Bachelor in Business Administration from the American University of Beirut.

16:30 - 17:00
Breakout
 
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RAK in the Spotlight - Capitalising on the Upward Curve in Ras Al Khaimah

RAK is bucking the trends currently, with positive growth in all metrics. Where should investors focus to ensure this trend continues?

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Richard Thompson
Editorial Director - MEED

Richard Thompson

Editorial Director - MEED

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Richard Thompson is the Editorial Director of MEED. He is responsible for the content of MEED Magazine, MEED.com, MEED Projects, MEED Insights and AMEInfo.com. A keen student of Middle East political and economic affairs, Richard regularly writes and contributes articles to the wider media, including Financial Times and the BBC. He is also a regular speaker on Middle East economy. Richard joined MEED as Managing Editor in February 2003. During his time at MEED, he has covered many areas of the Middle East economy including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon. He was named MEED editor in April 2007 and become Editorial Director in February 2010.  He has a Masters degree in International Relations, and a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering with Management Law. Prior to becoming a journalist he worked in the UK construction industry for Atkins and for Laing O’Rourke.

In conversation with

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Benjamin Oppl
Development Director Middle East and North Africa - Melia Hotels International

Benjamin Oppl

Development Director Middle East and North Africa - Melia Hotels International

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Benjamin is a hospitality, tourism and real estate investment and development professional with extensive experience in the MENA region, including tenures at the international consulting firm PKF and the travel division of the Emirates Group.

Benjamin's initial start to a hotel operations career was the completion of a three-year dual apprenticeship in hotel management with Hilton in Dusseldorf, Germany. Over the years he has taken responsibility in several sectors of the hospitality and tourism industries working for Novotel and Holiday Inn in Australia and the United States respectively, as well as with the up-market tour operator Airtours (part of TUI) in Germany and a leading destination management company (DMC) in Thailand. Since 2016, Benjamin is responsible for the development strategy of Meliá Hotels International in Middle East and North Africa.

Benjamin holds a post-graduate degree in Tourism Management from the International University of Applied Sciences in Bad Honnef / Bonn, Germany and a Hotel Real Estate Investments and Asset Management certificate from Cornell University in Ithaca / New York, USA.

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Zain Qureshi
Managing Director; Real Estate, Investment and Agency Services - Mashreq Bank

Zain Qureshi

Managing Director; Real Estate, Investment and Agency Services - Mashreq Bank

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Zain Qureshi is a Managing Director in the Corporate & Investment Banking Group at Mashreq and heads Real Estate Finance & Advisory, an industry group with dedicated coverage, structuring and advisory teams. He established the bank’s real estate practice in 2006, which has since grown aggressively to encompass debt products, a market-leading trust management business, buy- and sell-side advisory activities, strategic advice, restructuring and capital raising.

Over the past decade, Zain has consolidated Mashreq’s presence in the regional real estate space and successfully originated and executed significant deal flow with mid-market and large-cap regional family conglomerates, private / public corporates, sovereign and government-related institutions. During his time as Head of Real Estate, Mashreq became the first bank to be mandated by the Real Estate Regulatory Agency to manage trust accounts, and was also one of the first banks in the UAE to provide non-recourse financing to an offshore, privately-held SPV for a greenfield development. In 2014-2015, transactions that the Real Estate division executed with blue-chip clients helped Mashreq win prestigious honours, such as the EMEA Finance Award for “Best Regional Investment Bank in the Middle East”.

Zain works with all the major real estate developers in the GCC and has established strategic relationships with regulatory bodies and service providers in the region. In addition, he is spearheading Mashreq’s foray into real estate fund management and structuring a principal DIFC Qualified Investor Fund which will deploy debt and equity capital in Shariah-compliant opportunities across the GCC.

Zain also heads the Investment and Agency Services divisions for Mashreq and manages the Corporate Restructuring Portfolio. Previously, he held senior positions at Deutsche Bank and Bank of America, where he spent considerable time working in Leverage Finance based primarily out of London.

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Philip Wooller
Area Director - Middle East & Africa - STR

Philip Wooller

Area Director - Middle East & Africa - STR

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Philip Wooller is based in Dubai and is responsible for the organisation’s expansion throughout Middle East & Africa.  Philip spent many years in hospitality and his career combines the unique blend of senior positions in hotel operations and management, sales, marketing and revenue management for Britannia Hotels, Thistle Hotels, Intercontinental Hotels and Crown Hotels. Philip joined The Bench in 2006 and transferred to the STR team in 2008.  Philip graduated from Bournemouth University with a degree in Hospitality Management.

17:00 - 17:30
Breakout
 
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Abu Dhabi in the Spotlight

Taking the long view for investors in the UAE Capital, this session will look at the planned product mix, markets from MICE to family tourism, and Abu Dhabi’s new tourism destination brand campaign.

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Richard Thompson
Editorial Director - MEED

Richard Thompson

Editorial Director - MEED

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Richard Thompson is the Editorial Director of MEED. He is responsible for the content of MEED Magazine, MEED.com, MEED Projects, MEED Insights and AMEInfo.com. A keen student of Middle East political and economic affairs, Richard regularly writes and contributes articles to the wider media, including Financial Times and the BBC. He is also a regular speaker on Middle East economy. Richard joined MEED as Managing Editor in February 2003. During his time at MEED, he has covered many areas of the Middle East economy including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon. He was named MEED editor in April 2007 and become Editorial Director in February 2010.  He has a Masters degree in International Relations, and a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering with Management Law. Prior to becoming a journalist he worked in the UK construction industry for Atkins and for Laing O’Rourke.

In conversation with

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Mubarak Al Shamisi
Director - Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau

Mubarak Al Shamisi

Director - Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau

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Mr Al Shamisi is a UAE national who hails from Abu Dhabi’s second city, and its heritage heartland, Al Ain. An experienced professional with strong analytical and management skills, Mr Al Shamisi, who holds a BSc in Business Administration from the University of Colorado Denver, USA, an MA in General Management from the LUISS Guido Carli University of Rome and an MA in Quality Management from the University of Wollongong in Dubai, entered the tourism industry in 2004 in the marketing department of the former Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority.

Since then, Mr Al Shamisi has gained experience across a number of tourism departments including events, overseas offices and served for three years as the Country Manager for the authority’s Gulf Co-operation Council States market based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Mr Al Shamisi, who is married with two children, speaks three languages – Arabic, English and Italian and is also qualified as an internal auditor. In his spare time, Mr Al Shamisi enjoys sport, particularly golf and volleyball, travelling, theatre and reading.

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Khalid Anib
Chief Executive Officer - Abu Dhabi National Hotels PJSC

Khalid Anib

Chief Executive Officer - Abu Dhabi National Hotels PJSC

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With more than 25 years in the hospitality industry, Khalid had the opportunity to manage various hotels under well-reputed international hotel chains in different countries.

Khalid has had exposure to different business models, resorts, city hotels and mix used development.

Before joining Abu Dhabi National Hotels, Khalid spent 5 years in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He was the Managing Director of Al Hokair Group, where he played a key role in the group’s successful IPO.

Prior  to that,  Khalid worked as General Manager for Accor & Banyan Tree.

Khalid a 51 yr old Finnish citizen of Moroccan origin, holds a Masters in Business Administration from the Strathclyde University, United Kingdom.

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Oliver Ebner
Executive Director at Project & Specialised Finance - National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD)

Oliver Ebner

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

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Oliver Ebner has 20 years of work experience in arranging and advising on transactions in Project Finance and Asset Finance for transactions in Middle East, Europe, US and Asia. In his current position at NBAD he leads the arrangement of large scale project as well as structured corporate financings for local and international projects and sponsors which includes the support for core clients in the bank’s strategic focus on the West-East Corridor. Prior to NBAD he spent most of his time with WestLB and SEB in London on a wide range of limited recourse transactions, with a particular focus on the leisure sector. His Project Finance experience includes transactions in real estate, transportation, energy, oil & gas, telecom, infrastructure and other sectors. He started his career with Merger & Acquisitions before moving to the Project Finance arena.
Oliver is a German national with a degree in Business Administration & Economics from Augsburg University. He now lives in Abu Dhabi with his wife and daughter.

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Stream 3 - The Research Den

Room: Joharah 2

Hosted by

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Jonathan Worsley
Chairman & Founder, Bench Events - Board Director, STR

Jonathan Worsley

Chairman & Founder, Bench Events - Board Director, STR

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Jonathan Worsley, Chairman of Bench Events, is one of the founders and organisers of multiple leading international conferences for the hotel investment industry, including the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference in Dubai, now in its 13th year, The Summit in London, the Asia Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference and the Africa Hotel Investment Forum. 

More recently, Jonathan and his team have entered the Latin America market partnering with SAHIC in Cuba and Buenos Aires and the inaugural Iran Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference in 2017.

Bench Events has also branched out into the related fields of aviation and F&B, with the respective launches of AviaDev Africa, inaugurated in 2016, and The Global Restaurant Investment Forum now in its fourth year.

In 1997, Jonathan was one of the founding members of the annual International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF) in Berlin, a conference he subsequently organised for 19 years, which today attracts over 2,000 delegates. Earlier in his career, Jonathan worked for real estate consultants CBRE & Hotel Partners, hotel advisors PKF and hotel operator Forte & Holiday Inns.

Jonathan sits as a shareholder and board director of STR, a global benchmarking company with over 50,000 participating hotels following the merger of The Bench, STR and Deloitte’s Hotel Benchmark. He sits on the board of Hotel Swaps, which allows participating members to swap empty hotel rooms with other members around the globe and is an investor in TripTease, the tech start-up that enables hotels to increase direct sales and aims to defeat rate disparity.

Jonathan and his colleagues are actively involved raising money for the communities in which Bench Events works. They raised more than £200,000 for TUSK, Cancer Research and the Rwanda Cricket Stadium Foundation by participating in the Kili Madness challenge and breaking the World Record for the highest game of cricket ever played on top of Kilimanjaro. In 2016, Jonathan cycled from Amsterdam to Berlin with nine others for the opening of IHIF and raised funds for the Anne Frank Trust and Future Talent, a feat he will tackle again in 2017. 
Jonathan is a Trustee of Future Talent, a charity that provides financial support to gifted young musicians in need of financial assistance to pursue their dreams and talent.

15:30 - 16:00
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PwC – Diving into the five Global Megatrends and how they relate to Middle East Hospitality

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Dr. Martin Berlin
Partner, Deals Strategy ME, Global Deals Real Estate Leader - PwC

Dr. Martin Berlin

Partner, Deals Strategy ME, Global Deals Real Estate Leader - PwC

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Martin is a partner within the PwC Deals Strategy team in the Middle East based in Dubai. 


He  leads the Real Estate & Construction Practice in the Middle East and also serves as the Global Deals Real Estate Leader. Recently, he has worked on projects advising Construction Contractors and Architectural & Engineering companies in their corporate strategy development, assisting property development companies in feasibility and market entry studies and supporting other real estate companies in operational projects like customer reviews or growth projects. Martin is also actively involved in the Global Deal Origination initiative that has the objective to present customised deal opportunities to a targeted list of global investors (e.g. SWFs, Pension Funds and PE). He has also worked on several feasibility studies for Leisure, Entertainment & Hospitality development projects in the Middle East.


Martin brings over 12 years of experience working in senior strategy and operational positions at real estate development companies in the Middle East. While his core functional expertise is in strategy, he also gained significant experience in business development, deal making, marketing and operations. With his experience in McKinsey & Company, he combines a consulting advisor perspective with a operational expertise that he acquired working for Procter & Gamble and Dubai Holding.


Before joining PwC, Martin was the Chief Strategy Officer of Dubai Properties Group where he was responsible for the turn around and restructuring  of Dubai Holding’s property development and management business, optimizing revenue opportunities for the developer while streamlining OPEX.  Martin has is also experience in the Healthcare and Leisure & Entertainment sectors. He has served as the VP of Strategy & Business Development at Dubailand Parks & Resorts (BU of Dubai Holding) where he led IP licensing negotiations with Universal Studios, Six Flags, Marvel, and Dreamworks. His healthcare experience is focused on the pharmaceutical and specialty chemicals industry and the development of Dubai Healthcare City, a large development focusing on the delivery of the entire healthcare value chain.


Before his positions with Dubai Holding he was with McKinsey & Company for 6 years and with Procter & Gamble for 3 years.

16:00 - 16:15
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Thematic Content Programming for Destinations

Discover the importance of activating a destination with community engagement, as opposed to just designing it.

John Deykin
Advisor to CEO, - IWG (Insignia Worldwide Group)

John Deykin

Advisor to CEO, - IWG (Insignia Worldwide Group)

16:15 - 16:30
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The AHIC BLP Market Sentiment Survey Review

Looking at 2016 vs 2017 - where are the shifts in market mood? What predictions were spot on and where was market sentiment off? What is the sentiment moving forward?

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Scott Antel
Hospitality and Leisure Partner - Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP

Scott Antel

Hospitality and Leisure Partner - Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP

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Scott Antel is an internationally regarded emerging markets hotels & hospitality lawyer.  He has more than 20 years’ experience advising both owners/developers and international operators in the Middle East, Russia/CIS, Turkey, the Baltics and Asia on hotel, branded residence and mixed use developments.
A senior partner in BLP's Abu Dhabi and Dubai offices, Scott recently joined BLP to lead the firm's "tier one" global Hospitality Practice in the Middle East as well as focus on developing the Russian, African and Asia Pacific practices.
Scott regularly advises clients on all aspects of hotel, branded residence and mixed use development and operational matters, including litigation.  He has acted on hundreds of hotel projects, including numerous landmark projects with major international hotel brands.  He most recently advised on several luxury hotel and branded residence projects on Dubai’s iconic Palm Jumeirah.  He also works in the franchise sector advising hotels, restaurants and retail clients. 
Scott is recognised as a “leading advisor” and “go to hospitality lawyer” by Chambers Europe and Legal 500 law directories.  He serves on the advisory board of the Russian and Arabian Hotel Investment Forums and is a regular speaker at events, as well the Berlin IHIF and is regularly published and quoted on hospitality related topics.
Scott was recipient of the Russia/CIS Hotel Investment Forum's 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the industry in emerging markets, the only lawyer to ever receive this prestigious award.

16:30 - 16:45
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The Big Waste Wake-Up Call

AHIC reveals in real numbers how much energy hotels waste - and what this costs owners financially. Will these numbers persuade owners of the virtues of a sustainable business?

A presentation by

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Sandrine Le Biavant
Director of Consultancy - Farnek

Sandrine Le Biavant

Director of Consultancy - Farnek

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Sandrine Le Biavant is the Director of Consultancy for Farnek, a leading Dubai-based facilities management company managing large scale iconic projects in the UAE with more than 4,000 employees.
Her division covers the Middle East & Africa region, targets sustainability strategies for large facilities owners and property managers but also hotel brands to empower them in creating or enhancing their sustainability journey, using short term and long term innovative methodologies and solutions that also support guest experience, operational/managerial performance and profits.

Sandrine is a Lead Auditor for Energy Management Systems (ISO 50001), Green Globe Consultant (the premier worldwide sustainability certification for hospitality) in ME&A, an expert in carbon management strategies with myclimate Climate Protection Foundation and a regular speaker on sustainability topics in the UAE.

Advising more than 100 hotels, hotel chains, owning companies, tourist boards and large facilities landlords including prestigious properties Burj Khalifa, the Dubai Mall and City Walk, Sandrine and her team have a wealth of accredited expertise and solutions in energy, water and waste reduction and can provide turn key solutions from awareness to implementation and investment.

An hotelier and FM consultant with over 20 years’ experience, Sandrine has held a number of high-profile sales and marketing roles in the international hotel chains in France and UAE as well as implementing revenue enhancement programs for a consulting firm.

16:45 - 17:25
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Getting Restaurants Right - How to generate ROI on F&B

What's the best F&B model for hotels - creating restaurants in-house, forming JV's or leasing space in your asset? Find out how developing the right F&B offer can not only help establish your hotel's reputation, but ensure maximum return on your asset.

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Duncan Fraser-Smith
Founder & Managing Director - The Cutting Edge Agency

Duncan Fraser-Smith

Founder & Managing Director - The Cutting Edge Agency

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Having spent the past 7 years in the Middle East region in key food and beverage roles within the hotel industry, Duncan has a wealth of experience in this region.

Duncan spent 3 years in Doha, Qatar, developing the hospitality operations for Qatar Sports City and the Cultural Village.  Most recently his role as Group Director of Design, Food and Beverage for Middle East, Africa and Asia, involved creating and developing over 150 different food and beverage concepts for InterContinental Hotels Group, one of the largest hotel companies in the world, so Duncan is well recognized and respected in the hotel and restaurant industry within the Middle East/GCC region and internationally.

Duncan’s 20 years in the hospitality industry, spanning Asia, Australia and the Middle East, have seen him developing both edgy brand defining concepts and establishing, both stand alone and hotel based outlets from deconstructed bars, cafes and lifestyle outlets through to contemporary steakhouses and high street fine dining .

Duncan has a unique approach to developing hotel food and beverage operations by identifying the mix of offerings falling under the three categories of , Core, Impulse and Destination and to make strategic, long
term decisions on the correct use of each individual space.

In conversation with

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Ramzy Abdul Majeed
Founder & Managing Director - Whissle Hospitality Group

Ramzy Abdul Majeed

Founder & Managing Director - Whissle Hospitality Group

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Ramzy has over 20 years global experience with a strong financial background as a Chartered Accountant from PriceWaterhouseCoopers in London. Subsequently at Société Générale in London in the late 1990s as a Fund Manager, Ramzy managed over US$300m of publicly listed private equity funds with a focus on the Middle East and Eastern European markets.
Prior to settling in Dubai in 2004, Ramzy spent four years as the General Manager of Investments & Risk Management for Xenel Industries, one of the largest conglomerates in Saudi Arabia that also holds significant interests through joint ventures, alliances and direct investments in a variety of sectors globally. He was enticed to move to Dubai to assist with heading up the Strategy team at National Bank of Dubai. Having gained a reputation as the numbers man with an in-demand “Midas” touch, Ramzy, together with partner and longtime friend Markus Thesleff, co-founded Whissle, and together continue to bring a new dimension to the rapidly expanding hospitality scene in Dubai.

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Stefan Breg
Director of F&B Europe, Africa and Middle East - Starwood Legacy Hotels, Marriott International.

Stefan Breg

Director of F&B Europe, Africa and Middle East - Starwood Legacy Hotels, Marriott International.

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Stefan is an F&B strategist, operator, marketer and serial concept creator across hotels, malls and free standing restaurants.  He has gained experience in the restaurant sector in Europe, the US, Middle East, South East Asia, Japan and Australasia.

Stefan is Director of F&B at Starwood for Europe, Africa & Middle East based in Dubai; a division with over 1200 F&B venues and $1 billion + revenue. Over 340 of the venues are in the Middle East.  He leads the Starwood team developing pipeline F&B openings with 150+ new and refurbished venues planned in the next 4 years in the Middle East.

Stefan has over 250 career F&B concepts to his name and brought iconic brands such as
Hakkasan, Pierre Gagnaire and Embassy to the Middle East. His previous positions include 10 years as founder/CEO of TRIBE: one of the most successful F&B strategy houses in the Middle East with extensive work on key malls such as Mall of the Emirates and Yas Mall and developed approximately 40 restaurants trading in the Middle East.

He has also worked with IHG in SE Asia, Hilton (Europe) and E&Y Consulting. He is a regular speaker on industry trends and a Visiting Professor at Emirates Academy.

Stefan was born in London, was educated as a Biochemist and aside from his kids and wife, he is dedicated to a London team that plays in blue.

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Abdul Kader Saadi
Managing Director and Owner - Glee Hospitality Solutions

Abdul Kader Saadi

Managing Director and Owner - Glee Hospitality Solutions

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Abdul Kader Saadi is the Managing Director and Owner of Glee Hospitality Solutions, a hospitality consultancy based in Dubai.

Abdul Kader has been in the hospitality profession for more than two decades. A graduate of Les Roches International School of Hotel Management in Switzerland, Abdul launched his career in Paris, where he joined Sogeres, part of a leading catering group.

That eventually led to a six-year partnership with the company, which started on the operational side of the business and then moved on to the head office to cover the commercial, internal auditing, and purchasing departments. He finally achieved the position of manager of international developments.

In 2001, Abdul moved to the UK and joined MARC Restaurants as a Project Manager. With his expanding expertise in project management, he opened three restaurants within the three years in the company, two of which were granted Michelin star recognition.

From 2005 to 2007, Abdul focused on turning around a restaurant chain with three outlets in London. The year 2008 was the turning point in his career when he moved to the UAE and started his own company in Dubai.

Glee Hospitality Solutions is in its eighth year of operations and has successfully launched over 30 concepts, and opened over 40 outlets across the region. Abdul manages a team of nearly 350 employees, who work together on various restaurant concepts across the GCC, with many new brands in the pipeline.

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Greg Perry
Head of Asset Management - Gemstone Real Estate Development

Greg Perry

Head of Asset Management - Gemstone Real Estate Development

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Greg is the Head of Asset Management for Gemstone Real Estate Development located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Gemstone is developing new multi-billion dollar, mixed-use hospitality and residential assets in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar. Prior to Gemstone, Greg was with IFA Hotel Investments; overseeing 2,000 plus hotel rooms in operation and development generating $180M in annual revenue across the globe. Greg has been instrumental in securing financing for hotel projects and constructing efficient organizational structures for mixed-use real estate developments.

Greg spent four years consulting with HVS in the US and Dubai which provides a background of experience across most commercial asset classes and phases of development with an international outlook. He holds a Master’s degree in International Real Estate from Florida International University in Miami and an undergraduate degree in Education from Florida Atlantic University.

 
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AHIC Pecha Kucha: The Hotel of the Future

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Christian Merieau
Founding Partner - MMAC Design Associates

Christian Merieau

Founding Partner - MMAC Design Associates

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With 30 years of experience in interior design, Mr. Merieau has honed his skills from the foundations of interior craftsmanship rising to the ranks of senior management. After an early education in hotel adminstration, he obtained a degree in Interior Design in 1989 and later qualified as Interior Architect in Geneva, Switzerland. Christian Merieau relocated in Dubai 2005 as Managing Director for well know international design firm. After nearly 20 years with this firm designing projects for international hotel operators such as Hyatt, IHG, Millennium, Rezidor, Rosewood, Marriott, Starwood and Accor, he launched MMAC Design Associates, an award winning boutique Dubai based interior design consultancy agency specialized in mid-scale & luxury hospitality design. Mr. Merieau was listed on several occasion as one of the most influential designer in the Middle East by Commercial Interior Design magazine. He has also helped drive the growth of APID, the Association of Professional Interior Designers since 2009 and currently holds the role of Executive Board member. Mr. Merieau, born in Vevey Switzerland and residing in Dubai, is married with two young daughters

18:00 - 20:00

Networking

 
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AHIC Evening Reception Hosted by Emaar Hospitality Group

Olivier Harnisch, CEO of Emaar Hospitality Group invites you to wrap-up day two of the conference and join your industry peers for the AHIC Evening Reception at “The Restaurant” at Address; Address Boulevard. Be prepared to be wowed!

Buses will be available from 5pm at the Mina Al Salam entrance immediately after the end of the conference for transport to Address Boulevard.