Arabian Hotel Investment Conference

09 – 11 April 2019 | AHIC Village, Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates


Day 1 Day 2 Day 3

Day Two - Wednesday 10th April 2019

At-a-glance →

08:00 - 08:45

Registration and Coffee in the Sponsors’ Showcase

08:30 - 09:00

Welcome remarks

Jonathan Worsley Chairman and Founder, Bench Events

Haitham Mattar  Chief Executive Officer, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority 

09:00 - 09:15

Official opening by conference host and patron

His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah

09:15 - 10:00

The world we live in and a review of global economic prospects and perspectives

Followed by views from the industry around the world; how is the socio-economic environment shaping their plans and impacting their business?


Stephen Sackur Presenter, HARDTalk


Christof H. Rühl ex-Global Head of Research Strategy and Planning Department, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority


Puneet Chhatwal Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer - The Indian Hotels Company Limited

Middle East & Africa

Alex Kyriakidis President and Managing Director - MEA, Marriott International

The Rest of the Globe!

Ian Carter President, Global Development, Architecture, Design & Construction, Hilton

10:00 - 10:30

Searching for sunshine, praying for performance and what about the future?


Nick van Marken Global Advisory Board Member, Bench Events

In conversation with

Robin Rossmann Managing Director, STR

Talal Yousif Director, HVS

10:30 - 11:00

AHIC leadership talk - What is your compass in times of disruption, innovation and global turmoil?


Stephen Sackur Presenter, HARDTalk

In conversation with

Sébastien Bazin Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, AccorHotels

11:00 - 11:30

Morning Refreshments and Networking in Sponsors’ Showcase

11:30 - 11:45

AHIC leadership talk - The Trust Crisis

John Blakey discusses the breakdown in purpose led leadership and the systematic decline around trust.  A workshop on “Leading by Example with the Nine Habits of Trust” will take place in the afternoon.

John Blakey Executive Coach and Founder, The Trusted Executive Foundation

11:45 - 12:30

Synchronised for success?

Three Owners and Three Operators sit down with Stephen Sackur, Presenter, HardTalk to discuss how they are Syncing for Success. Never in the history of the hotel industry have we seen such a rapid build-up of hotel rooms. How does the industry cope and what business models are evolving that will help retain and attract more owners and investors?


Stephen Sackur Presenter, HARDTalk


Olivier Harnisch Chief Executive Officer, Emaar Hospitality Group

Pascal Gauvin Managing Director - IMEA, IHG


12:30 - 12:45

Sustainable investment tourism development for the future

Clients are increasingly conscious of the need for conservation and yet hungry for new, more personalised travel experiences, how can we foster a new, positive relationship between tourism and the environment AND provide a sustainable investment opportunity? 

Jay Rosen Head of Investment & Finance, The Red Sea Development Company

12:45 - 13:15

The Edge of Wildness - Adventure Tourism Luxury Concepts

Looking at the untapped potential of this market.  What are the key things that need to be in place to drive this segment? Where is the potential for investors? What are some success stories to learn from?


Nick van Marken Global Advisory Board Member, Bench Events

In conversation with

Luca Franco Chief Executive Officer & Founder, Luxury Frontiers

Adrian Gardiner Chief Executive Officer, Mantis Collection

James McBride Partner & CEO, NIHI Hotels

13:15 - 13:45

Resorts and Non-Traditional Midmarket Investment Opportunities

Beyond traditional concept hotels what are the emerging opportunities for investors to attract value for money? 

Moderated by:

Christopher Lund Head of Hotels – Middle East & North Africa, Colliers International

In conversation with:

Abdullah Al Abdouli Managing Director, Marjan

María Zarraluqui Global Head of Development, Meliá Hotels International

13:45 - 14:45

Lunch in the AHIC Village & Beach Bar

14:45 - 15:00

Designing Data-Driven Human Experiences


At over two billion individuals, Generation Z is the most populous generational cohort of all time. What makes them unique, what do they want and how is the hospitality industry going to have to adjust to cater to meet their needs once they grow up? 

Gaurav Sinha Founder & CEO, Insignia Worldwide

15:00 - 15:15

Wellness, Eco, Agri and Adventure Tourism for The Avocado Generation


Focusing on fresh modern experiences for the millennial “Avocado Generation”.  What does this untapped opportunity in the GCC offer investors increasingly looking outside of key cities? How can investors, operators and destinations work to diversify and increase the tourism offering?

James Wrenn Senior Manager Hotels (MENA Region), Colliers International

15:15 - 15:30

Creating More Than Hotel Rooms; Looking at Blended Real Estate Solutions for Living


Treating hotels as a real estate asset and making sure you are making best use of space for maximum ROI. Understanding the opportunity and need for mixed use developments for the future which tap into the needs of the millennial mindset.

Marloes Knippenberg Chief Executive Officer, Kerten Hospitality

15:30 - 15:45

Dubai 2020 – What is in Store for the Hotel Industry Based on Previous Mega Events?


Looking at Milan Expo, London Olympics, World Cups and other Mega Events around the world to try and see what patterns can be determined.  What can data tell us about what is on the horizon in the lead up, during and post Expo 2020?s

Sarah Duignan Director of Client Relationships, STR

15:45 - 16:15

Walking the catwalk with the fashion entrepreneurs - where should fashion brands look for growth?



Jennifer Fox Global Advisory Board Member, Bench Events


Valeriano Antonioli Chief Executive Officer, Lungarno Collection

Marc Dardenne Chief Operating Officer, Public Investment Fund – Amaala

Tony Kurz Chief Executive Officer, Director, Brandmark Collective

16:15 - 17:00

A Deep Dive Into Saudi Arabia


Looking at the Holy Cities and understanding the opportunities in the market.

Loay Bougary, President, Bougary Holding

Gerard Byrne Managing Director, Archipelago Overseas

14:45 - 15:15

Valuations in the Middle East


How big is the gap between expectations and reality? Where do the bankers and investors think the market is compared to the consultants?


Hala Matar Choufany President for HVS Middle East, Africa & South Asia and Managing Partner of HVS Dubai


Alain Debare Group Head of Real Estate Portfolios, Equitativa Group

Alejandro Martin Senior Investment Banker, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank

David Spiez Managing Director, Head of Commercial Real Estate, Standard Chartered

15:15 - 15:45

Investor perspective: Alternative structures for finance and sources of funding for hotels; how do you bring in capital to hotel investments?


Augostino Sfeir Chief Investment Officer, United Real Estate Company (URC)

Shuja Zaidi Principal, Equinox Hospitality

15:45 - 16:15

Alternatives to the big boys – Meeting the changing needs of consumers and owners


Is it time for the rise of the smaller brands? As industry consolidation continues to see the large operators grow in size are smaller, regionally focused operators the alternative some owners have been looking for?


Stephen Sackur Presenter, HARDTalk


Mohamed Awadalla Chief Executive Officer, Time Hotels

Abid Butt Chief Executive Officer, AMEA, Dream Hotel Group

Jaidev Menezes Corporate Director, Business Development, Emaar Hospitality Group

Anthony Ross Chief Executive Officer, JA Resorts & Hotels

16:15 - 16:45

The Development Den: Speeding up the development process


How can investors and developers work to save time and money and deliver their projects on time and budget? In what ways can the operator, client, consultant, contractor relationship be leveraged to speed up hotel projects

Ismail Al Kamal Director, AlKamal International

Ossama El Batran Chief Executive Officer, Hadia Abdul Latif Jameel Real Estate Investments

Morgan Tuckness Head of Global Hospitality Technical Services & Development, Drees & Sommer

16:45 - 17:30

SPACE SESSION: Construction & Development with the Future of the Planet and Your Future Bottom Line at the Forefront


Looking at sustainability both in terms of materials, and the method of construction.  As an investor why is it important to think about the long-term costs of your project from the outset? Who is leading the way in this field? What results are they seeing? Are there unconventional sources of funding available?   How are operators pushing this agenda through their standards for design and construction of new projects?

Aref Abouzahr Chief Executive Officer, ARK Energy

Wessel Witthuhn Director of Global Hospitality Development & Construction, Drees & Sommer

14:45 - 16:30

Leadership masterclass: Leading by example with the nine habits of trust

In order to protect your brand asset, leaders need to build a high trust culture and the most important factor in achieving this goal is through role modelling the 9 habits of trust.  Come to this workshop to build these habits into your own leadership style    

Dr Martin Berlin Partner & Global Deals Real Estate Leader, PwC

John Blakey Executive Coach and Founder, The Trusted Executive Foundation

17:00 - 18:30

Three minute pitch: New concept brands pitch to owners

Invitation only

New concept brands in the mid-market pitch to owners. 

Judge -  Filippo Sona 

Louis Abi Abboud
Vice President Development, AccorHotels Middle East 

Hassan Ahdab
Hotel Operations President, Dur Hospitality

Goulam Amarsy
Chief Executive Office, Barceló Hotels & Resorts 

Huxley Hotels
Gerard Byrne

Managing Director, Archipelago International

Shady Hassan
Senior Director, Lodging Development, Marriott International, Middle East & Africa

Marloes Knippenberg
Chief Executive Officer, Kerten Hospitality

Radisson Red
Elie Milky
Vice President Business Development, Radisson Hotel Group

Mysk by Shaza
Chris Nader
Vice President Business Development, Shaza Hotels

Shuja Zaidi
Principal, Equinox

18:30 - 20:00