Arabian Hotel Investment Conference

09 – 11 April 2019

AHIC Village, Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates

2018 Session

A Focus on Saudi Arabia

Stephen Sackur photo

Stephen Sackur is presenter of HARDtalk, the current affairs interview on BBC World and the News Channel. His subjects have included the heads of NATO and OPEC, Shimon Peres, Gore Vidal and Richard Dawkins. 

For HARDtalk he has also interviewed a number of the world’s great innovators, from James Dyson to Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia and the bioscientist Craig Ventor. Distilling his notes for a series of articles, Stephen identified the five qualities they all seemed to share: an indestructible will, passion (almost beyond reason), outrageous optimism, a super-sized ego and a ‘rebel yell.’

These interviews have also given him an insight into how organisations can best bring about innovation: “You need to find ways to assess individuals on their merits, and give rewards for innovative thinking rather than play-it-safe mediocrity. You should encourage insiders to get outside and bring back fresh insights. And you shouldn’t confuse seniority with creativity.” 

Away from set-piece interviews Stephen has served in Brussels, reporting on day-to-day stories from the major European institutions and across the continent. Before that he was Washington Correspondent, where his coverage and analysis of 9/11 won widespread acclaim. 

Ten years earlier it was Stephen who broke the story of the mass killing on the Basra road out of Kuwait, marking the end of the Gulf War. He was then posted to Cairo and Jerusalem as Middle East Correspondent, where he reported on the emergence of the Palestinian Authority.

Yousif Al Eid photo

Yousif Al Eid, the Vice President of Investments & Business Development at Dur Hospitality, holds an extensive background in hospitality and banking with over 20 years of experience focused on investment analysis, mergers and acquisition, private equity in the region. 

Prior to his position at DUR Hospitality, Yousif held several leading positions in renowned investment banking organizations, among which he was a co-founder and partner at Select Capital, Bahrain & KSA and the Vice President of Investment at Addax Investment Bank, and CEO for Addax Saudi Arabia.

Yousif`s role at Dur Hospitality includes but is not limited to overseeing feasibility and investment analysis and market study for each of Dur`s projects and its expansion strategy spread across the Kingdom. He also oversees the development and acquisition of new sites in secondary and tertiary cities in Saudi Arabia.

Yousif holds a Hospitality Degree from the renowned Swiss Association and the American Hotel and Motel Association, and also obtained his BBA from the European University in Geneva, Switzerland. 

Carlos Khneisser photo

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.

Elie Milky photo

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, Radisson, Park Inn by Radisson, Radisson RED and Radisson 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 Radisson 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.

Richard Thompson photo

Richard Thompson is the Editorial Director of MEED. He is responsible for the content of MEED Magazine,, MEED Projects & MEED Insights.  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