Beyond traditional four- and three-star hotel products where are the emerging opportunities for investors to get value for money?
Christopher Lund Head of Hotels – Middle East & North Africa – Colliers International
Head of Hotels – Middle East & North Africa – Colliers International
Christopher Lund oversees the Hotels consultancy division of Colliers International in the Middle East and North Africa. Over the past 7 years, the Hotels team has worked on more than 700 projects in the region, providing advisory services to hotel developers, investors, operators, governments, law firms and banks. Christopher specializes in development consultancy and strategic asset management, ranging from standalone hotels to large-scale destinations, as well as hotel company strategies, condo-hotel investment models and negotiating complex hotel management agreements. His operational and asset management experience allows him to have a 360-degree view and hands-on approach when providing actionable advice to enhance hotel profitability. Christopher holds an MSc in Real Estate Investment and Finance from Henley Business School, with other degrees and certificates from New York University, Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne and The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management.
Abdullah Al Abdooli Managing Director & CEO – Marjan
Abdullah Al Abdooli
Managing Director & CEO – Marjan
An experienced architect and urban planning expert, who has worked in senior leadership roles in government, Abdullah Rashed Jasem Al-Abdooli is the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Marjan, the developer of Al Marjan Island, a master-planned mixed-use mega-development in Ras Al Khaimah, the United Arab Emirates.
Abdullah drives the development, operations and expansion plans of Al Marjan Island, which features world-class residential, commercial, hospitality, retail and leisure attractions, and serves as an economic catalyst and driver of real estate and inward investments to Ras Al Khaimah.
Abdullah is responsible for multiple stakeholder engagement, including with government entities, and leverages his expertise in urban planning and architecture to establish Al Marjan Island as a signature development that adds to the pride of the nation. He also focuses on ensuring optimal resource use efficiency and in driving the project management schedule to achieve higher levels of productivity.
Drawing on his competencies in real estate development and urban master-planning, Abdullah also serves as the Board Member of RAK Dredging.
Earlier, he was Director – Town Planning and Survey Administration and Director of Project Management at RAK Municipality. He has also been a Board Member of the RAK International Airport Authority and RAK Sewerage Authority.
Abdullah holds a Masters in Regional & Urban Planning from the Paris Sorbonne University in Abu Dhabi, and graduated from the American University of Sharjah.
Rami A. Moukarzel Vice President Development & Acquisitions, Middle East & North Africa – Louvre Hotels Group
Rami A. Moukarzel
Vice President Development & Acquisitions, Middle East & North Africa – Louvre Hotels Group
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.
Benjamin Oppl Development Director Middle East and North Africa, Meliá Hotels International
Development Director Middle East and North Africa, Meliá Hotels International
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.
Raki Phillips Chief Citizen – Earth Hotels
Chief Citizen – Earth Hotels
A 20 Year Hospitality veteran working for some of the world’s most global brands including Universal Studios Orlando, Ritz-Carlton Hotels and Fairmont Hotels & Resorts. His experience spans in launching and developing more than 15 hotels globally in cities including Orlando, Jaipur, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, Cairo, Nairobi, St. Lucia and many more. Additionally, in the F&B arena Raki has beenbehind several successful concepts including Hard Rock Live Orlando, Noire the Middle East's first Dinner in the Dark concept & SugarMoo Desserts to name a few.