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Advisory Board Selected for Arabian Hotel Investment Conference: April 30 – May 2, 2005


Dubai, August 2004:  Fifty of the region’s tourism leaders have participated in an online debate to discuss the future of tourism in the region – and the drive to encourage inward investment – as the advisory board sets content for the first Arabian Hotel Investment Conference, to be held in Dubai in April 2005.

The advisory panel includes among others:  Salem bin Dasmal, CEO of Dubailand; Gerald Lawless, managing director of Jumeirah International; James Wilson, president of IFA Hotels and Resorts; Wahid Attala, executive director of Nakheel; Jurgen Baumhoff, CEO of Qatar National Hotels; Jean-Claude Baumgarten, president of World Travel & Tourism Council Company; and regional directors from international hotel groups InterContinental, Marriott, Movenpick, Rezidor SAS and Rotana. 

According to Jonathan Worsley, organiser of the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC), the conference has been launched to reflect the region’s tourism growth. He said: “Arabia is one of the world’s fastest-growing regions for travel and tourism; in fact, tourism is driving the economies for many of these countries.”

The Conference is being launched for the following reasons:

  • Dubai and many city-states throughout the region are fast becoming major hubs for the development of tourism and the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference offers an excellent platform for the industry to meet investors and developers.
  • To allow the industry to speak at the highest level to promote economic growth, employment and investment for the region.
  • To encourage operators and investors from the region and around the world to meet in a resort setting allowing for discussion and networking opportunities.
  • Most regions of the world have a major hotel investment conference and the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference will be the event for the Middle East region based in Dubai. 
Worsley, one of the founders and organisers of Berlin’s International Hotel Investment Forum, continued: “We see the importance of AHIC as a move to encourage operators and investors from the region – and further afield – to look to Arabia.”

Industry leaders were quick to lend their support and form an advisory panel to set the agenda for the conference. Sarmad Zok, CEO of the Saudi Arabia-based Kingdom Hotel Investments, said: “We are looking to AHIC to encourage and foster the growth and development of the hotel industry in a region that desperately needs more investment activity and governmental initiatives.”

According to Tony Williams, vice president of resorts and projects for Emirates Holidays, the launch of AHIC mirrors activity in the UAE. He said: “This supports the development of the emirate and general development of the region. With a target of 15 million visitors by 2010, the future of Dubai is ambitious, and therefore we need the hotel rooms to support this increased demand.”

Peter Cardnell, director general of Abu Dhabi National Hotels, added: “We are keen to be involved to ensure that the region continues to be recognised as one of the most exciting, rewarding and high potential markets for hospitality investments.” 

Advisory Board Members:

Peter Cardnell, Director General, Abu Dhabi National Hotels
Yousef S. Al Essa, Head of Corporate Finance, Addax Investment Bank
Marwan Shehedeh, Director, Al Futtaim Investments
Michael Hirst, OBE, Consultant, CB Richard Ellis Hotels
Salem Bin Dasmal, Chief Executive, Officer DDIA
Awadh Al Seghayer, Director, Dubai Convention Bureau
Tony Williams, Vice President, Resorts & Projects, Emirates Holidays
Sameer Kazi, Manager, Deloitte
Ossama Wagdi, General Manager, GTA Travel
Zaher El Ajjaoui, Principal, Gulf Finance House
Sylvie Gagnon, Managing Associate, Hirsch Bedner & Associates
Russell Kett, Managing Director, HVS International
James Wilson, President & Chief Operating Officer, IFA Hotels & Resorts
Denis Johnson, Vice-President Sales & Marketing, InterContinental Hotels Gerald Lawless, Managing Director, Jumeirah International
Aboudi Asali, Director - Lodging Development - EMEA, Marriott Int.
Jean-Gabriel Peres, Chief Executive Officer, Movenpick Hotels
Sarmad Zok, Chief Executive Officer, Kingdom Hotel Investments
Eddie O'Sullivan, Editor-in-Chief, MEED
Wahid M. Attalla, Executive Director, Commercial & Operations, Nakheel
Daniela Wagner, Managing Director, International, Octopus Travel
JT Kuhlman, Chief Executive Officer, One&Only
Paul Slattery, Director, Otus & Co.
Robert Pour, Operations Manager, Parsons International
Jurgen Baumhoff, Chief Executive Officer, Qatar National Hotels Company
Bahram Sadr Hashemi, Advisor to the President, Rezidor SAS Hospitality
Selim El Zyr, President & Chief Executive Officer, Rotana Group
Blair Hagkull, Partner, RSP Group
Susan Furness, Managing Director, Strategic Solutions
Gavin Samson, Managing Consultant, TRI Hospitality
Mary Gostelow, President, WOW Travels
Jean-Claude Baumgarten, President, World Travel & Tourism Council
Constantinos Verginis, Asst Professor of Accounting & Finance, Emirates Academy of Hospitality

The Arabian Hotel Investment Conference will run from April 30 – May 2, 2005, on the eve of the Arabian Travel Market, at Dubai’s new Madinat Jumeirah resort. The conference is organised by CB Richard Ellis Hotels, the largest commercial real estate firm in the world, and MEED Conferences.



Francesca Ambrosini
Conference Manager
Tel: +44 (0)20 7505 6008

Also See: The International Hotel/Motel & Restaurant Show® Reduces Exhibitor Days to Three; John Russell Named Chairman of the Board of Directors of the 2004 IH/M&RS / December 2003

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