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Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) 2010 to
Examine Investing Intelligently in Morocco

AHIC 2010
United Arab Emirates, 08 March 2010 - As part of the focus on ‘Unlocking Investment Opportunities in the Middle East and North Africa’ at AHIC 2010, the Country Panel will look at the direction of tourism and hotel investment in Egypt, the Sultanate of Oman, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Kingdom of Morocco.

The Kingdom of Morocco will be represented on the panel by HE Yassir Zenagui, who was appointed as Minister of Tourism and Handicraft in January 2010, having previously worked in investment banking in the United Kingdom. Omar Bennani, Chief Executive Officer of the Moroccan Tourism Development Agency (SMIT), will also be talking at the conference, on the panel session ‘A Focus on North Africa’.

  • The Country Forum panel will feature key public sector officials shaping the direction of tourism and hotel investment across the region
  • HE Yassir Zenagui, Minister of Tourism and Handicraft, will discuss intelligent investment opportunities in the Kingdom of Morocco
  • Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels identify Morocco as one of the ‘hottest markets’ for 2010

Tourism plays an important role in the Kingdom of Morocco; according to a report in March 2009 by the World Travel & Tourism Council, in 2009 the travel and tourism sector was expected to generate US$14.64 billion (MAD118 billion) of economic activity, equivalent to 16.2% of total Gross Domestic Product. Direct industry employment was expected to be approximately 838,000, 7.6% of total employment in the Kingdom.
Total visitor numbers grew to 8.35 million in 2009, according to government figures, whilst the Jones Lang LaSalle Hotel Investment Outlook 2010 highlighted Morocco as one of the ‘hottest markets’ for 2010.
This was reiterated by Philippe Doizelet, Director of the leading hotel, tourism and leisure consultancy Horwarth HTL, who commented: “Since launching a new strategic plan in 2001, Morocco has successfully pursued an ambitious partnership between private operators and the government, and focused on creating an investment environment with limited land cost, an open sky policy and no customs tax on equipment. This has attracted hotel operators such as Accor, Intercontinental Hotels Group and Starwood Hotels and Resorts and going forward there is no doubt that Moroccan hotel investment remains an attractive prospect. I think one of the key emerging themes is developments mixing hotels and privately owned residences.”
Philippe Doizelet will be moderating the ‘A Focus on North Africa’ panel at AHIC 2010 (Day 2, Sunday 2 May 2010)

HE Yassir Zenagui, Minister of Tourism and Handicraft for the Kingdom of Morocco, commented:
In 2010 we are aiming to realise growth of 10% in tourist numbers, and we have a strategy in place to ensure this growth is not achieved at the expense of profitability. We have a strong desire to focus on sustainable tourism, with environmental awareness and a high quality tourism product. I am looking forward to discussing the opportunities for investment in the Kingdom with an audience of international industry experts at AHIC 2010.”
The conference will also feature ‘Ask the Experts’ roundtable sessions, which will feature an opportunity to get practical advice on Navigating the Market in Morocco. AHIC 2010 is honored to have the Moroccan Tourism Development Agency (SMIT) as Emerald Sponsors of the event.
Jonathan Worsley, Chairman of Bench Events which co-organises AHIC, commented:
The principal focus of AHIC 2010 is to bring international hotel industry experts together to debate the changing sector landscape, and to help identify intelligent and targeted investment opportunities. The Kingdom of Morocco, with its established platform and diversified hotel sector, offers one such opportunity and we are delighted to have HE Yassir Zenagui and Omar Bennani joining us to provide insight and understanding on the best way to access this exciting market.”
Platinum sponsors: Ministry of Tourism Brazil, The Rezidor Hotel Group and Wyndham Worldwide. 
Emerald sponsors: The Address Hotels and Resorts, Hilton Worldwide, IHG, Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels, Jumeirah Group, Moroccan Tourism Development Agency (SMIT)
Gold sponsors: Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas, Accor Hospitality, Bell Pottinger, Corinthia Hotels, Expedia, Golden Tulip Hotels & Resorts, Hamilton Hotel Partners, Hodema Consulting Services, Horwath HTL, Kempinski Hotels & Shaza Hotels, Langham Hotels International, Molinaro Koger, Rotana, Schletterer Wellness and SPA design, Siemens, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, TRI Hospitality Consulting, Viceroy Hotel Group, WATG.
The focus for the the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference 2010, taking place from 1 – 3 May 2010, this year is ‘Unlocking Investment Opportunities in the Middle East and North Africa’, and the event brings together over 500 of the top hotel investment industry professionals through an interactive programme that includes panels, breakfast briefings and breakout sessions.
The debates will be led by a selection of industry leaders, including:
  • HE Sheikh Mubarak Abdulla Al Mubarak Al Sabah, Chairman of Action Hotels
  • HE Saif Mohammed Al Hajeri, Chairman of Abu Dhabi National Hotels
  • HE Dr. Rajiha Abdul Ameer Ali, Minister of Tourism, Sultanate of Oman
  • Peter Baumgartner, Chief Commercial Officer of Etihad Airways
  • Gerald Lawless, Executive Chairman of Jumeirah Group
  • Kurt Ritter, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Rezidor Hotel Group
  • Mark Wynne-Smith, CEO EMEA of Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels
  • Sarmad Zok, Chief Executive Officer of Kingdom Hotel Investments
The AHIC 2010 Leadership Award will also be presented to Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority and Chairman of TDIC.

About Bench Events
Bench Events has a long track record of hosting the premier hotel investment events in the world.  Bench Events’ Chairman, Jonathan Worsley, is one of the organisers and founders of the highly successful International Hotel Investment Forum now in its thirteenth year (  In 2005, he was responsible for launching the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference in Dubai and in 2008 launched the Russia & CIS Hotel Investment Conference which was a sell out success ( Bench Event’s sister company, JW Bench, is a benchmarking company that has successfully launched the Conference Bench and the Productivity Bench. An industry first, the Conference Bench, measures performance data for conference and banqueting space in hotels in Stockholm, Oslo, London, Brussels with other capital cities contributing shortly.

About MEED
For 50 years business leaders have been relying on MEED (Middle East Economic Digest) to give them a wealth of factual, unbiased business information that they need to be successful. The MEED brand represents an unrivalled portfolio of high calibre business information products, online services and premier networking events.

MEED Conferences is part of the leading information brand in the Middle East working to provide delegates with the very latest business sensitive information. Over the past 12 years, MEED Conferences has organised events attended by senior government officials and thousands of international business people. The conference series is aimed at companies actively seeking business in the markets of the Middle East. MEED is well established as the source of strategic and accurate regional information placing it in a unique position to bring together high-calibre speakers.


For more information please contact:

Alisdair Haythornthwaite
+971 56 690 1725

Rosemary Youssef
+971 50 354 8805



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