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Experts discuss ME hotel investment landscape.

(Date: Saturday, April 28, 2012 )

Prominent industry experts will discuss the investment climate in the Middle East post Arab Spring at the annual Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) 2012 which opened its doors in Dubai on Saturday.

More than 80 speakers and over 500 local and international delegates representing more than 40 countries are attending the three-day conference which runs until April 30 at the Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai.

The event includes notable forums such as 'The Investment Climate in the New Arab World', 'Developing Destinations' and the 'Finance Forum', which explore issues from the changing geopolitical dynamics and risk analysis to what renders a project attractive for investors and developers.

The conference started with an introductory speech by Nenad Pacek, the founder and president of Global Success Advisers, titled 'Macro-Economic Overview: the Middle East After the Arab Spring', which set the tone for the rest of the conference, which was dominated by the state of the regional hotel investment climate.

Pacek addressed the business, economic and political outlook for the Mena region in 2012 and 2013 in the wake of the political turmoil that has seized parts of the region since Tunisian Mohamed Bouazizi's anti-government protest sparked a wave of pan-Arab reaction in late 2010.

Stewart Coggans, the executive vice president, Middle East & Africa at Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels said, "The tourism and hospitality sectors in the GCC have improved. This is evidenced by increased tourism arrivals and stronger hotel performances throughout 2011 especially in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. '

According to him, the robust market fundamentals coupled with political and economic stability appeal to investors, this correlates with increased investor demand and appreciative pricing of assets.

Indeed according to the latest STR figures year on year to March 31, hotel occupancy is up 8.9 per cent, average daily rates up 7.2 per cent and RevPAR is up 16.8 per cent, underscoring the region's buoyant hotel sector.

The speakers list includes Mark Wynne-Smith, the CEO of JLL Hotels; Alex Kyriakidis, the president & MD Marriott International MEA; Rudi Jagersbacher, president of Hilton MEA; Jan Smits, the CEO of Asia, Middle East & Africa, IHG; Olivier Ebner, senior manager at project and structured finance, NBAD; Olivier Granet, the director of development Accor ME; Kurt Ritter, the CEO & president of Rezidor Hotel; Kevin Wallace, the president and CEO of Jebel Ali International Hotels; Nilay Orzral, director of real estate operations, Aldar and Sanjay Tanna, director -- business development and investments, Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company.

Jonathan Worsley, the chairman & CEO of Bench Events, board member STR Global said: 'We have an exciting, comprehensive schedule of events lined-up for this year's conference tailored to provide valuable information for hotel investors on broad issues such as the Arab Spring.'

"With Dubai currently topping the world in hotel occupancy rates, and as the UAE posts record-high levels of foreign direct investment with more than $10 billion pouring into the country from overseas, it provides the ideal location to highlight the benefits of a thriving hospitality industry," he added.- TradeArabia News Service

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Publication:TradeArabia (Manama, Bahrain)
Geographic Code:70MID
Date:Apr 28, 2012
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