Shaikha Lubna Al Qasimi, UAE Minister of Economy has confirmed her attendance in the Industry Leaders’ session at the upcoming Arabian Hotel Investment Conference, according to conference co-organiser, Jonathan Worsley.
“Shaikha Lubna is set to share key insights into the region’s burgeoning tourism and hospitality sector and its continuing ability to contribute to economic growth, often as the catalyst,” said Worsley. The session will be moderated CNN news anchor, John Defterios.
Worsley said that recent figures show that the contribution of the hospitality sector, both directly and indirectly, to the UAE’s total GDP is in excess of 20 per cent and 30 per cent  (respectively).
Meanwhile, Shaikha Lubna said that the region’s hospitality and leisure sectors continue to show potential to attract new spending into regional economies.
“In the UAE particularly, we have witnessed excellent economic growth in tourism, aviation, hospitality real estate and complementary sectors. The UAE’s non-oil sector represents over 60 percent of our GDP.
“In addition, there are many by-products of these sectors that are of interest to business investors, and so further drive growth,” Shaikha Lubna said.
Recently, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) too pegged Dubai as ‘the world’s leading example of a state to have successfully embraced travel and tourism as a catalyst for economic growth and prosperity’.
Worsley added that the industry is expected to grow by 4.4 per cent per annum in real terms between now and 2016, with Middle East travel and tourism investment estimated to reach US$39.4 billion during the same period. 
He also confirmed that alongside Shaikha Lubna and other dignitaries, the three-day hospitality investment forum (from May 3-5 2008) will again see the ‘who’s who’ of the global hotel investment industry thrash out the hot topics that are driving the region’s bullish sector.
“We believe that the surge in attendance over the past years stands as a sign of AHIC’s acceptance as the premier event for region’s hospitality investment sector,” mentioned Worsley.
“We expect to pass 1,000 delegates in 2008, up from just over 500 in AHIC’s inaugural year in 2005.”
He also shared that Shaikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum has confirmed his patronage for the fourth year running.