New destinations – and revitalised ones – will be discussed at a panel discussion featuring HE Jakaya Kikwete, the President of Tanzania, at the second Arabian Hotel Investment Conference at the end of April.
Alongside Kikwete, HE Mubarak Al Muhairi, director general of Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, will be putting his case for the rapidly-developing tourism industry in Abu Dhabi, and James Pringle, Senior Counselor for the M.A. Kharafi Group and Chief Executive Director for the Group’s activities at Port Ghalib, will discuss Egypt’s potential.
Tourism will continue to be the key driver of Abu Dhabi’s economic diversification, with new integrated developments such as at Al Raha Beach and Al Reem Island driving new tiers of investment in the capital. The emirate is looking to increase tourism numbers from almost a million in 2004, to more than 3 million by 2015.
Al Muhairi said: “It is essential that a proper tourism infrastructure is in place, which is why the new island and coastal projects are underway alongside the new airport terminal for example.
“The next few years will see us develop accommodation tiers, from the luxury hotels through to business hotels to accommodate the increasing business we are expecting from meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (the MICE sector).
“Within the next five to 10 years, Abu Dhabi will be a major business, commercial and tourism sector within Arabia, while still keeping close ties to its culture and heritage.”
Port Ghalib is a gold sponsor of AHIC, and Pringle pointed to KPMG studies that highlighted the need for an integrated international destination resort community in Egypt.
According to Pringle, Port Ghalib will become Egypt's first high quality international level destination resort community, and will be on a par with destinations like Puerto Banus, Costasmeralda, and Port Grimaud.
Pringle said: “After a simple five minute drive to Port Ghalib from Marsa Alam International Airport and its growing direct link connectivity with European and regional source markets, Port Ghalib answers the planning, environmental, infrastructure and network challenges that other Egyptian resorts have had in the past.
“We saw the potential of the region, with the Red Sea, mountains and access to Upper Egypt and the historically rich Nile Valley, and when land was made available it was the perfect opportunity to develop a new propertly planned, integrated and international level destination for Egypt that would allow Egypt to increase its share of higher yielding market segments.”
Port Ghalib has already opened its 500 berth International Marina, which will be upgraded to 1,000 berths by 2007, and the 200 room Coral Beach Diving Hotel, managed by Millennium Resorts and Hotels.
Set to open next year are the Budours Palace and the Sahara Sun resorts, developed by Sun International, and reflecting Sun’s theming approach to their resorts as seen at the highly successful Sun City resort in southern Africa.
Among the other attractions of the project are a 1.5km private beach with its offshore coral wall, the world’s second largest man-made lagoon pool at 14,000 sq metres in size, a 750-metre retail, dining and entertainment area in the heart of the Öld Port Khan and Corniche with 165 shops, galleries and boutiques and 22 restaurants and bars. Port Ghalib’s Old Port area also includes 480 prime residential units and a 3,000 capacity conference and exhibition centre.
This year’s Arabian Hotel Investment Conference will run under the theme Oasis or Mirage, as delegates and industry experts reflect and debate on the huge investment and project initiatives in Arabia – as well as their authenticity and sustainability.
Conference organiser Jonathan Worsley said: “The conference focus has always been geared towards investment, and to fast-track opportunities available in this forum. We will debate issues as diverse as economic and industry trends, investment opportunities, finance issues, construction and design, sustainable development, condos and management contracts.
The 2005 Arabian Hotel Investment Conference, held as a precursor to the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai, was sold out with 525 delegates from the Middle East and around the world, and underlined the strong growth rate in the regional hotel sector.
Platinum sponsors at the event are: GuestInvest; Kingdom Hotel Investments; Nakheel Company LLC and Rezidor SAS Hospitality.
Gold sponsors are: Accor; ALDhiyafa Holdings Company; Arabian Travel Market; Cendant Vacation Network Group; Deloitte; Emirates; Euro RSCG Furness; Fairmont Hotels & Resorts; Government of Tanzania; Gulf Air; Hamilton Hotel Partners; Hilton International; HVS International; IFA Hotels & Resorts; Integra TV; InterContinental Hotels & Resorts; Interval International; Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels; Jumeirah; Kempinski; Marriott International; Morgan Stanley; Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts; Port Ghalib Egypt; Rotana Hotels; RSP Group; Shaza Hotels; Sidley Austin; Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide; TRI Hospitality Consulting Middle East and Turks & Caicos.
Media sponsors are: AME Info, CNBC Arabia, Global Hospitality Resources, Hotelier; HOTELS, Sleeper and TTN.
Supporters are: Dubai Convention Bureau, Emirates Academy of Hospitality; International Hotel & Restaurant Association; International Business Leaders Forum, Villeroy & Boch; the World Travel & Tourism Council and WOW Travels.
The Arabian Hotel Investment Conference will run from April 29 - May 1, 2006 on the eve of Arabian Travel Market. The conference is organised by Jonathan Worsley, consultant to CB Richard Ellis Hotels and MEED, the Middle East business information group. Details of AHIC can be found on www.arabianconference.com.
About the organisers:
International Hospitality Services
Jonathan Worsley, Managing Director of International Hospitality Services, is a consultant to CB Richard Ellis Hotels and one of the organisers and founders of the International Hotel Investment Forum held each year in Berlin. In 2005, he was responsible for launching the successful Arabian Hotel Investment Conference with MEED Conferences. Worsley sits as an advisor to the World Travel & Tourism Council which represents many of the leading companies operating world-wide in the travel & tourism industry. He is also a partner and board member of The Bench (www.thebench.com) which provides online real time daily benchmarking data for the hotel industry in over 96 destinations worldwide. His view is that there is a need for more transparency in the industry to allow for greater liquidity in the marketplace.
MEED (Middle East Economic Digest) is internationally recognised as providing essential information for anyone doing business in, or with, the Middle East and North Africa. MEED now attracts over 70,000 individual readers each week, across 70 countries world-wide.
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 10 years, MEED Conferences has organised events attended by senior government officials and thousands of international business people. The conference series is aimed at companies active or 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.
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