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Dubai: The tenth edition of the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) was opened on Sunday by Shaikh Maktoum Bin Hasher Al Maktoum, executive chairman of Shuaa Capital and chairman of Dubai International Holding Company.
The hotel conference will run until Monday at Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai. It is held under the patronage of Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation and Chairman and CEO of Emirates airline and Group.
Among the participants are Starwood Hotels and Resorts, InterContinental Hotels Group, Jumeirah Group, Accor, King Abdullah Economic City, Al Habtoor Group, Hilton Worldwide and Marriott International.
Shaikh Maktoum delivered the opening remarks on Sunday.
“The Middle East and the UAE in particular have witnessed a period of rapid social-economic development, which has fuelled the emergence of a dynamic and a very interesting hospitality and tourism sector, where the demand has become extremely strong, with world leading hotels establishing themselves in the region and putting their plans for expansion,” he said.
He pointed out that the UAE is among the top five countries in the world for new hotel openings over the past five years, and said that room supply in the country is expected to increase by 5.3 per cent annually from 2012 to 2016.
“Dubai enjoys the region’s strongest occupancy levels at 88.4 per cent and average room rates at $398.71 (Dh1,463.27). Abu Dhabi is also witnessing consistent growth in demand with a significant number of hotels and projects launched in the emirate,” he said.
The hotel conference included a number of roundtables and panel discussions. A session called “A vision for the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] and beyond,” discussed the GCC governments’ plans for sustainable growth and partnerships between public and private sectors.
Helal Saeed Al Merri, director-general of the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), will be speaking at a session on Dubai’s next step to achieving its tourism vision for 2020.
Under the vision, announced last year, the number of visitors in Dubai is expected to double from 10 million in 2012 to 20 million by 2020.
Al Merri was joined by Paul Griffiths, chief executive of Dubai Airports, and Gerald Lawless, president and group chief executive of Jumeirah Group, a luxury hotel company.
During the conference, a number of hotel companies made announcements, such as Starwood Hotels and Resorts, which has signed an agreement with Century Park and Hotel Residences to open a new Sheraton hotel in Kigali, Rwanda.
Meanwhile, the conference’s Leadership Award was presented to Prince Sultan Bin Salman Bin Abdul Aziz, president and chairman of the board of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA), in recognition of his role in developing the hospitality sector in Saudi Arabia.
Source: Staff Report, gulfnews.com