Time is right for hospitality investment

Ahead of what may be one of the most challenging summers in the global hospitality sector, Jonathan Worsley, co-organiser of the upcoming
Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC), stressed that it is still the time to encourage and foster more investment activity.

Jonathan Worsley stated that governments must get more involved to ensure sector growth and sustainability.He said: “The past few years have seen the Middle East emerging as a major player in the hospitality sector both in investment and development terms, and although strategies maybe different, this pulse continues to strengthen.”
Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts’ VP Sales and Marketing for Middle East, Toufic Tamim said that although the global industry by large has seen a significant downturn, the GCC is set to forge ahead with investment and he expects that the region will see many of the planned large-scale projects realised over the next few years.

“There may be a slowdown or delay for some of these projects, but the end of third quarter of 2009 should see a revival for many.”

Looking at the source of investment, Tamim suggests that new interest will come from Asia as the currency exchange offers greater value and higher returns relative to that for investors from the US and Europe.

CEO of Emaar Hospitality Group and Emaar Hotels & Resorts, Marc Dardenne predicts that the GCC’s lodging sector will continue to witness the strong demand by domestic and regional markets feeder markets, with healthy occupancies returning after a summer lull in September and remaining through the last quarter.


He said that the Meetings Incentives Conferences Exhibitions (MICE) sector will also play a positive role on hotel revenues in the coming months.

“The current era is one when investors must identify opportunities and take the courage to invest in potential growth markets, especially those that have proven less vulnerable to the global financial crisis,” Dardenne said.

Emaar Hospitality Group revealed expansion plans in growth markets which include Egypt and Morocco in North Africa.

According to Jonathan Worsley investors remain cautious and are in a bit of a holding pattern waiting to see how things will play out over the next few months.

“There is a great deal of rumour and conjecture but not a great deal of facts floating around at the moment,” he said.

“That is why AHIC 2009 (May 2-4 2009) is really more important than ever this year as it gives the industry a chance to really come together and discuss what is actually going on and happening on the ground,” he concluded.

This year’s AHIC will spotlight new hospitality trends in its session dubbed ‘Weathering the Storm; Top Tips for surviving 2009’. This session is set to examine the strategies that will distinguish the winners from the losers.

The Arabian Hotel Investment Conference is organised by Bench Events and MEED Events.  Details can be found on www.arabianconference.com