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AHIC to focus on post-Arab Spring investment climate

AHIC to focus on post-Arab Spring investment climate AHIC will welcome industry leaders from across the region

Following a tumultuous period in the Middle East, the post Arab Spring investment climate will be the main focus at the annual Arabian Hotel Investment Conference 2012 (AHIC).

The event will open in Dubai on April 28th at Madinat Jumeirah.

Considered the leading forum of its kind in the region, AHIC is held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, president Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, chairman Dubai Airports and chairman and chief executive, Emirates Airlines & Group.

AHIC is organised by MEED Events in partnership with Bench Events and will offer a three day programme designed to explore the outlook for investment in the
Middle East’s changing landscape.

“Despite the upheaval of the past 12 months, the Middle East offers some of the world’s best tourism and hotel investment opportunities,” said Richard Thompson, editor, MEED.

“But the region should not be viewed as a single, homogenous market.

“It covers a large number of diverse markets, each providing its own opportunities and challenges.”

“The long-term potential of North African markets such as Libya, Tunisia and Egypt cannot be questioned due to their proximity to Europe and their abundance of natural and cultural assets.

But the political upheaval of the past year has created an air of uncertainty in those countries that has increased the real and perceived risks for investors and tourists,” added Thompson.

Despite the upheaval, major operators are continuing to push ahead with their project plans.

According to STR Global Construction Pipeline Report in November 2011, the Middle East/Africa hotel development pipeline comprises 494 hotels totalling 133,705 rooms.

Among the key countries in the region the United Arab Emirates reported the largest number of rooms in the In Construction phase with 21,238 rooms. Saudi Arabia reported 11,270 rooms, Qatar 5,544 rooms, Egypt 4,807 rooms and Jordan 3,758 rooms.

Looking ahead to the next three years some 67 hotels have been announced by major operators in the United Arab Emirates according to Hotelier Middle East.

“In the oil exporting states of the Gulf however, the high degree of political stability combined with government initiatives to attract tourism investment offers some very exciting opportunities. In particular, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE and Oman offer excellent opportunities albeit in very different ways,” commented Thompson.

AHIC will also hold sessions that focus on individual case studies, including Egypt, one of the MENA’s most important markets. Participants will also discuss the challenges of developing and operating in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, and investment opportunities in Ras Al Khaimah.

In a separate roundtable session, experts will look at opportunities in Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia.

Middle East investors made the headlines just late last year with a number of high profile hotel acquisitions in Western Europe. The worsening debt crisis there may result in further bargains to be had in the year ahead. Europe will be a key focus as experts discuss the global round up of investment opportunities outside the Middle East.

For more information on the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference head over to the official website.