Tuesday 27 September 2022

Ahic regional briefing in Qatar

Diversification in hospitality sector key to success, say experts

DUBAI, February 1, 2017

This year’s Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (Ahic) will focus on diversification in the hospitality sector in response to the challenges faced by the region, according to the conclusions of a regional briefing in Doha in the run-up to the event.

A review of asset management was also a key theme at the briefing in the Qatari capital, where some 40 hoteliers, hospitality investors and owners came together to shape the discussion at Ahic, which is running from April 25 to 27 at Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai.  

“The dominant issue at Ahic this year will be how the GCC hospitality sector can retain its attractiveness to investors in spite of all that is happening in the region,” said Andrew Humphries, chief operating officer of Katara Hospitality, who will be speaking at Ahic 2017.

“Following the discussions here at the Doha regional briefing, I think that the diversification of the GCC hospitality sector will be a key theme at Ahic. It is essential that diversification happens at all levels and that we have flexibility in our business models. The traditional model is changing and a new model must be found. One that is more aggressive on the sales side and more thoughtful on the costs side, while retaining the best of what we have”, said Humphries.

Mohamed Al Mahmeed, head of Tourism Investment Promotion at Qatar Tourism Authority, said: “Qatar has a clear strategy to develop a sustainable tourism industry through 2030. The past year saw several key developments: the growth of the cruise tourism sector, measures to ease entry to Qatar - including the introduction of a new transit visa - and a new hotels grading and classification system. The focus for us moving forward is to support the diversification of the hospitality sector’s offering and the development of new tourism products.”

Another key theme at Ahic, according to Saahil Lalit, Colliers International Associate Director, Hotels, will be asset management: “With revenues falling, we need to discuss how we can get more out of our properties.”

He went on to highlight the rise in popularity of Airbnb in the region, calling for the need for the region’s hospitality sector to respond to the challenge of the newcomer “which can add significant volume to the market at short notice, and at low prices,” he added.

Commenting on the regional briefing’s value to the Qatari hospitality sector, in preparation for the April AHIC conference, Amruda Nair, joint managing director and CEO, Aiana Hotels & Resorts, said: “It was valuable to be given access to performance data and trends data from across the region, to hear about different approaches, and to be able to have a dialogue with authorities.

“As an operator, it is great to be able to take a step back and get a big picture view. And in times of challenging market conditions, it is great to see how the industry can come together to respond. I think Ahic is an opportunity to look at investment criteria, and to discuss strategic collaboration between investors, operators, authorities and airlines,” she said.

Ahic 2017, which will be held in Dubai, will bring together more than 700 hotel owners, investors, developers, operators, consultants and experts from professional services to debate the hospitality investment climate against a backdrop of global catalysts for change and the macroeconomic environment.

The conference will feature panel sessions entitled: The MacroEconomic Outlook for Middle East Hospitality; Do You Need An International Brand?; An A-Z of Reflagging Your Hotel; The Investment Climate Warms Up to the Mid-Market; and Concepts for the GCC.

Sessions specifically targeted at hospitality investors will tackle issues such as white label operations, asset management, alternative models of investment, how to exit a contract, overseas acquisitions, working with master developers and achieving return on investment (ROI) on food and beverage. - TradeArabia News Service

Tags: hospitality | AHIC | sector | Diversification |

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