Arabian Hotel Investment Conference

April 2020 | United Arab Emirates

Content Library

AHIC 2018 to uncover reality of hotel investment risks

Posted on October 16, 2017

Dubai, UAE. 16 October 2017. The Arabian Hotel Investment Conference 2018 (AHIC) will offer strategic insights to the principles of hotel investment, development and construction; showcase regional and global hospitality projects with live investment opportunities; and provide more networking events than ever before.

Planning for ‘AHIC on the Beach’, the 14th edition of the annual knowledge and networking platform for the hotel investment community, which will be held from 17-19 April 2018 at the purpose-built AHIC Village in the grounds of the Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah, UAE, in partnership with Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA), is currently underway in collaboration with industry experts.

The 2018 programme is being shaped following the AHIC Advisory Board, held at The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management in Dubai, at which 37 of the Middle East’s leading hotel owners, developers, and operators and consultants gathered to debate issues focused around the key pillars of hotel investment, innovation and inspiration.

 The Advisory Board revealed a collective desire to build hotels for ROI, with land, development and construction costs all coming under scrutiny. Participants look to better understand value engineering, the use of renewable energy sources and sustainable construction for decreased costs – all topics that will be featured in the AHIC 2018 programme.

Jonathan Worsley, Chairman of Bench Events and Founder of AHIC, said: “Our annual Advisory Board meeting is an essential component of the programming for AHIC, and we are very grateful for the input of all members. Every year, the discussion is different and this debate was dominated by a clear focus on the costs of development versus the reality of returns. There was a thirst for knowledge around issues such as risk adjustment and returns, supply and security, facilitation of foreign investment, ownership models and even exit strategies for distressed assets.”

 Worsley continued: “Our Advisory Board also discussed new investment vehicles; innovative finance models; cryptocurrencies and digital payments; the impact of the co-living and working movement on the hotel model; how to maximise the religious tourism market in KSA; and where and what is the new mid-market. These are the hard-hitting topics we plan to address at AHIC 2018.”

Considering the latest Middle East hotel pipeline and performance data, presented to the Advisory Board by Philip Wooller, Area Director Middle East, STR, owners and operators alike aired their concerns about the continuing imbalance between supply and demand and the inevitable consequence of declining RevPAR. Currently, the Middle East is one of only two regions globally, the other being South America, in which supply is outstripping demand, with supply increasing at a rate of 4.9% versus demand at 3.2%.

“Room rate alone will not be enough to drive revenues for owners, so hoteliers must look at ancillary revenue sources, from food and beverage and spa and wellness to MICE, retail and as yet largely untapped opportunities, such as shared working spaces,” said Jennifer Pettinger-Haines, Managing Director – Middle East, Bench Events. “We are developing a specific content stream for AHIC 2018 to help our delegates understand the opportunities to innovate their business models in ways that will help drive returns”.

The Advisory Board also revealed a desire for insights from other business sectors and for the first time, AHIC 2018 will feature a ‘Spotlight on Innovation’ series with speakers from outside the hospitality industry taking to the stage.

There will also be live-on-stage interviews with leading hotel operators, expected to reveal their approach to maintaining the competitive edge. Keith Barr, Chief Executive Officer of InterContinental Hotels Group, appointed in July 2017, is confirmed as a key speaker, along with Christoph Hoffmann, CEO and Partner, 25Hours and Amar Lalvani, CEO and Managing Partner, Standard International.

In addition to three days of engaging content, AHIC 2018 will present its first Project Showcase, highlighting regional and international hotel investment opportunities.

Locally, these will include Al Marjan Island in Ras Al Khaimah, one of the few markets bucking current performance trends, with Total Guest Nights up 17.7 per cent during the first six months of 2017 and Room Revenue increasing by 13.3 per cent.

Haitham Mattar, CEO, RAKTDA, said: “These strong performance indicators, which are expected to continue throughout the last quarter of 2017 and beyond, clearly outline the potential for investors in looking at Ras Al Khaimah for their next hospitality venture. As Ras Al Khaimah draws closer to reaching its one million visitors target by the end of 2018, and charts a path towards attracting 2.9 million visitors by 2025, the need for quality hotel rooms has never been so important.”

“To accommodate this growth in visitors, we are providing potential investors a range of innovative opportunities to develop stand out properties across the emirate,” Mattar said, adding that these would be showcased at AHIC.

RAKTDA is working closely with the AHIC team to create the custom-built AHIC Village, in partnership with renowned designer Harlequin Arena Group.

John Emmerson, Director of Events, MEED, said: “Everything Ras Al Khaimah has to offer, from the highest mountain peak, to the depths of the sea and everywhere in between, made it the perfect location to enhance the AHIC experience within an authentic cultural setting. The venue and landscape provides an amazing opportunity for the industry to get away and focus on relationships, opportunities and knowledge. We’re delighted that AHIC 2018 will take the industry out of the day to day, creating an environment for attendees to focus on connecting, learning and doing deals.”

For registrations and for more information, visit:

Contact: Lisa Flanagan, Senior Communications Consultant, In2 Consulting; Office: +971 4 455 8499; Mobile: +971 52 689 5509

Notes to Editors

About AHIC 2018

AHIC, now in its 14th year, is the annual gathering for the Middle East’s hospitality investment community organised by global hotel investment event organiser Bench Events in partnership with MEED Events. AHIC creates a knowledge and networking platform for global and regional investors of all backgrounds, offering essential insights to investing in hotels, showcasing regional and international hospitality investment opportunities and facilitating direct connections with hospitality industry stakeholders. AHIC 2018 will be held in a purpose-built AHIC Village on the beach of the Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah, UAE, from 17 April to 19 April 2018 in partnership with Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA). Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, AHIC 2018 will be co-hosted by its founding patron, His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Airports, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman and CEO of Emirates Airline and Group, whose continued support of the industry and AHIC has been critical to the region’s tourism growth. 

AHIC 2018 Sponsors

AHIC 2018 is hosted by Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority. Sponsors include: Al Marjan Island as Platinum Sponsors; Wyndham Hotel Group as Emerald Sponsors; and Action Hotels, Melia Hotels International, Colliers International and Time Hotels as Gold Sponsors.

About Bench Events

Global event organiser Bench Events has a long track record of delivering multiple premium hotel investment conferences and forums across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America. Market leading annual conferences include the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) in Dubai, now in its 14th year, the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) the new Asia Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference (AHTIC), The Summit in London and the Latin American Hotel & Tourism Investment Conferences (SAHIC). Bench Events’ extensive portfolio also includes the Global Restaurant Investment Forum (GRIF) in Dubai and AviaDev, designed to promote the future air connectivity in Africa. Bench Events’ mission is enabling prosperity by facilitating growth, networking, and thought leadership in the hospitality industry worldwide.

About MEED

MEED is a remarkable senior management media brand, that encompasses subscription to the MEED Business Review publication and website,, as well as organising the MEED Quality Awards for Projects, AHIC and Innovation Live! MEED also works with clients on bespoke content, events, broadcast and digital offerings.  MEED also has two high-value content businesses, MEED Projects and MEED Insight. MEED Projects is the Middle East's premium project tracking database and MEED Insight offers tailored research and in-depth analysis. Established in 1957, MEED, has been integral to delivering business information and news, intelligence and analysis on the Middle East economies and activities ever since. 

About Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA)

The Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) was established in May 2011 under the government of Ras Al Khaimah. In order to achieve target growth of one million visitors by the end of 2018, the authority aims to develop the emirate’s tourism infrastructure and establish Ras Al Khaimah as a world-class destination for leisure and business travel, creating sustainable investment opportunities and enhancing the quality of life for its residents. In order to achieve its goals, the RAKTDA has a government mandate to license, regulate and monitor the emirate’s tourism and hospitality industry.