His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah is offering operators participating in the 15th Annual Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC), 9-11 April 2019, the chance to build something extraordinary in Ras Al Khaimah. For operators, this is a unique chance to push their creativity and present a truly grand project for Ras Al Khaimah - think ‘Atlantis of RAK’, think innovation, think outside of the box, think sustainability and paint that canvas!
The winning project will be backed and funded by the Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah himself! His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah will also provide a beachfront property for the winning project concept.
1. Team confirmations: To join The Grand RAK Project competition, teams combining operators and designers are required to confirm their participation by 23 April 2019.
2. Concept submission: The teams will then have three months, up until July 2019, to prepare a preliminary concept vision supported by a high-level feasibility appraisal for a new resort that is unique to Ras al Khaimah and to the wider Middle East.
3. Judging & shortlisting: These concepts will be judged in July 2019. Three shortlisted teams will each receive $25,000 as a contribution towards their final submission. These three shortlisted teams will also receive information on the plot and its location.
4. Selection & winner announcement: Final submissions will be reviewed in November 2019 and the winning scheme will be selected and announced.
In July, the criteria against which the submissions will be judged comprise:
An experienced architect and urban planning expert, who has worked in senior leadership roles in government, Abdullah Rashed Jasem Al-Abdooli is the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Marjan, the developer of Al Marjan Island, a master-planned mixed-use mega-development in Ras Al Khaimah, the United Arab Emirates.
Abdullah drives the development, operations and expansion plans of Al Marjan Island, which features world-class residential, commercial, hospitality, retail and leisure attractions, and serves as an economic catalyst and driver of real estate and inward investments to Ras Al Khaimah.
Abdullah is responsible for multiple stakeholder engagement, including with government entities, and leverages his expertise in urban planning and architecture to establish Al Marjan Island as a signature development that adds to the pride of the nation. He also focuses on ensuring optimal resource use efficiency and in driving the project management schedule to achieve higher levels of productivity.
Drawing on his competencies in real estate development and urban master-planning, Abdullah also serves as the Board Member of RAK Dredging.
Earlier, he was Director – Town Planning and Survey Administration and Director of Project Management at RAK Municipality. He has also been a Board Member of the RAK International Airport Authority and RAK Sewerage Authority.
Abdullah holds a Masters in Regional & Urban Planning from the Paris Sorbonne University in Abu Dhabi, and graduated from the American University of Sharjah.
World Travel & Tourism Council
Gerald Lawless started his career with Forte Hotels which culminated in him setting up and growing Forte’s operations in the Middle East.
After a 23-year career with Forte Hotels, he joined Jumeirah in 1997 and helped establish it as one of the premier luxury hotel brands in the world. Taking on the challenge of launching Burj Al Arab, the world’s most luxurious hotel, after the successful introduction of Jumeirah Beach Hotel to an eager travelling public, Mr. Lawless went on to become President and Group Chief Executive Officer of the Jumeirah Group.
At the beginning of 2016, having served for 18 years at the helm of the Jumeirah Group, Mr. Lawless assumed a new leadership position responsible for tourism and hospitality in Dubai Holding, the Group’s parent company. He has now retired from this role and continues to reside in Dubai.
He was the Chairman of the World Travel & Tourism Council from April 2016 - April 2018, and is now WTTC Ambassador.
Mr. Lawless is a Graduate of Shannon College of Hotel Management in Ireland and holds an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Business Administration in Hospitality Management by the Johnson & Wales University, State of Rhode Island, USA; an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws by the National University of Ireland, Galway; and an Honorary Doctorate by the Middlesex University Dubai. He is a member of the Global Future Council on the Future of Mobility of the World Economic Forum; a fellow member of the Institute of Hospitality; and a member of the International Advisory Board of the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne.
Recipient of the 2017 Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad.
Office of HH Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah – United Arab Emirates
Walid Tabanji, is Senior Advisor at the Office of HH Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah – United Arab Emirates.
Walid’s work focuses on the sustainable development of the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah through initiating and supporting programs aimed at promoting investments and improving the governance and effectiveness of Government agencies and state-owned enterprises. He also provides decision support and advice to the Ruler on multiple development-related matters.
Walid Tabanji brings over 20 years of experience in areas of strategy, organization development, results delivery, and governance working with governments, state-owned enterprises and private groups across diverse sectors.
Prior to joining the Office of Ras Al Khaimah Ruler, Walid was a Partner at “Bain & Company” where he was a core member of the Government & Family Owned Businesses practice.
Prior to joining “Bain & Company”, Walid was heading the Strategy & Public Policy function at the Executive Office of the Ruler of Dubai and the Executive Council of the Government of Dubai. He also worked at “Booz Allen Hamilton” serving governments & corporations in the Middle East region across various leading sectors with specific focus on the Oil & Gas and Industrial sectors.
Walid started his career in the engineering field, working on the design and delivery of major energy and industrial projects within Europe and the Middle East region.
Walid holds an MBA with focus on Strategy & Finance from INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France. He also
holds a Bachelors Degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Masters Degree in Engineering Management from the American University of Beirut.
Married with three children.
Walid speaks Arabic, English, French and Italian.
HKS Hospitality Group
Kevin has over 30 years of experience in planning, designing and managing a wide-ranging portfolio globally but specialising in hotel/resorts, urban regeneration, golf and leisure, commercial, and retail.
Kevin drives HKS’ dynamic and creative approach, and his past project experience includes the seminal Heart of Doha/Msheireb project, Saadiyat Island; the Four Seasons Hotel in Istanbul, Goa and Montenegro; Emirates Palace Hotel Abu Dhabi; Ritz Carlton Dubai; Monastero Santa Rosa Hotel, Amalfi, Italy; Hyatt Mallorca, Thessaloniki; and Disneyland Paris.
Jonathan Worsley, Chairman & CEO of Bench Events, is one of the founders and organisers of multiple leading international conferences for the hotel investment industry, including the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) now in its 15 year; the 10th annual Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) and the 3rd annual Saudi Arabia Hotel Investment Conference (SHIC). Bench Events entered the Latin America market in 2016 partnering with SAHIC on their South American and Latin Amerian events. Jonathan also branched out into aviation and F&B, through AviaDev inaugurated in 2016, and the Global Restaurant Investment Forum (GRIF) now in its sixth year.
In 1997, Jonathan co-founded the annual International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF) in Berlin, a conference he subsequently organised for 19 years, which today attracts over 2,000 delegates. Earlier in his career, he worked for real estate consultants CBRE & Hotel Partners, hotel advisors PKF and hotel operator Forte & Holiday Inns.
Until recently, Jonathan was a board director and founder of STR Global, a global benchmarking company with over 60,000 participating hotels following the merger of The Bench, STR and Deloitte’s Hotel Benchmark. He sits on the board of Hotel Swaps, which allows participating members to swap unused hotel rooms with other members around the globe and is an investor in TripTease, the tech start-up that enables hotels to increase direct sales and aims to defeat rate disparity.
Jonathan sits on the Advisory Board for Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority and is a Trustee of Future Talent, a charity that provides financial support to gifted young musicians in need of financial assistance to pursue their dreams and talent.
The information relating to the Grand RAK Project (Memorandum) is being issued by the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) on behalf of by Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) to those operators interested in securing a new hotel/resort development with the Grand RAK Project (Competition). The purpose of the Memorandum is to assist the recipient in deciding whether it wishes to proceed with an entry into the Competition. The information provided in the Memorandum, which does not purport to be comprehensive, has been provided by RAKTDA. While the Memorandum has been prepared in good faith, no representation, warranty, assurance or undertaking (express or implied) is or will be made, and no or liability is or will be accepted by either of AHIC, Bench Events Limited, Meed Media FZ LLC or RAKTDA or by any of their respective officers, employees or agents in relation to the accuracy or completeness of the Memorandum, or of any other information (whether written or oral), otherwise made available to any interested party or its advisers in connection with the Competition, or the Competition itself. All and any such responsibility and liability is expressly disclaimed. In particular, but without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, no representation, warranty, assurance or undertaking is given as to the organisation, management, operation or outcome of the Competition. RAKTDA reserves the right, without giving reasons, at any time and in any respect, to amend or terminate the Competition. The issue of this Memorandum shall not be deemed to be any form of commitment on the part of RAKTDA (or any other person) to proceed with the Competition.