HOFTEL chairman says design and construction sector is a key stakeholder in supporting the diversification of the region’s hospitality market
The creation of new demand drivers will be critical in ensuring the region’s hospitality sector continues to grow despite the challenges of mounting competition and continued low oil prices. How the GCC economies will drive the leisure and business travel sectors, and how hotels will deal with the pressure to fine-tune their offerings to deliver long-term growth, will be among the major talking points at the Gulf and Indian Ocean Hotel Investors’ Summit 2018 (29-30 January).
The design and construction community has a key role to play in providing creative ideas and solutions for meeting the future needs of the industry.
Simon Allison, HOFTEL’s Chairman, says: “All parts of the hospitality market need to embrace change in order to deliver long-term growth. There are fantastic opportunities ahead, but it’s critical we find new offerings and that all stakeholders work together. The design and construction industry is critical in helping to deliver this.”
The Middle East represents a significant opportunity for the hospitality sector due to the ongoing drive for economic diversification away from oil and gas, but with the world’s highest pipeline of new hotels set to come onstream, the need to differentiate and create new offerings is more important than ever.
Haitham Mattar, CEO of the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Destination Authority says: “The fundamentals for industry growth in the region are good but it is vital that we challenge ourselves as an industry to respond to the needs and expectations of our customers in new ways. In RAK, we are creating not only new beach resorts but also adventure tourism experiences including the world’s longest zip line.”
The region is surging ahead with innovative resort projects, such as the proposed new Red Sea islands planned for the Saudi coast, while new industrial sectors are also being stimulated such as new logistics and manufacturing hubs in Bahrain. Moreover, having focused largely on luxury up to now, many of the region’s leading developers like WASL in Dubai are now moving into more midscale offerings.
Jerad Bachar from the Bahrain Economic Development Board notes: “Bahrain, along with all countries in the GCC, continues to make great strides in economic diversification. Bahrain’s economy depends on strong contribution from financial services, manufacturing, and tourism. We are currently witnessing approximately $32 billion worth of development investment in the Kingdom, with $10 billion directly connected to tourism including the airport modernization program and several resorts and retail destinations.”
For the third year running GIOHIS (the “Gulf and Indian Ocean Hotel Investors’ Summit”) will bring many of the region’s top hotel owners, developers and operators together at the Yas Viceroy in Abu Dhabi. Here they will discuss topical issues which are top-of-mind for many of the sector’s leading executives – around 90 of whom will be there – including:
- Is Dubai in danger of being overbuilt and could it be heading for a hard landing?
- From motor oil to tanning oil – can the Gulf markets successfully diversify?
- OTAs can be seen by owners just as costly booking channels. Are they? And what value beyond distribution can OTAs offer to owners and hotel operators?
- Coping with downturns and disruptors – do the brands have the answers?
- The merging of hotel and residential offerings – a good extension to our business or a mortal threat to it?
Being run by hotel owners’ alliance HOFTEL, rather than a commercial media or conferencing company, means that GIOHIS can be upfront about addressing the issues which keep owners and their key service providers awake.
Simon Allison concludes: “2018 will be a year where the Gulf and Indian Ocean market faces challenges like never before – the continuing rise of the online travel agents, the spread of home-sharing and serviced apartments, the consolidation of brands, significant supply increases and, in some places, a tough economic environment. GIOHIS will allow hotel sector investors to share their insights and solutions in a compact and very transparent forum, lasting less than two days and hearing from some of the region’s top CEOs including Olivier Harnisch, Joe Sita, Suchad Chiaranussati, Khalid Anib, David Anderson, Olivier Chavy, Jalil Mekouar, Simon Coombs, Nehme Darwiche and Mohamed Awadalla.
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