AHTIC

Political and business leaders line-up for Asia Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference

Three days of expert opinion; speeches by leading insiders; a unique chance to hear political leaders’ views first-hand, and opportunities to network with prominent entrepreneurs – the inaugural Asia Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference in November is looking set to be one of the region’s most influential gatherings at which the focus will be on challenges and opportunities facing the hotel and tourism industries.  Hot topics are likely to include land ownership, impediments to raising finance and shortage of talent.

A demonstration of the Sri Lankan government’s willingness to engage in open dialogue with the private sector is made by the opening networking reception in Colombo hosted by the President of Sri Lanka, Maithripala Sirisena, the conference patron. Furthermore, his prime minister and tourism minister will participate actively as the conference gets under way the following day.

A masterclass in how to build a tourism destination will be given by the chairman of the World Travel and Tourism Council, Gerald Lawless, whose stellar career in Dubai enables him to share many valuable insights. The former Jumeirah CEO, now head of tourism and hospitality at Dubai Holding, has played a key role in the country’s phenomenal growth for nearly two decades. His experiences will have many lessons for the Asia region, now one of the fastest growing destinations in the world.

Exactly how to overcome some of the toughest challenges of operating in emerging markets will be discussed by Krishan Balendra, president, Leisure Group, John Keells Holdings and Peter Henley, President and CEO, Onyx Hospitality Group.

The crucial questions surrounding investment will take centre stage next. Jesper Palmqvist, area director Asia Pacific, STR, will give an update on top-line hotel performance in Sri Lanka and competitive Asian markets.

Then a panel of leading investors will give their views of how destinations can become more attractive to international backers. For governments looking to build their tourism economies, this session will provide some hard truths and will identify changes they will need to make to local laws and policies.

As a major key to success is improving collaboration between the private and public sectors, three Sri Lankan ministers, including the finance minister, as well as various high-ranking government officials will provide the latest thinking on official policy on infrastructure and creating an investment-friendly environment.

All this will be backed up by case-studies of successful projects – including Dusit Thani’s latest beachfront development in Sri Lanka – as well as examples of effective hotel management agreements.

Throughout the conference there will be workshops, roundtables and networking receptions where delegates can swap expertise and develop new alliances.

The bankers’ perspective, project management and legal aspects of new developments will all be additional high points on the agenda, all discussed by leading professionals before the conference closes.

The Asia Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference will take place from 27 to 29 November at the Hilton Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Organiser: Bench Events, Co-organiser and Founder Sponsor: Sri Lanka Tourism Club, Host Partners: Ministry of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs of Sri Lanka; Presidential Secretariat Sri Lanka; BOI Sri Lanka and Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, Strategic Partner: JLL, Platinum Sponsor: JA Resorts & Hotels, Gold Sponsor: Dusit International, Official Airline Partner: SriLankan Airlines

Bench Events has a long track record of delivering the leading hotel investment events across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Jonathan Worsley, Chairman of Bench Events is one of the founders of the highly successful International Hotel Investment Forum in Berlin, now in its twentieth year. In 2005, he was responsible for launching the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference in Dubai and in 2008 the Russia & CIS Hotel Investment Conference followed by Central Asia and Turkey Investment Hotel Conference. In 2011, with industry backing, Bench Events opened the Africa Hotel Investment Forum which has been held in Casablanca, Nairobi, Addis Ababa and this year to be held in both Lomé, Togo and Kigali, Rwanda. Bench Events addressed a gap in the market in 2014 with the successful launch of the Global Restaurant Investment Forum in Dubai followed by the 2015 edition of the Mediterranean Resort & Hotel Real Estate Forum in Madrid. More recently it has moved into the aviation development space with the launch of the AviaDev Conference. It also partners with the British Hospitality Association on the annual British Hospitality & Tourism Summit held in London. Bench Events has recently announced a joint venture partnership with Arturo Rosa on the South American Hotel Investment Conference (SAHIC) for Latin America.

Bench Events is an industry platform for growth, networking and thought leadership around the globe.  www.benchevents.com