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Marc Descrozaille

Area Vice President Sub Saharan Africa
The Rezidor Hotel Group

Simone Kuhn

Business Development, Africa & Indian Ocean Islands
The Rezidor Hotel Group

Ivo Ullman

Senior Director for Technical Development
The Rezidor Hotel Group

Tejas Shah

Development Director - Sub Saharan Africa
Hyatt International South West Asia Ltd

A Chartered Accountant by profession, Tejas is a thirteen-year Hyatt veteran, currently based in Nairobi for over a year and focusing Hyatt’s expansion efforts across the Sub-Saharan African region.

He began his career as an Accounts Executive in the Shared Service Centre in Mumbai in 2002. In April 2004, he was selected as Operations Analyst based in the corporate office in Mumbai.

He is part of the Hyatt’s Development team since 2007.  Prior to being selected as Development Director for Africa, Tejas served as Development Director in Gurgaon, India and handled varied markets in South Asia.

Geri Wessels

Director Development, Sub-Saharan Africa
Hilton Worldwide

Upon her return to South Africa in 2013, Geri gained valuable experience by conducting market studies in Africa as a hospitality analyst. She joined Hilton Worldwide a few months later as part of the sub-Saharan Africa Development team to assist in realizing the growing number of opportunities on the continent. Prior to this, she spent 5 years in the United Arab Emirates focusing on the Middle East and North Africa hotel markets. She holds a Bachelor degree in Finance and an Honours degree in Marketing from Stellenbosch University. Geri is passionate about photography and experiencing new cultures and enjoys exploring destinations which are off the beaten track.

Othmane Jabri

Associate Vice President, Mergers & Acquisitions
Kingdom Hotel Investments

Samantha Muna

Business Development Manager
HVS Africa

Samantha has ten years of hospitality investment advisory focusing on feasibility and market studies, facility planning and design, and hotel asset management, having practiced first in Boston, MA then in Nairobi, Kenya.  In May 2013, she joined HVS as the Business Development Manager focused on the East and Central African Market based in Nairobi, Kenya. In 2010, she co-founded Trianum Hospitality Limited, a consulting and management company focuses on the extended stay and serviced apartment market in Nairobi, Kenya. Prior to that, she worked for ten years in hotel operations in food and beverage, conference and banquets, front office, housekeeping and sales and marketing.  She holds a Masters degree in Hospitality Management from Cornell University, USA and a Bachelors degree in International Hospitality Management from Hotel School Les Roches, Switzerland. She is an associate member of the International Society of Hospitality Consultants (ISHC) and a member of the Cornell Hotel Society, Kenya Chapter.

Hassan Ahdab

Vice President and Regional Director of Operations for Africa and the Indian Ocean
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide

Brian Rafferty

Vice President Technical Services & Projects – Africa
Moevenpick Hotels & Resorts

Worked in the Hospitality industry sine 1987 predominately in Engineering & Development however Brian had an 8 year spell as a General Manager in South Africa with Sun International both at Sun City and Swaziland which gives him a unique perspective of hotel operations.

Born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1960, Brian relocated to South Africa in 1984, he entered the hospitality industry with Sun International at the Sun City Resort in 1987 where he worked until 2002 when he moved with Sun International to Swaziland as General Manager of 2 Hotels at the Royal Swazi Spa Resort. Brian then moved to Dubai with the Jumeirah group in 2006 as Director of Engineering at the Madinat Jumeirah Resort, by the time he left Jumeirah at the end of 2013 Brian had reached the level of Vice President of Engineering & Projects, he currently holds the position of Vice President of Technical Services & Project at Movenpick Hotels & Resorts responsible for the properties in Africa.

Brian has extensive knowledge in the refurbishment of hotels having lead project teams in the refurbishment of numerous luxury hotels, he also has a passion for energy management.

Bridget Baker

Managing Director
Bridget Baker Consulting

Bridget Baker has spent more than 30 years in the hospitality business.  She worked in the operations side of the industry in the UK and France for more than a decade before joining the hotel & leisure consultancy team at PKF London in 1990.  Bridget worked at the City firm for 13 years and was the in-house specialist on the MICE market.   She then spent, two years at a chartered surveying firm before setting up her own consultancy – Bridget Baker Consulting Ltd - in January 2006.

Bridget has undertaken hundreds of consultancy projects throughout the UK, Europe, the Middle East and Africa for a range of clients including hotel chains, conference centre operators, governmental/public sector organisations and funding institutions.  Significant engagements in the MICE market in recent years include projects in Nigeria, Bahrain, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, Morocco, Turkey and leading UK cities.

Raphael Kuuchi

Vice President Africa
International Air Transport Association (IATA),

Raphael Kuuchi is the IATA Vice President for Africa. He has many years’ experience in air transport management, operations and consulting. After working with an airline in various senior management positions for over a decade, he moved to the Nairobi-based African Airlines Association (AFRAA) in 2005, as Commercial Director and later as Director Commercial, Corporate and Industry Affairs.

In February 2014, he joined IATA as Vice President for Africa. In this role Mr. Kuuchi is leading the IATA Africa team in providing support to the growth and development of aviation and working with governments and stakeholders to ensure safe, reliable, competitive and environmentally sustainable aviation business in Africa. Top on his priority list are issues of safety and security, liberalization, reducing the high cost of operations, regulatory harmonization, capacity building and the environment.

Mr. Kuuchi holds an MBA from Henley Management College, UK and a B.Sc. degree in Business Administration. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (FCILT) UK.

Nikita Zhuravlev

Real Estate Professional Association

Dmitry Kolesnikov

Chairman of the Board
Cronwell Hotels & Resorts

Lyudmila Soldatova

HR Business Partner
Siemens Healthcare

Marina Pochinok

Chief Executive Officer

Jonathan Ledgard

Head of Afrotech Project
Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)

Jonathan LEDGARD is a leading thinker on advanced technology, risk, and nature in emerging economies. Since 2013, he has been director of the future Africa initiative at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne – EPFL (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne). He leads a consortium of leading roboticists, architects, and logisticians who seek to build the first droneport in the world in Africa in 2016. This droneport will service the first of many low altitude cargo drone routes on the continent. Jonathan spent two decades as an award-winning frontline foreign correspondent for The Economist reporting lead stories from over 50 countries and several wars - for the last decade was Africa correspondent. His second novel Submergence was a New York Times Book of 2013. It is being adapted by Hollywood.

Xander Nijnens

Senior Vice President, Head of Hotels & Hospitality Group, Sub-Saharan Africa

Xander is Head of JLL’s Hotels & Hospitality Group in Sub-Saharan Africa and leads assignments and projects in the region. Xander focuses on delivering Strategic Advisory, Investment Sales, Financing and Asset Management services to local, regional and global clients across the region.
Xander has over 11 years of experience in hotel advisory, investment and operations in 20+ countries in Africa and the Indian Ocean region. His broad range of hotel experience includes corporate finance, capital markets, asset management, strategy and development and he has wide experience across all market segments from budget to luxury hotels. 
Xander joined the team at JLL in January 2015, prior to which he was managing director of a third party hotel operator with various global brands under management in South Africa. Previous appointments include Asset Manager and Chief Analyst at Africa’s first real estate investment trust specialised in hotels and Consultant at Horwath HTL. He is a graduate of Hotel School The Hague and has further education in real estate, company law and finance.

Alexander Orlov

Chief Executive Officer
Bulldozer Group

Nikolay Galyanov

HR Director

Alexander Samodurov

Vice President
NAI Becar

Александр Самодуров работал  топ-менеджером  в крупных зарубежных компаниях, имеет богатый практический опыт в таких сферах, как проектирование, финансирование, строительство и девелопмент объектов недвижимости различного назначения. Также Александр специализируется в управлении крупными командами специалистов и организации внутренних бизнес-процессов компании, маркетинге.
В сфере гостиничного бизнеса г-н Самодуров успешно развивает гостиничную сеть  апарт-отелей VERTICAL,   концепция которой предполагает большие  инвестиционные возможности.  
Владеет английским, испанским, итальянским, немецким и французским языками.

Mr. Samodurov worked worldwide as a top manager in large international development companies, has wide experience in real estate development and management. Now he develops buy-to-let aparthotels VERTICAL.
He speaks English, Spanish, Italian, German and French.

Marina Tarnopolskaya

Managing Partner
“Agency Contact”

Marina Tarnopolskaya — managing partner of headhunting company "Agency Contact", existing on the market since 1990 and has been providing Executive Search and Management Selection in various industries. Marina works in the Agency for over 20 years and almost pioneered recruitment. Her experience in working with financial institutions and knowledge of banking practices have always had the necessary impact on the promotion of the services of the agency. In 2002 she has independently developed a new direction for the Agency - outstaffing. Agency Contact — the exclusive representative of the international network of Executive Search agencies InterSearch. The main direction of business development Marina sees further improvement of services to Executive Search industry markets and the expansion of cooperation within the international network InterSearch.

Марина Тарнопольская — управляющий партнер хедхантинговой компании «Агентство Контакт», которая существует на рынке с 1990 года и занимается предоставлением услуг Executive Search и Management Selection  в различных отраслях экономики. Марина работает в Агентстве более 20 лет и практически стояла у истоков рекрутмента. Ее опыт работы с финансовыми институтами и знание банковской практики всегда оказывали необходимое влияние  на продвижение услуг агентства. В 2002 году она самостоятельно разработала и занялась развитием нового тогда для Агентства направления — аутстаффингом. Агентство Контакт является эксклюзивным представителем международной сети Executive Search агентств InterSearch. Основным направлением развития бизнеса Марина видит дальнейшее усовершенствование услуги Executive Search на отраслевых рынках и расширение сотрудничества в рамках международной сети InterSearch.

Nikolai Oganezov

Regional Association of Gaming Business SFD

Arkadiy Amelin

Founder and CEO

Joachim Mezger

Vice President Business Development Europe & Middle East
Interval International Ltd

Daniel Trappler

Associate - Capital Markets & Transactions
HTI Consulting

Originally from Cape Town, Daniel completed his Business Science degree at the University of Cape Town in 2004, and then went on to complete his Masters in Economics in 2006, which he completed whilst concurrently working as a junior lecturer for the economics undergraduate department . In 2007 Daniel joined JPMorgan in London, after two months training in NY, and was an analyst in their Real Estate Structured Finance team for a year. After this team collapsed in the credit crunch in 2008, Daniel joined LaSalle Investment Management in London for three years as an analyst working across various Investment Funds, focusing on all types of commercial property investments throughout the UK. In his final year at LaSalle Investment Management Daniel helped create the Special Situations Fund with the primary focus of providing mezzanine loans to buyers of commercial real estate in the UK and Europe. In 2012, Daniel moved back to South Africa and joined Jones Lang LaSalle in JHB, where he worked in the Capital Markets team, focusing on brokering Hotel transactions in the SA and Mauritian markets. Daniel joined HTI consulting, based in CT, as an Associate in April 2014 where he heads up the Transactions & Finance Raising division for hotel projects in Africa

Brett Archibald

Brett Archibald Foundation

Martin Jansen van Vuuren

Grant Thornton

Martin has extensive consulting experience and is responsible for feasibility studies, economic impact studies, financial evaluations, business valuations, market research and strategic management consulting including transaction advice.

Joram Sengendo

Private Equity Hotel Investments
CDC Group

Joram is a member of CDC’s Private Equity Team, and  focuses on Real Estate investment opportunities. CDC's equity investments team focuses on private equity and infrastructure deals in Sub-Saharan Africa & South Asia with a priority for deals that have the maximum impact on sustainable job creation in addition to high commercial returns. Joram currently sits on the Board of Directors of Garden City Nairobi, which is set to be East Africa’s largest mixed-use real estate development, holding the largest shopping mall ever built in the region.

Mike Haemmerli

Senior Vice President Development
Kempinski Hotels SA

Having gathered broad operational experience in hotels and restaurants around the world, complemented by a BSc in Hospitality Management from the Haaga Institute in Helsinki and later an MBA in Hospitality Management from IMHI (Cornell/ESSEC), Mike joined Kempinski as Development Manager in 2000. Throughout his time with the company, Mike has been instrumental in helping Kempinski achieve its ambitious growth objectives and creating a collection of truly individual hotels. In 2008, Mike was appointed as Senior Vice President Development, his mission being to spearhead the group’s continued aggressive expansion, in line with Kempinski’s strategy to position each hotel as the market leader in its destination.

Hamid Bentahar

Vice President of Operations Luxury & Upscale brands Africa and Indian Ocean

Hamid Bentahar joined the AccorHotels group in 1989. He has over 25 years of experience in luxury international hotel industry working across the globe - in seven countries: Cuba, Greece, Turkey, Tunisia, France...).

His passion for tourism made him holding a variety of senior operational positions. Previously he was Vice-President Operations Sofitel southern Europe and Africa. Actually Hamid Bentahar is the Vice-President of Operations Luxury and Upscale Brands for Africa and Indian Ocean covering the following countries : Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Ivory coast, Equatorial Guinea, Senegal, Congo, Angola, Nigeria, Indian Ocean and any further development on continental Africa and Indian Ocean.

Oiliver Jager

Co-founder & CEO
Forward Data SL

Dimitris Manikis

Vice President Business Development EMEA

Dimitris Manikis is a Shared Ownership industry veteran, having 25 years’ experience in the business.

Dimitris joined RCI straight from University.  After his initial training in RCI’s UK office, he went on to spend two and a half years in the Middle East, two years in Turkey and a year in India. During his tenure with RCI, Dimitris has held many positions throughout the EMEA region including Managing Director for RCI’s South Eastern region and also Managing Director of RCI Africa.  Today Dimitris oversees an extensive Business Development team spanning three business regions and spends most of his time in the air and on the road, visiting RCI clients and his team in local markets.

When he’s not travelling, he heads home to Athens to spend time with his wife and two teenage daughters and enjoys spending time at his own timeshare on the Greek island of Paros.

Daniel Levine

The Avant-Guide Institute

Daniel Levine ( is one of the world's best-known trends experts. He is regularly featured in newspapers and magazines around the world and is often on television and radio, including CNN, NBC and others. Today, Daniel is the director of the Avant-Guide Institute trends consultancy, the Global Editor of the popular social trends website, and the leader of a large international team of trend spotters – over 9000 researchers who chronicle the latest ideas, products and experiences from around the globe. As a corporate consultant Mr. Levine helps companies and destinations be more innovative and profitable.

Jan-Willem den Ridder

Vice President Development
Wyndham Hotel Group

A career professional in the International hotel business. Operational experience with Hilton International in London and Intercontinental Hotels Amstel Hotel in the Netherlands. Senior Hotel development assignments with IHG based in Brussels, Dolce Hotels and Resorts and more than 15 years as Vice President development for Marriott International based in London. A Cornell School of Hotel Administration Bachelors and an Amsterdam School of Real Estate Master degree graduate.

Alejandro Hernández- Puértolas

Chief Executive Officer
HI Partners

Robert Koren

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
Vice President and Regional Director Southern Europe

Ezio Poinelli


EZIO POINELLI, Director at HVS in Milan. More than 17 years experience in Hospitality, Real Estate, and Leisure Real Estate markets in Europe, Caribbean, Latin America, and South Africa. Before joining HVS, Ezio  was Head of Southern Europe at Northcourse Advisory Services, the hospitality and real estate consulting arm of Wyndham Worldwide.  He was also Head of Expansion & International Development at Compañia de Las Islas Occidentales and Director - Head of Real Estate and Hospitality at Ernst & Young Financial Business Advisors in Milan. Native of Italy, graduate in Economics and Business Administration, Master in Tourism Economics, fluent in Italian, Spanish, and English. Ezio specialized in advising on mixed use resort developments, hotel operator research and sales & marketing advisory for luxury residences and condohotels, appraisals, due diligence support for acquisition of hotels, resorts and portfolios, project feasibility, positioning and product design, M&A, fund raising.

Julio Delgado

Chief Executive Officer
PGA Catalunya Resort

CEO and Asset Manager of PGA Catalunya Resort, near Barcelona.  Luxury Real Estate and Resort Development, Hotel, two top Golf Courses (ranking 1st golf course in Spain and 3rd in Europe) among other facilities. Best Golf Resort Development in Europe in 2013 and 2014, by the International Property Awards by Virgin Atlantic. Best Resort in Europe 2014 by the International Golf Tour Operators.

Luxury real Estate development (villas up to 3, 5 million €). Sales and Marketing Plan. Operational Plan and development of the infrastructure and services of the Resort. Conceptualization of the Real estate model/product.

Hotel supervision from the Management Company, with the goal of taking over from them, upgrading and repositioning the hotel product. Purchasing agreement with the local shareholder, coordination of the upgrade and refurbishment of the hotel (from 4 to 5 star standards). Negotiations with the international Hotel companies.

Two of the finest Golf facilities in Europe, with the largest Practice facilities in the industry. Best Golf Course of Spain 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Development of the strategic Plan for the Resort, ensuring the optimization of the value of the business and asset. Development and implementation of a new management model, and Marketing and Sales structure.

Development of the Master Plan of the northern area of the resort. Conceptualization, feasibility and development of new facilities such as new 5 star Boutique hotel, racket centre, football centre, horse riding centre and new real estate development.

Leading the resort to face the process for achieving major golf events such as Ryder Cup 2022 and Spanish Open 2014 and Qualifying School from European Tour, among others.

Steven Daines

Chief Executive Officer - HotelServices Northern Europe, Russia & CIS

Aged 46, Steven is of both British and French nationalities. He is a graduate of the University of Geneva and holds an MBA in Hospitality Management from ESSEC.

Steven started his career with Accor in 1994. He joined the Group via Compagnie des Wagons-lits where he held various operational positions in France and internationally between 1994 and 2005. He then switched to Accor's Hotel Operations and in 2008 he was appointed Managing Director for Accor’s economic brands in Latin America, based in Sao Paulo. Since 2012, he was Managing Director Ibis Budget and HotelF1 France.

On April 29th 2014, he was appointed CEO Accor HotelServices for Northern Europe, Russia and CIS, and member of the Accor Executive Committee.

Isador Martinez de la Escalera

Chief Marketing Officer
NH Hotel Group

Isidoro Martinez de la Escalera (Barcelona, 1965) studied Engineering at the E.T.S.I.I. of the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid and has a PDD (Management Development Program) from the IESE Business School.

He has held leading responsibilities in the areas of General Management and Marketing in multinational companies operating in the fast moving consumer goods sector. He has also developed a career as digital entrepreneur in the role of founding partner of the PR agency QMS and in the digital marketing agency, MultiPlatform Content.

In November 2014 he joined NH Hotel Group  as Chief Marketing Officer where he is currently responsible for leading the Company’s global marketing and online sales channels strategy.

Walter C. Neumann

Chief Executive Officer

Walter C. Neumann has almost 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry in Russia and Europe. He joins AZIMUT Hotels from Rocco Forte Hotels where he was General Director for the Rocco Forte Hotel Astoria and Angleterre Hotel in St. Petersburg. Prior to that, he worked in Germany in senior management positions with Lindner Hotels, the Arabella Sheraton Group, and as Managing Director of the Travel Charme Hotels & Resorts chain. His experience in Russia also includes work at the Grand Hotel Europe in St. Petersburg. Mr. Neumann holds an MBA in tourist management.

Walter Neumann, CEO of AZIMUT Hotels: “My work will be focused on maintaining an ambitious pace of development for the Company through a large-scale renovation program for key hotels in the AZIMUT chain and a series of new hotel projects currently under development in Russia and Europe”.

Mario Ferreira

Chief Executive Officer
NAU Hotels & Resorts

Julian Houchin

Commercial Director
iO Management

Julian is commercial director with iO Management, an investment vehicle established in June 2006 for the acquisition, development and long term operation of luxury resorts in Croatia.

The company acquired Sun Gardens, Dubrovnik, Croatia's premier 5 Star Luxury Resort in 2008 and has positioned the resort to compete with other leading luxury resorts in Europe.  The company have also achieved one of the most successful resort real estate sales and rental management programmes in south-eastern Europe today.

Prior to joining iO Adria in 2007, Julian was with Cendant Corporation, (now Wyndham Worldwide) where he held the roles of Managing Director, business development for NorthCourse Leisure Real Estate Solutions - an advisory business supporting resort developers and investors on mixed use hotel and shared ownership real estate developments; Vice President sales, RCI Europe - the world's largest vacation exchange and membership business, and Managing Director, Hotel Dynamics, a membership business designed to create and operate bespoke food and beverage loyalty platforms for some of the leading hotel/hospitality brands in Europe and the Middle East.

Prior to joining Cendant, Julian held several senior sales and marketing roles within the luxury hotel and tourism industry with The Rezidor Hotel Group, Abercrombie & Kent, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts and Trusthouse Forte Hotels.

Arnaldo Muñoz

General Manager Spain & Portugal

Since April 2015 Arnaldo Muñoz is general manager for Spain and Portugal of Airbnb.  Before Airbnb, Arnaldo was CEO of  Previously, he held the positions of Senior Vice President and CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) of Vistaprint Europe, Vice President for Europe of and CEO for Southern Europe of the airline Easyjet.  His extensive experience also includes other positions of responsibility in local and international sales and marketing at companies such as Procter & Gamble, Nike and Puig.
Arnaldo Muñoz has a degree in Economics from the University of Barcelona, and also has an MBA from the University of Houston.  Arnaldo is also a member of the Academic Committee and director of the Barcelona Digital Accelerator Center Institute for the Development of Internet (ISDI).  In addition to Spanish, he speaks Catalan, English and French.

Tom Mundy

National Director, Head of Research

Marina Franolic

Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Adria Hotel Forum

Marina Franolic is the founder of Proficiscor Ltd, a tourism Development Company that includes the following projects: Adria Hotel Forum and Adria Luxury. The Adria Hotel Forum is an international hotel investment conference for the southeastern Europe region while the Adria Luxury is a brand for Exclusive concierge services within the Adriatic.

Ms. Franolic began her career in tourism at the Glion Institute of Higher Education and the Hotel Savoy, Rocco Forte group, in Florence. Prior to establishing her own projects, she has been working for several years in real estate development and a leading architectural company in the capacity of General Manager.

Joelle Mottier

Event Coordinator
Bench Events

This Is Joelles bio

Horacio Alcala

Managing Director

Eng. Hani Ali Abdulla Khamis

Hani Group

Eng. Hani Ali Abdulla Khamis a modern-day visionary who navigated his company into the vital force that it is today. From his vision of change which has shrewdly transformed idle lands into successful developments, he has evolved into a connoisseur in other industries. Thus, wielding his influence on local business in one way or another, and opening doors to new lifestyles that are worth experiencing. Mr. Hani Khamis, received his Engineering Degree from South Bank University, London and developed a strong sense of passion and devotion for design, development and construction which gradually evolved into luxury lifestyle developments.

Sultan Al Otaibi

Head of Real Estate development
Dur Hospitality

Mr. Sultan Al Otaibi is the youngest most powerful hotelier in Saudi Arabia at the helm of a hotel operation commanding 10 properties varied between 5 and 4 star hotels, resorts and high end residential compound. He started as an accountant for Dur Hospitality, Formally known for Sharaco, the Saudi hotels and Resorts Company, which he lived up in several management positions to become a Head of Real estate development. This journey earned him the recognition to be # 25 of the Hotelier Middle East power 50. Additionally, he is member of the board of directors, Hotel Services Company, member of the hospitality committee of Riyadh chamber of commerce and member of the consultant committee for hotels of Saudi commission for tourism and antiquities (SCTA).

Damien Rizzi

Asset Manager (MENA Region)
Colliers International

In Colliers, Damien is working primarily with four and five stars hotels, currently looking after a portfolio of hotels in UAE, Algeria, Qatar, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. He has worked in the hotel industry for the past 16 years, starting his career in operational roles with Starwood and Marriott in Europe. As a project manager in Mexico, Damien developed an independent 4 star hotel into a 5 star condominium. He then moved to France, where he managed an ultra-luxury 20 rooms’ castle, developing and improving the Castle Services. The property was purchased and Damien moved to the buyer’s main property in Montana where he was F&B manager, overlooking three restaurants and private events. Later on, Damien moved to Dubai as hospitality consultant with an edge in F&B. As project manager, he helped investors and owners in concept development, F&B operational audit, due diligence and project management. He then worked for Meraas in F&B projects, helping them to create their F&B portfolio and bringing brands from Turkey and UK to Dubai. Damien brings with him a unique skill set combining analytical thinking with operational exposure.

Mohammed Al Rais

Hill International
Regional President Middle East

Mohammed Al Rais has 35 years of experience in the management of construction
projects throughout the Middle East, North Africa, the United Kingdom and Canada.
Presently, Mr. Al Rais is heading the Middle East operations of Hill International in
the capacity of Regional President Middle East, where he is responsible for the
strategic direction of the company’s operations in the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar,
Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Oman and Yemen. Under Mr. Al Rais’s
leadership, Hill International has been successful in identifying new marketplaces
across the Middle East; diversifying its client base and extending its operations in
Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi in particular. Mr. Al Rais also oversees the operational
delivery of Hill’s expanding portfolio of real estate, hospitality and infrastructure
projects, including monitoring KPIs and ensuring client satisfaction. He directs the
executive management and technical teams in all aspect of these projects. He has
supervised the delivery of a range of large-scale, highly-complex, multi-stakeholder
developments such as the program management of Dubai International Airport
Expansion. Mr. Al Rais earned a B.Sc. in City & Regional Planning and a M.Sc. in
Project Management from the University of Reading, UK

Hon. Minister Navin Dissanayake

Minister Tourism and Sports
Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

Navin is a highly motivated individual with a wide range of experience as a professional Lawyer, Policy Maker, Entrepreneur and a Cabinet Minister. He  is currently the Cabinet Minister in charge of Tourism and Sports which involves the changing of attitudes, structures and motivating key public servants towards achieving policy objectives of the Government. He has given leadership to many government policy initiatives. Therefore he is able to look at issues critically and bring about institutional processes that will create a better environment to achieve optimum results from public and private institutions. Navin considers it critical to bring effective teams that will deliver results and has been able to create and obtain such results from bringing such teams together.

Eric Perino

Director, Business Development, Real Estate
Dubai World Central

Eric Perino is the Director of Business Development for Real Estate at Dubai World Central. In this role he is responsible for devising and implementing strategies and products to promote real estate development within DWC. In his current role, he has successfully negotiated development agreements for four hotel plots near the new Al Maktoum International Airport passenger terminal and led the re-launch of plot sales at the Residential District.
With eleven years of experience in real estate investment, development and consulting, Eric has served as Head of Market Research and Business Development at DWC, where he also promoted real estate development within DWC. Before that, he was a Manager in Real Estate Transaction Advisory Services for Ernst & Young, where he advised developers and governments on real estate projects across 25 countries.
Eric holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Economy from the University of California – Berkeley and a Master’s degree in International Affairs from Columbia University in New York.

Al Tareq Al Ameri

Chief Executive Officer
Yas Marina Circuit

Mr Al Tareq Al Ameri is the Chief Executive Officer of Abu Dhabi Motorsport Management (ADMM).  A specialist in corporate revitalisation, Mr Al Ameri is responsible for leading and implementing the strategic vision of the company and for developing and nurturing its sustained growth. As well as oversight of ADMM’s sustainable motorsports and community engagement agenda in the UAE, Mr Al Ameri is also responsible for successfully building its international profile.
He joined ADMM in 2012 as Commercial Director and was charged with implementing an updated commercial framework and the redevelopment of its financial policy. His portfolio included Yas Marina Circuit’s business development activity and its market positioning agenda.
Mr Al Ameri’s career has also included senior roles within Abu Dhabi Aviation, where he spent nine years. Prior to joining ADMM, he was a member of the board of directors at Abu Dhabi Aviation, where his remit included oversight of commercial operations, and providing strategic guidance and support on a senior level.

An Emirati, Mr Al Ameri was educated in his home city of Abu Dhabi, and holds both a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Science in Engineering Management, as well as and an Executive MBA from Higher Colleges of Technology.

Mohamed Aseel

Deputy Managing Director
Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC)

Mohamed Aseel is the Chairman of Housing Development Corporation (HDC) and Deputy Managing Director of Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC), both corporations are wholly owned by the Government of the Maldives. Aseel holds a Bachelor’s Degree with Honours in Business from the UK, Early in his career he has worked in Ministry of Trade & Economic development and in Bank of Maldives PLC.
As the Deputy Managing Director; he is responsible for identifying and attracting potential tourism investments into Maldives. He is also responsible for planning, managing and implementation of integrated resort project in Maldives; Integrated Resort Projects will responsibly diversity the tourism product of Maldives to the mid-market segment with social and economic development for the region.
Additionally, Aseel is the Chairman of Housing Development Corporation. HDC is mandated with the development of Hulhumale’ Island; the most ambitious land reclaimed development project in the Maldives.

Harry Johnson

Chief Officer Asset Management

Harry Johnson brings over three decades of experience in the hotel industry with a focus in asset management, financial management and development. His previous assignments include Senior Director, Asset Management for Majid Al Futtaim (MAF), Senior Asset Manager for Longwing (Dubai Holdings) as well as a clear track record in Hotel JV Development in Asia. He has been intimately involved in opening hotels and luxury hospitality focused mixed-use projects in Asia, America and the Middle East. He has also been involved in and led the asset management of significant hotel portfolios. As Chief Asset Management Officer, Harry will bring to the business his experience in the region which goes back over twenty years in all hotel market segments with a solid background in asset management, JV structuring and co-development agreements, hotel sale transactions, development and redevelopment of iconic properties, operator selection, management agreement negotiation and litigation, strategic planning and risk management.

In Dubai, his responsibilities included rebranding of existing properties, asset re-structuring, and development underwriting and termination agreements for Hotels, Restaurants and Mixed Use Developments. Mall and Retail integration and various models of mixed use development has been a focus together with performance maximization. Mr. Johnson has worked for worldwide hotel chains such as Hilton Hotels International, Holiday Inns Inc., Peninsula Hotels, Langham Hotels and Dubai Holding which owns the majority of Jumeirah Hotel’s portfolio including iconic properties such as Bur Al Arab, Emirates Towers, and the Essex House Hotel in New York City.

His credentials include a major in Hospitality Management and Finance from Manchester University Hollings Faculty after which he was awarded full membership of the Institute of Hospitality. He is a past president of the HCIMA Hong Kong Chapter, past Member of the Advisory Board of Hong Kong Polytechnic University Hotel School, and Fellow of the Institute of Hospitality. He is also a Founding Fellow member of the HK Hotel Controllers Association For the Middle East & Africa Johnson is Board member of the most reputable & international non-profit organization HAMA MEA – Hospitality Asset Managers Association

Andrew Lindley

Chief Financial Officer
ABJAR Hotels International

Andrew Lindley began his career at the Forte Hotel Group in the UK and subsequently MacDonald Hotels with various roles culminating as a Regional Financial Controller whilst also a key member of the ERP implementation team for the 52 hotel estate. Andrew then joined 20:20 Mobile in April 2002 as Financial Controller of 20:20 Logistics. He was subsequently appointed Finance Director Middle East in April 2010 after 8 years with 2020 Mobile based in the UK including positions of; Associate Director of Finance, Commercial Manager and Treasury Manager and was on the team who assisted the sale of the business in 2013. Andrew is now the CFO of Abjar Hotels International, a hotel management subsidiary of the Almulla family business which owns 9 hotels in Dubai. He is qualified ACMA and CGMA and holds a BA (Hons) degree in Accounting and Economics from Reading University. He established relationships with external institutions, banks, credit agencies, and auditors and supports the CEO and Group Director of Operations on all contract and commercial negotiations. Andrew enjoys skiing, music and spending time with his family and is also on the Steering Committee of the MECA CFO Alliance in the UAE

Micaela Juarez

Director of Commercial Events

Micaela Giacobbe is director of commercial events for Travel Weekly Group, spearheading the launch of the next generation of events called Connections.  Connections Luxury is an international, senior, invitation-only, all-inclusive experiential event providing the top luxury travel buyers and suppliers with memorable meetings and experiences that lead to long lasting business relationships.  Prior to joining Travel Weekly Group Micaela developed and successfully launched Decision Makers TV and spent 14 years with Reed Exhibitions where she was head of marketing & communications for World Travel Market. She is a specialist in branding, identity and strategic corporate restructuring and development of new product ranges.

Kenny Picken

President and Group MD

Kenny Picken is the president and Traveltek Group Managing Director, founding the company in 2002, having previously worked in the global telecommunications and computer networks industries. A keen pioneer of travel innovation, Kenny has steered Traveltek through a series of first to market initiatives which have seen Traveltek become an award winning global player in travel automation.

Ian Taylor

Executive Director
Travel Weekly Group

Ian Taylor is executive editor of Travel Weekly Group, reporting online and in print for Travel Weekly and Travel Weekly Business:am and producing Travel Weekly Insight. He is a career journalist who has worked in travel for most of the last 15 years. Ian helped to devise the scenarios for the UK industry’s Tourism 2023 project. He has extensive freelance experience on newspapers and magazines.

Daniela Wagner

Director - International Partnerships
Connecting Travel

Daniela Wagner is Director of International Partnerships of Connecting Travel, the new global business community for the travel & tourism industry launched this year by the Travel Weekly Group. She has a demonstrable track record of outstanding achievement within the travel industry and has had great success  growing businesses due to her commercial creativity and has applied her entrepreneurial and interpersonal skills very effectively in large corporate and start-up environments. Fluent in both German and French, she has an extensive network of top-level industry contacts around the globe .

Helen Hangari

Senior Legal Consultant
DLA Piper

Helen is an experienced real estate lawyer having trained with a 'magic circle' firm in their London office and worked post qualification with them both in London and Dubai. Helen joined DLA Piper in April 2007.
Helen specialises in commercial real estate matters and has particular experience in the hotel sector including hotel management arrangements, mixed use development projects, sales and acquisitions and landlord and tenant matters.  Helen spent part of 2011 and 2013 on secondment to the legal team at Marriott International Inc in their Dubai office.

Gabriel Escarrer

Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Melia Hotels International

Graduated in Finance and Business Management at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and post-graduated from ESADE, Gabriel Escarrer Jaume joined Meliá Hotels International-founded by his father in 1956- after working for three years in Salomon Brothers investment Bank in New York.
After participating in the successful IPO of the company in 1996, he led a strong International expansion and also a cultural and technological transformation, providing Meliá with greater financial strength to compete in the increasingly complex environment of the International tourism sector.
After being appointed as the Group’s Vice Chairman & CEO, he has approved and led several Strategic Plans that are successfully taking the Company to a more International and Competitive stage.

Abdullah Al Jehani

Special Advisor to the President
Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities

Abdullah has had a long and distinguished career associated with the Kingdom’s travel and tourism sectors. He spent 27 years in increasingly senior roles with Saudi Arabian Airlines finally heading the airline’s marketing and programs activities as a Vice President . In 2005 he moved to the Saudi Commission for Tourism  and Antiquates(SCTA) and established the Makkah regional branch. In 2006, he  was appointed to  the position of SCTA  Vice President for marketing and programs, a role he held until being appointed to set up the newly-formed Saudi Conference and Exhibitions Bureau.(SECB) in may 2013 .Abdullah also  Is a Special advisor to the President of the Saudi Commission for Tourism  and Antiquates(SCTA).

Abdullah holds a degree in business administration from Arizona State University, majoring in Finance and  Marketing .

Alfredo Maria De Falco

Head of CIB Italy Network, Corporate & Investment Banking
UniCredit SpA

Alfredo has 18 years of experience in Corporate & Investment Banking.

He started his career at Banca IMI in 1986 and joined UniCredit in 2007 as Co-Head of Financial Sponsors & Leveraged Finance Italy.
In 2009 he was appointed Head of Corporate Structured Finance Italy and afterwards Head of Financing & Advisory Italy with responsibility on Corporate Structured Finance, Acquisition Finance, Corporate Lending, Capital Structure Advisory, Real Estate Finance and Advisory.

Starting from February 2014, he has been appointed Head of CIB Italy Network.

Alfredo did undergraduate studies at Warwick University and Federico II University of Naples and  graduated with honours in Economics in January 1994.
He got a Doctorate degree in Business Administration and Corporate Governance jointly from Universities of Rome, Naples and Verona, and is Professor of Acquisition & Leveraged Finance at Bocconi University in Milan (Master in Corporate Finance).

Viviane Khoury

Regional Sales & Marketing Director
Golden Tulip MENA

Graduated from UNIVERSITY OF SAINT ESPRIT KASLIK- LEBANON in Sales & Marketing, working in the hospitality industry since 2005 with various local chains, joined Golden Tulip in 2008 as Sales Manager for Golden Tulip Hotels in the UAE, to move after and join Golden Tulip MENA region head office as the Regional Director of Marketing in 2010, working closely with the S&M teams of the each Golden Tulip property Providing the planning and leadership to the Marketing Department by ensuring that the appropriate structures, systems, competencies and values are developed in order to meet and exceed the goals of the Marketing plan .
Since 2010 Viviane has assisted in many hotels openings across the MENA region and in re-branding many Golden Tulip, Tulip Inn & Royal Tulip Hotels.

Ramine Behnam

Associate Hotels & Hospitality Group

As part of JLL’s Hotels & Hospitality Group based in Dubai, Ramine leads advisory assignments across the Middle East and Africa regions. His role entails the management of Feasibility Studies, Asset Reviews and Strategic Consulting mandates supported by a team of experienced Analysts. He ultimately delivers in-depth knowledge of the regions and industry to guide the decision-making process of Hospitality Investors, Developers and Operators.

Ramine has eight years of experience working on landmark projects and developing business across the GCC, North African countries and Sub-Saharan Africa, including leisure resorts, city centre/corporate hospitality, mixed-use developments, office buildings, shopping centres and residential master-plans.

Having previously worked for the M.A. Kharafi Group of Kuwait, Ramine was part of the Development and Asset Management team covering thirty properties across the Middle East and Africa in partnership with major Hotel Operators. Prior to this, he was based in London working for Marriott International through its Management Programme.

Ramine holds Bachelors degrees in International Tourism Development as well as Hospitality Management from the Vatel Institute in Paris, France. He is fluent in English and French and has good Arabic and Spanish working knowledge.

Chris Gregory

Display Sales Manager - Middle East & Africa
Trip Advisor

Chris is TripAdvisor’s Middle East & Africa Sales Manager and has been with the business  since December 2013, Chris is responsible for driving TripAdvisor’s continued growth in the region and is tasked with ensuring TripAdvisor remains a key partner for MEA based travel and hospitality clients. He is also responsible for expanding the regional office here in Dubai which now stands at 3 people already in 2015.

Prior to TripAdvisor, Chris had been working for Abu Dhabi Media Company having moved across from London in 2012 where he spent 5 years working for BSKYB after joining as a graduate. Chris brings with him over 9 years of experience working with both media agencies and clients direct to leverage digital and traditional advertising mediums such as sponsorship, video on demand and mobile.

Jawad Khan

Head of Debt & Capital Advisory Service (MENA region)

Jawad has 15 years of experience in raising; refinancing; and restructuring debt for clients in Europe and Middle East. He currently leads the PwC Debt & Capital Advisory team in the MENA region, advising and raising funds for clients through a multitude of means including debt and capital markets
In the last 12 months, he has successfully raised multi billion Dirham financing across various industries and debt forms
Jawad’s experience has been accumulated both in an advisory capacity with PwC and executory capacity (where he headed up the Finance Function of a large Middle Eastern corporate), which allows for a unique insight into how excellence can be achieved whilst being pragmatic
Jawad has experience of working with mid to large corporates (distressed or otherwise) allowing him to tailor "best practice" for a given situation. He has undertaken numerous independent financial and strategic reviews for a variety of businesses and well versed in contingency planning.
Jawad has advised a range of banks and corporate clients on stakeholder and situational management, allowing him to understand key motivating factors
Recognised as a strong negotiator, Jawad has an extensive network of financiers, which allows him to achieve the desired outcome for clients
His recent experience includes raising finance for corporates in the Real Estate, education, retail and manufacturing sectors.‎ He has also helped clients in developing long term strategy and corporate governance modules.

Amit Kaushal

Executive Director
Goldmans Sachs

Markus Keller

Deputy Senior Vice President Global Sales and Distribution

With more than 20 years of hotel experience in various operational roles from front line through senior management and corporate positions in five countries, Markus is currently Deputy Senior Vice President, Global Sales and Distribution based in Paris.

Markus joined Accor in 2004 in Sydney before moving to Shanghai as Director of Distribution, Greater China in 2006.  He was responsible for deploying and training Accor distribution systems, pricing and revenue management strategy, developing cooperation with online travel agencies and developing Accor’s e-commerce strategy.  In 2008, he took over regional sales offices in China and Hong Kong, opened a new sales office in Taipei, building intra- and extra-regional business flows from the Greater China market.

Markus moved to Singapore in 2011 to take up a newly created role as the Regional Director Sales & Distribution Asia Pacific, working across 18-countries and the Accor worldwide organization to meet the business needs into and out of the region.  Markus was promoted Vice President Sales & Distribution Asia Pacific in January 2013, before moving to his current position in January 2015.

Markus is 40 years old and holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Western Australia.

Sebaa Orabi

Head of Discipline - Interior Design
SSH Design

Sebaa joined SSH in 2010 as an Interior Designer and led a team of Architects and Interior Designers on a wide range of projects from cultural, commercial, residential, educational, hospitality and retail. Sebaa is now Head of Discipline - Interior Design currently leading on all SSH’s interior design work.

Sebaa has 10 years of experience in Interior Architecture, designing interior spaces and producing FF&E (Furniture, Fixtures and Equipment) Manuals from early concept design to tender stages.

Sebaa obtained a Master’s degree (Hons) in Architectural Management and Design and was selected as the number one student in a rigorous program that bridges Design and Management from I.E. University in Spain with the collaboration of The Royal College of Art in London.

Shane Moore

Executive Director, Real Estate Banking, Middle East & Africa
Standard Chartered Bank

Shane has 11 years experience in Banking and Corporate Finance throughout North America, Europe and The Middle-East. Shane joined Standard Chartered Bank in his current role in 2012 to develop the Bank’s Real Estate offering. Shane was previously with Deloitte, in their Corporate Finance team, where he helped expand their Debt & Capital Advisory platform in Ireland, advising on a variety of cross-border transactions including capital raisings, restructurings and FIG M&A transactions throughout Ireland, the UK and continental Europe across the Real Estate, Hotel & Leisure, Manufacturing and Financial Services industries. Shane holds a Bachelor of Laws Degree (LL.B) from University College Galway, a Bachelor of Business & Legal Studies Degree (BBLS) from University College Dublin, a Certificate in International Treasury Management from the Association of Corporate Treasurers and a Certificate in Islamic Finance from CIMA.

Jerad Bachar

Managing Director - Consultancy
Nasaafir Solutions

Jerad has over 11 years of destination marketing experience and 13 years of hotel and convention center experience.  He has worked in the GCC for the past seven years including five years as the Director of Business Tourism at the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing.  He is currently serving as a strategic advisor to government organizations within the GCC to develop their business events sector.

Teddy Zhang

Managing Director
The Thayer Group

Mr. Zhang is the Managing Director of Thayer Lodging Group where his responsibilities including overseeing over $ 4 billion hotel real estate asset. He was the asset manager for the Ritz-Calrton Hotel Group after Thayer and Marriott joint acquired the company. Mr. Zhang also held various executives position with Accor, Marriott, Hilton in the US.
In 2001, Mr. Zhang was ranked the “Top Financial Executives in the US” by US <<CFO & Controller>>. In 2008, he was selected as the one of the most influential CEOs in the travel distribution industry in China. He was also featured as one of the “60 years, 60 People, 60 stories” by China Daily 60th anniversary special Edition in commemorating the establishment of People’s Repbulic of China. Mr. Zhang also spearheaded China’s first SOE public company privatization of NYSE list Co, Interstate Hotels and Resorts, the largest 3rd party independent hotel management company in the world. In 2010, Mr. Zhang was ranked as the one of the Top 10 CEOs in China by China CEO Forum.
Mr. Zhang is the visiting professor of Cornell Hotel School. He is also the special advisor the Dean of the Cornell Hotel School. Mr. Zhang was the first mainland Chinese graduated from Cornell Hotel School undergrad program and holds an MBA from the Wharton School.

Eng. Tariq Al Essa

Executive Director
Saudi Exhibition and Convention Bureau

15 years’ experience in tourism management, tourism market research, project management, business development, training and events management. Participated in the creation and management of more than 50 major events in Saudi Arabia.
In charge of managing and leading the Saudi Exhibition & Convention Bureau in order to achieve the following objectives:
Develop and implement efficient and transparent licensing policies which encourage investments in the country’s exhibition and convention sector.
Collaborate on the development of exhibition and convention venues in order to strengthen the capacity of the country, providing appropriate options for the organization of large, high quality events.
Develop and implement service standards in the Kingdom’s convention and exhibition sector to increase the quality of events.
Provide research and statistics to investors and stakeholders, including the measurement of the economic impact of the sector and its share of the GDP.
Provide career opportunities for Saudi citizens and to position the sector as an attractive option for career development.
Promote the Kingdom as viable host for regional and international exhibitions and conventions which assist in the development of country’s economic sectors.

Kristina Fischer

Associate Vice President – Business Development and Legal Services
Centara Hotels & Resorts

Kristina Fischer is the Associate Vice President of Business Development and Legal Services for Centara Hotels & Resorts (Centara). She is responsible for expanding Centara’s portfolio overseas and all legal matters of the group. Kristina has helped Centara establish an office in Shanghai and expand into other international destinations including the Middle East.
Prior to joining Centara in July 2012, she worked as a corporate commercial lawyer at Baker & McKenzie in Bangkok and at Black Dawson and Ashurst LLP in Singapore where she specialized in legal issues related to the hotel industry.
Kristina has an LLB from King’s College London and a Masters degree in International Relations from Thammasat University.

Alison Grinnell

Director – Hospitality and Leisure, Assurance Services Lead

Alison leads our Hospitality & Leisure Assurance service across the Middle East. Alison is based in Dubai, following 10 years with PwC in the UK, and prior to that with Andersen in the UK and the US. Alison has 15 years of experience within the Hospitality industry, both in an Assurance and Advisory capacity, and helped lead the Hospitality and Leisure teams in UK and Europe, and now across the Middle East. 
Alison’s experience with leading hospitality companies, both operators and owners, comprising large brand names (Ritz Carlton, Marriott, Jumeirah Group, Four Seasons, Kingdom Hotel Investments, Starwood) as well as a number of smaller boutique hotels.

Her core expertise lies in Hospitality financial and operational audits, controls reviews, operational effectiveness reviews and benchmarking studies

Panos Loupasis

Senior Development Director – Middle East & Africa
Wyndham Hotel Group Middle East

Panos, a Greek national started his career in the hospitality industry on an operational level in properties in Europe, the United States and the Middle East.

Panos, a Greek national holds a BSc in Economics from the Aristotelian University in Greece and an MBA in International Hospitality Management from IMHI, a program established by Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration.

He moved to the Middle East in 2003 as Revenue Manager for the Novotel and Ibis World Trade Centre in Dubai before moving into the field of business development with Holiday Inn Express where his contribution was instrumental for the introduction of the brand in the GCC.

In 2007 Panos joined The Rezidor Hotel Group as Regional Director of Business Development where he drove growth for Rezidor through the execution of management contracts. His most recent position was with Taameer Real Estate Investment Co where Panos undertook various tasks ranging from business development, to equity raising, asset- and project management.

Since 2011 Panos is with the Wyndham Hotel Group. His role is to drive growth in the Middle East and Africa by focusing on new markets and the introduction of new brands under both management and franchise contracts.

Ramzy Fenianos

Development Director - EMEA
Starwood Hotels & Resorts

Ramzy Fenianos is a Director – Acquisitions & Development and is responsible of overseeing Starwood Hotels and Resorts growth efforts in Middle East & Africa. . He was appointed to this position in 2010 and is based in Dubai.
Prior to his appointment at Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Ramzy was managing the Investments & Acquisitions for IFA Hotels & Resorts, an international real estate investment firm listed on the Kuwait Stock Exchange. He has a Master degree in Real Estate Finance from the Ecole Superieure des Professions Immobilieres in Paris.

Nick Skea-Strachan

Berwin Leighton Paisner

Nick provides specialist advice to clients in the hotel industry. His areas of specialisation include hotel and resort management agreements and operating contracts, technical services agreements, franchising and hotel development and investment projects. He has advised a wide range of clients including developers, investors, lenders and hotel operators.

Clients laud Nick Skea-Strachan's legal acumen and note his ability to "get the best out of a franchising deal." 
Chambers  & Partners 2014

He has negotiated management and franchise agreement deals with most of the international hotel chains, including Hilton, Marriott, Starwood, InterContinental Hotels Group, Accor, Rezidor, Radisson Edwardian, Kempinski, Bulgari and Mandarin Oriental

Bruno Hallé

MAGMA Hospitality Consulting

A third generation hotel manager, with the training in hospitality and tourism, broadened with back studies in management (MBA International Hospitality Management, Essec-Cornell University / PDD, Cornell University, IESE Barcelona, PDP Cornell University), began his career with international hotel groups such as Occidental Hotels and Accor Group. In 1995 he began working for MTR-Horwath Consulting (Horwath Consulting is one of the most prestigious tourism consulting worldwide), in 2000, MTR merged with Mazars and Bruno went on to become a partner in Mazars Turismo, positioning the brand in the national hotel sector. Since November 2004 founding partner of Magma Hospitality Consulting.

Antonio López de Ávila


Antonio López de Ávila was appointed as President of State society for the Management of Innovation and Tourism Technologies (SEGITTUR) in February 2012 after he took the office as Director of the Cabinet of the State Secretary for Tourism in January 2012.

A renowned scholar focused on various research areas in tourism including destination and tourism product development, MICE, application of technologies to tourism product and market, Mr. López de Ávila worked at IE Business School, one of the top business schools worldwide, for over a decade. Before joining the government sector, he was previously served as the school’s Director of the Tourism Unit, Tourism Research Centre and Executive Master in Tourism Management, Academic Director of the Programme in Tourism Management as well as the school’s representative at the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

Between 2001 and 2004, Mr. López de Ávila was an advisor to the Secretary of State for Tourism and Commerce, Government of Spain. He was also an entrepreneur as founding partner of the Spanish Institute for Business Management and many other companies. He also was Trustee of Paradores de Turismo, a Spanish state owned chain of luxury hotels usually located in historic buildings such as a monasteries, palaces or castles.

Mr. López de Ávila earned an Executive Master in Business Administration from IE Business School. He also holds a Master Degree in Foreign Trade from ESIC and a Bachelor Degree in Law from ULPGC (Spain).

Nadra Moussalem

Colony Capital Europe

Nadra Moussalem, Co-Head Europe of Colony Capital Inc., is responsible for the identification, evaluation, execution and management of european investments.  Colony Capital manages a European real estate portfolio of 5 bn euros of assets and loans out of six offices (Paris, London, Madrid, Berlin, Rome, Luxembourg).  Prior to joining Colony in 2000, Mr. Moussalem worked for AXA in the Financial Products engineering department.

Mr. Moussalem graduated from the Ecole Centrale in Lyon, with a Masters in Information and Communication Technology.  Mr. Moussalem serves on the board of Carmila, Accor, Distribuidora Internacional de Alimentacion (DIA), Edenred and is non executive Chairman of Data4 Group. “

Luis Miguel Martin Ortiz

Chief Executive Officer, Carey Value Added
Portfolio Manager, Azora

Luis Miguel Martín, Madrid (Spain) is a graduate of Economics and Business Administration from Complutense University, Madrid. Official Certified Public Accountant and Master in General Business Management (PDG II) from the IESE and Member of the Chartered Director in Good Corporate Governance.

Luis Miguel has 30 years’ experience in finance and hospitality, starting his career in Arthur Andersen & Co where he achieved the position of International Manager. After leaving AA&Co he became Area Director of Finance for Starwood Spain and Portugal and was promoted to the position of Vice President of Finance for Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Based in Brussels, Belgium, Luis Miguel had responsibility for over 180 hotels in 48 countries.

During his 18 years with Starwood Luis Miguel has led the development of Starwood in Spain and Portugal growing it from 7 original hotels up to 26 hotels. In 2008 Luis Miguel was Executive Vice President of the Real Estate for Sol Meliá and in 2009 he was appointed General Director of the Real Estate Investment Fund Carey Value Added, a fund with a value of 600 million euros in invested assets in four and five-star hotels in Washington, New York, London, Paris, Brussels, Cologne, Berlin, Geneva and Venice. From this position he joined AZORA in 2011 to continue managing the Carey´s portfolio and managing the hotel portfolio development and asset management of HISPANIA.

Mustafa Al Hashimi

Chief Executive Officer
wasl Hospitality

As CEO of wasl Hospitality & Leisure, Mustafa Al Hashimi is responsible for overseeing the strategic direction of an important subsidiary of wasl Asset Management Group and one of the UAE’s leading hotel and recreation brands. Mustafa brings to his role a wealth of experience in the provision of first-class leisure and hospitality services to discerning patrons across Dubai.

Under Mustafa’s expert guidance, wasl Hospitality & Leisure currently asset manages a portfolio of 11 hotels and over 3,800 rooms, including five hotels under the Hyatt Hotels Corporation, four under Starwood Hotels and Resorts, the Dusit Thani and the Jumeirah Zabeel Saray. The division’s Dubai-based portfolio also includes the prestigious Emirates Golf Club and Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club. Mustafa is currently driving the growth of the brand through the launch new projects that are supporting the tourism industry in Dubai. This strategy places a focus on hotels in the 3 and 4-star categories, with three such mid-range hotels expected to be introduced by the close of 2015.

Mustafa began his professional life in the Oil & Gas Industry and was employed by Schlumberger, the largest oilfield services company in the world. His early career saw him working in the USA, Saudi Arabia, Qatar  for four years before he left to co-found Ahdaaf Sports Club. Mustafa is a graduate of the Concordia University, Montreal, Canada, with a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering.

Saad A Al-Qahtani

Accommodation Sector Manager
Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities

Farida Al Raisi

Director of Human Resources
Shangri-la Hotel and Traders Hotel Qaryat Al Beri

Farida Al Raisi has over 20 years of expertise in the field of Human Resources.
Her strength comes from being exposed to diversified industries throughout her career, across the UAE local market, in multinational companies, FMCGs, financial institutions as well as in the hospitality sphere. She has launched HR department set ups for several successful business establishments.
Farida has left her mark in the Omani job market by making a difference by influencing, attracting young people to join the private sector.
Farida has been a keen supporter of the “Omanisation program” since 2003, and have taken part in the implementation of the program by utilizing the appropriate tools of coaching, training and one to one consultation. Farida has achieved localization quota % optimization in various organizations and managed to reach successful agreements with labor unions where balanced outcomes were achieved for all parties involved.
Farida was also the winner of Women of The Year award of 2012 in the “Corporate Leadership” category.

James Marsh

Vice President of Capital Projects
Jumeirah Group

James is responsible for the capital projects programme for Jumeirah’s hotels in Dubai.  The portfolio includes a large proportion of refurbishments involving hotel rooms, restaurants and commercial space.

A Chartered Surveyor with over 20 years’ experience in the real estate industry, including 10years in the Middle East, managing diverse property portfolios. With experience in the property development and management sectors James has extensive knowledge of the functionality and value of real estate. Previous hospitality projects include the development of Yas Viceroy hotel in Abu Dhabi.

Prior to Jumeirah James has worked for real estate companies including Aldar and Capita Symonds.

Damian K. ten Bohmer

Director Commercial - Middle East & Africa

Damian K. ten Bohmer has over thirty years extensive hospitality experience and originally hails from the Gold Coast, Australia.

Damian first joined IHG in 2003 as Area Director of Sales & Marketing for Western Australia, NT & SA. Over the course of his 12 years with the company Damian has held senior roles in the Australian region having been awarded for his accomplishments as the ‘Most Outstanding Sales and Marketing Director’ in Asia Pacific, he then moved on as Regional Director of Sales and Marketing for Southern Asia in 2006. Here he was responsible for the overall strategic direction within sales, branding, marketing and revenue management for the 47 IHG hotels across South East and South West Asia.

In 2007, Damian was appointed as General Manager of Holiday Inn Melaka in Malaysia before moving to India as Area Director of Sales and Marketing for South West Asia in 2008 before moving to Dubai.

Damian is now Director Commercial for the Middle East & Africa region and is responsible for implementing and integrating all sales, marketing, and revenue strategies for over 70 of IHG’s portfolio of hotel brands in the region encompassing InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn and StayBridge Suites, along with exciting new openings such as Hotel Indigo.

Damian lives in Dubai with his wife and is the proud father of his 12 year old daughter.

Shaun Hinds

Managing Director – EMEA and APAC
BridgeStreet Global Hospitality

Shaun leads BridgeStreet Global Hospitality in all territories outside of the Americas. Based in the regional headquarters in London, he is responsible for all day to day business functions in addition to the strategic development of Bridgestreet’s business internationally. 
Shaun brings extensive commercial and corporate development experience gained over 20 years across sectors including hospitality, aviation, financial services, loyalty marketing and travel. His career encompasses a broad spectrum of leadership roles across a number of functions including commercial, marketing, business development, retail, general management and M&A for organisations such as The Co-operative Group, Cendant, BAA, Alamo Car Rental and Loyalty Management Inc. 
Shaun received his MBA (Dist.) from Keele University in 2011.

Zsolt Szenasi

Chief Executive Officer
Atum Developments

Zsolt Szenasi is the Chief Executive Officer of Atum Developments. He is responsible for providing umbrella leadership for the Acquisition, Development, and Sales & Leasing teams.

Mr. Szenasi first began working in real estate development in 1999 in the property valuation department of Price Waterhouse Coopers. He has been involved in several groundbreaking development projects, including as the Development and Sales Manager for the Talentis Project – an ambitious 5,000 hectare development with an estimated 12 Billion EUR value aimed at creating a Central European Silicon Valley.

Mr. Szenasi promotes innovative business thinking by acting as a sponsor for TedX.

Mr. Szenasi holds a Masters in Architectural Engineering from the Budapest University of Technology and Economics. He has been a member of RICS since 2010.

Miltos Kambourides

Managing Partner
Dolphin Capital

Miltos Kambourides is the founder and Managing Partner of Dolphin Capital. Dolphin Capital is a private equity business founded in 2004, specialising in real estate investments. The company’s main investment vehicle is Dolphin Capital Investors (DCI), listed on AIM (Alternative Investment Market) of the London Stock Exchange which has grown to become a leading global owner and developer of high-end integrated resorts in Eastern Mediterranean and the Americas, such as Amanzoe in Greece and Amanera in Dominican Republic. Since inception, DCI has raised over €1 billion of equity funds and has investments in 6 countries.

Miltos was a founding partner of Soros Real Estate Partners (SREP) for 5 years, a global real estate private equity business, formed in 1999 by George Soros. During Miltos' tenure, SREP raised a US$1 billion fund and executed a number of complex real estate transactions in Western Europe and Japan.

While at SREP, Miltos was primarily responsible for investments relating to property outsourcing in the UK and for the SREP investment strategy in Southeast Europe. Prior to joining Soros, Miltos spent two years at Goldman Sachs working on real estate private equity transactions in the UK, France and Spain. In 1998, he received a Goldman Sachs Global Innovation award for his work at Trillium, the largest real estate outsourcing company in the UK.

Miltos was born in 1972 in Cyprus. He graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with three degrees: BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering and BS in Mathematics. He had received several academic honors and participated twice in the International Math Olympiad (Beijing 1990, Moscow 1992) and once in the Balkan Math Olympiad (Sofia 1990) where he received a bronze medal. He is married to photographer Marina Vernicos and is a father of 3 children.

Gaurav Sinha

Founder & CEO
Insignia Worldwide

Gaurav Sinha founded Insignia Worldwide in 2003, and stands as the visionary mastermind behind one of the Middle East’s most successful advertising and marketing services agencies. As chief executive, the firm’s impressive growth trajectory serves as testament to Gaurav’s inherent mastery of the trade. A reigning forerunner in the luxury, travel and lifestyle marketing sector, Gaurav has accumulated a remarkable portfolio of achievements that has solidified his status as an internationally recognised leader in his field.
Gaurav has worked in the Middle East for the past
19 years, and following a decade within the advertising industry - ending with a stint at global advertising giant
Lowe - he took on the illustrious role of Head of
Marketing for Hilton Worldwide in the Middle East
between 1998 -2002.
A respected creative strategist, Gaurav is recognised for his innovative thinking, inspiring leadership and business acumen. In 2014 he was noted as Indian Entrepreneur of the Year by Entrepreneur Middle East Magazine and has enjoyed a variety of accolades such as being listed at #47 in Arabian Business Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential Indians in
the GCC. Furthermore in 2014, his most recent venture
The Travel Marketing Council was awarded Innovation of
the Year at the Arabian Business StartUp Awards.
In addition to his other endeavours, Gaurav is also working
on a new progressive luxury hotel concept set to revamp
the light luxury segment.

Taleeb Noormohamed

Vice President Global Partnerships

Taleeb Noormohamed is Vice President, Global Business Development at At HomeAway, Taleeb is responsible for leading all global business and partnership development activities across all brands, markets and geographies.
 He also led the creation of a new Luxury division at HomeAway, and leads our strategic growth in the Middle East
. Taleeb is also responsible for all key partner and is actively involved in HomeAway’s M&A and new markets strategies.
Previously, Taleeb was President and CEO of Vancouver - based Serebra Learning Corporation, an e-learning services provider, which he turned around and then restructured before its acquisition by Bluedrop Performance Learning in 2012. He also served as a consultant to and GM at Jetsetter, a boutique online travel agency, prior to its acquisition by TripAdvisor.
Before Serebra, he was Vice -President, Strategy and Partnerships of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, where he was responsible for leading more than $60M in deals.
He has also served in key posts in the Government of Canada.
Taleeb was named as one of Business in Vancouver’s Top Forty under 40 in 2011 for his innovation and strong strategic leadership in the business community. This year, Taleeb was named Business Development Executive of the Year at the annual Stevie Awards.
Taleeb has served as an advisor to several technology companies and startups and gives of his time as a Board Member and Governor of a number of not- for – profit organizations.
For his contributions to the community, Taleeb was awarded the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award by the Governor General in 2007 and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal in 2012.
Taleeb holds an undergraduate degree from Princeton University and is completing his Doctoral studies at Oxford University.

Philip Shepherd


Philip leads the Hospitality & Leisure practice for PwC in the Middle East. He has over 20 years of experience advising governments, companies and financiers on the commercial, operational and technology risks and opportunities of their growth strategies and transactions. He has worked extensively throughout Europe and the Middle East for owners, operators and investors. He has recently been involved with many of the new leisure developments in the region and has been at the fore front of the planning for new theme parks in Dubai. He led a team supporting Dubai Parks and Resorts with the feasibility strategy and planning for the 3 theme parks launching in 2016; Legoland, Motiongate and Bollywood Parks, that resulted in a very successful IPO on the Dubai Financial Market (DFM).
Philip helps author the Middle East section of PwC’s Global Entertainment & Media Outlook and the annual review into the Middle East Hospitality sector; The Gateway for Growth.

Assem Kaissi

Chief Operating Officer
Alesayi Group

Assem Kaissi is the Chief Operating Officer of Omar Kassem Alesayi Group since
2007, and prior to that he has held different directorate positions with Alesayi
Group since 1994.
Alesayi Group was founded 70 years ago and is one of the leading business groups
in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The group has been closely in sync with the development of the modern Saudi
Kingdom, and its institutions.
Alesayi Group’s philosophy is to build upon deep-rooted commitment to
traditional values of trust, and social responsibility with a long term commitment
to our environment, our society and our country.
The Group’s activity sectors are:
1. Investment Sector,
2. Real Estate & Property Sector,
3. Consumer Trading Sector,
4. Manufacturing Sector,
5. Engineering & Technology Sector,
6. Service Sector.
The key ingredient of our success is an innovative spirit and strong reputation.
We have never been shy of new ideas or new challenges, including those that
proved far ahead of their times, this has enabled us to derive strength from change,
and to remain competitive under varying conditions.
We take pride in our Basic Business Philosophy & Principles, our professional
management, and our Corporate Governance.

Jerome Gatipon-Bachette

Managing Director - Co Head of Real Estate Structured Finance
Societe Generale

 Jerome joined SG in 1997 and has, since then, held various positions at SG
 He is currently co-responsible for  all real estate structure finance activities at SGCIB since 2012 and was previously in charge of UK and Continental Europe origination since 2009
 In 2012, Jerome has been in charge of the bank deleveraging program regarding commercial real estate loan portfolios
 From 2004 to 2008, Jerome has been involved in developing the SGCIB CMBS and RMBS businesses in Europe, based on both cash and synthetic securitisation structures after having spent 7 years successively in the SG RISQ division and      the Commodities Derivatives teams
 Jerome holds a Civil Engineering degree from Ecole des Mines de Nancy

Suma Venkatesh

Senior Vice President- Real Estate & Development
Taj Group (Indian Hotels Company Ltd)

Suma Venkatesh, Senior Vice President – Real Estate & Development, The Indian Hotels Company Ltd., heads Taj Group’s initiatives for growth through green field developments, acquisitions, licenses and management contracts. Over the last 12 years with the Taj Group, she has been involved in doubling the Group’s inventory to 126 hotels with 15500+ keys.

Ms. Venkatesh is an Electrical Engineer by training and holds a Masters Degree in Management Studies from the Mumbai University in India. She has over 23 years of cross functional experience across industries. Before joining the Taj Group, she has worked in different functions across multiple industry sectors in India.