Arabian tourism investment landscape to be discussed at ATM 2022

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The Middle East is increasingly becoming a vibrant region with bubbling opportunities to raise or channel capital for tourism projects all over the world.
Hosted jointly by ATM and ITIC, this year’s summit will be held on Tuesday 10 May 2022, shining a spotlight on access to project finance in the post-Covid era.

The Summit will start on 9 May 2022 at 13:15 with a Ministerial Roundtable with the confirmed participation of HE Dr Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and SMEs & Chairman of Emirates Tourism Council of the UAE;  Ministers of Tourism; H.E Nayef Al Fayez, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Jordan; Hon. Edmund Bartlett, Minister of Tourism, Jamaica and Hon. Philda Nani Kereng, Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism, Botswana.

On 10 May, The Middle East Tourism Investment Summit will line-up an impressive array of high profile speakers who will enlighten the different panel discussions namely: Paul Griffiths, CEO Dubai Airports; Ghaith Al Ghaith, CEO of flydubai; Haitham Mattar, Managing Director, India, Middle East & Africa, IHG Hotels & Resorts; Dr. Taleb Rifai, Chairman ITIC and Former Secretary-General, UNWTO; Sandip Walia, Chief Operating Officer, Middle East, Marriott International; Badr Alherbish, Executive Director of Strategy Tourism Development Fund, Saudi Arabia; Khadija Mohammad Turki, Acting Director General, Ajman Tourism Development Department; Marloes Knippenberg, CEO, Kerten Hospitality; Alison Grinnell, CEO, RAK Hospitality Holding LLC; Scott Livermore, Chief Economist, Oxford Economics just to name a few.

They will act as catalysts on topical issues, challenges and future trends such as:  reenergizing air connectivity to support tourism growth in the Middle East; financing of future tourism projects; the economic integration of women through the tourism industry; unlocking new modes of payment in the sector and enhancing tourism resilience to mitigate the impact of future crises and improved financing through better preparedness to close the day.  ITIC & ATM have also congregated some of the best moderators, namely: Sameer Hashmi, the Middle East Business Correspondent of the BBC News; Gerald Lawless, Director ITIC, Ambassador WTTC and Former President and CEO of Jumeirah Group who will interact with these leaders of the travel and tourism industry.

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Before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region accounted for approximately 6% of worldwide tourist arrivals, representing more than 60 million international travellers of which 15.8 million visited the United Arab Emirates which captured of more than 21 billion U.S. dollars of receipts.

Research undertaken by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) indicates that the Middle East’s travel and tourism sector’s is expected to generate US$ 246 billion of revenue in 2022, which is only 8.9% behind pre-pandemic level.

According to forecasts by financial analysts, the total contribution of the travel and tourism industry to the GDP of Middle East countries is expected to reach around US$ 486.1 billion by year 2028.

Several Middle East countries are attracting hefty investments in their tourism industry. According to the fDi Intelligence Tourism Investment Report 2021, Bahrain topped the list of Middle East and Africa (MEA) countries that attracted the highest tourism capital investment in 2020, especially from property developers based in the United Arab Emirates.

Out of a total of US$1.6 billion of capital investment flowing into the Middle East and Africa, US$ 492 million of tourism capital investment were secured by Bahrain in 2020 mainly from property developer Emaar Properties and the real estate developer Eagle Hills. Furthermore, other countries are directing their funds to the future of their tourism industry and to impart a new momentum to that driver of growth.

CEO, ITIC, Ibrahim Ayoub, stated: “I feel confident that the synergy that will be created during our Summit between the different key stakeholders of the tourism industry of the Middle East, will contribute to bring the global investment landscape of the industry to the next level of its development”.

9 May 2022
ITIC-ATM MINISTERIAL ROUNDTABLE

Venue: ATM Global Stage

13:15 – 14:15 What is driving investments in Travel and Tourism sector?
Tourism destinations in the Middle East are widening their appeal, extending their offerings from luxury hotels to the mid-market segment and as these
countries aim at increasing tourist arrivals, a package of incentives has been elaborated to attract FDI.
Moderator: Sameer Hashmi, Middle East Business Correspondent, BBC News
Panellists: HE Dr Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and SMEs & Chairman of Emirates Tourism Council, UAE, H.E Nayef Al Fayez, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Jordan, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, Minister of Tourism, Jamaica, Hon. Philda Nani Kereng, Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism, Botswana.

Ministers of Tourism will gather on Monday 9th May 2022 at Dubai World Trade Centre ATM Global Stage to discuss on ‘What is driving investments in the Travel and Tourism sector’ during the ITIC-ATM Ministerial Roundtable. The Ministerial Roundtable will not only shed light on the investment opportunities in that part of the world but also unveil the new flexible modes of financing as well as the latest models of funding of tourism projects in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, the Middle East is increasingly being used by investors and financiers from all over the world to raise or channel capital in order to support project developers in the hospitality industry, contributing to turn their ideas into reality, bring the final touch or recapitalise their undertakings.
It will also be held at a critical moment when several Middle East countries such as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, are diversifying their oil-dominated economies through tourism as a sustainable future engine of growth.

10 May 2022 – Tourism Investment Summit
Master of Ceremony: Amjaad Al Salmi, Founder and CEO, Amjaad Public Relations
Venue: ATM Global Stage

14:00-14:10 Welcome Notes
Dr. Taleb Rifai, Chairman ITIC and Former Secretary General UNWTO
Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director – Middle East, RX

14:10 -14:30 Global Economic Outlook 2022
Scott Livermore, Chief Economist, Oxford Economics

14:30 -14:45 Reenergizing air connectivity to support tourism growth in the Middle East
A conversation with Ghaith Al Ghaith, CEO Flydubai and Sameer Hashmi, Middle
East Business Correspondent, BBC News

14:45-15:30 Panel Discussion
How the Middle East is reinventing the financing of future tourism projects?
The Middle East facilitates access to finance on favourable terms. In addition, the region offers appropriate financial instruments to raise capital for tourism projects and agile financing modalities through investment loans or shared ownership.

Moderator: Gerald Lawless, Director ITIC and Ambassador WTTC
Panellists:
• Sandeep Walia, Chief Operating Officer, Middle East, Marriott International
• Badr Alherbish, Executive Director of Strategy Tourism Development Fund, Saudi Arabia
• Laurent A. Voivenel, Senior Vice President, Operations & Development, Middle East, Africa & India, Swiss-Belhotel International
• Dinky Puri, Founding Partner, Eaglewing Group

15:30-16:00 Panel Discussion
The economic integration of women through the tourism industry Tourism can contribute in a decisive manner to achieving gender equality and empower women for their economic and inclusive development. What effective
strategies and interventions can be rolled out to further engage women in the tourism’s labour force and go beyond traditional sociocultural barriers?
Moderator: Elizabeth Maclean, Co-Managing Director, Herdwick Communications

Panellists:
• Khadija Mohammad Turki, Acting Director General, Ajman Tourism Development Department
• Marloes Knippenberg, CEO, Kerten Hospitality
• Aradhana Khowala, CEO Aptamind Partners
• Maryam Toorani, Director of Marketing & Promotion, Bahrain Tourism & Exhibitions Authority

16:00-16:30 Destination Focus – Investment Opportunities
• Win Wynn in Ras Al Khaimah
– Alison Grinnell, CEO, RAK Hospitality Holding LLC
– Abdulla AL Abdouli, Chief Executive Officer, Marjan

16:30-16:45 Presentations of Tourism Projects Financing
16:30-16:35 John Sage, Founder & CEO of Accessible Travel Solutions (Virtual)
16:35-16:40 Guillaume Pellerin, CEO Wild World (virtual)
16:40-16:45 Mark Abraham, Founder & CEO, Shackle

16:45 -17:15 Conversation
Unlocking new modes of bookings and payments in the travel and tourism industry. The conversation will discuss the changing behaviour and decision-making process of international travellers, their new modes of purchasing travel and tourism products and services arising from the blockchain revolution, pervasive digital banking, Fintech and the growing usage of NFT and cryptocurrencies whilst keeping the global network trusted, protected and secured. A conversation between Dirk Van Loggerenberg, CEO of Dale Capital Group, Dr Kamlen Pillay, CEO UWell and Yariv Fisher, Chairman of Flyeast GRP.

17:15 -17:55 Panel Discussion
Enhancing tourism resilience to mitigate the impact of future crises and improved financing through better preparedness

Moderator: Sameer Hashmi, Middle East Business Correspondent, BBC News

Panellists:
H.E Edmund Bartlett, Minister of Tourism, Jamaica and Co-chair GTRCMC
Paul Griffiths, CEO, Dubai Airports
Haitham Mattar, Managing Director, India, Middle East & Africa, IHG Hotels & Resorts
Taleb Rifai, Chairman ITIC and Former Secretary-General, UNWTO