AHIC 2018 to take place in Ras Al Khaimah

The event is set to take place on April 17-19, within a custom-made complex on the shoreline of The Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah

Jonathan Worsley.
Jonathan Worsley.

Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) 2018, with a theme of 'Focus', is set to take place on April 17-19, and will, for the first time, take place at a custom-made complex called the AHIC Village on the beach in front of The Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah.

Bench Events chairman Jonathan Worsley released an open letter to members of the AHIC Community outlining the changes in the conference this year, while revealing that the region's tourism industry has now grown to an estimated US $227bn in value. He noted in the letter: "Our efforts have highlighted the Middle East as an attractive destination for business and leisure, as well as a resilient market with real returns for investors. Together, we have enabled prosperity."

In an interview with Hotelier Middle East prior to releasing this letter, Worsley revealed: "We have been in Madinat Jumeirah for 13 years and Gerald Lawless was a great supporter of the conference when we first set it up. We thought it would be good to shake it up and take it outside Dubai and make it more of a destination conference for our delegates."

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He expressed delight at having the event hosted in Ras Al Khaimah, and revealed that it will be held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, and will be co-hosted by its founding patron, His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Airports, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman and CEO of Emirates Airline and Group. Worsley added that HH Sheikh Ahmed's "continued support of the industry and AHIC has been critical to the region’s tourism growth".

He further revealed that for this event, a bespoke pavilion is being built on the beach in front of The Waldorf Astoria, Ras Al Khaimah, giving the organising team an opportunity to experiment this year. It will include stages, networking areas, workspaces, new private meeting options as well as access to relationship building activities.

Worsley commented: "We want to enhance what we have already created over the years because we have a very high repeat rate. It’s about enhancing the networking opportunity, enhancing knowledge, and doing project showcase as well."

"Our partnership with AHIC is testament to the success of Ras Al Khaimah as one of the region's fastest growing tourism destinations and its emergence as a prime MICE and business host, benefiting from its close proximity to Dubai," said Haitham Mattar, CEO, RAKTDA.

"As Ras Al Khaimah draws closer to reaching its one million visitors target by the end of 2018, and charts a path towards attracting 2.9 million visitors by 2025, the need for quality hotel rooms has never been so important. Hotel investment is integral to accommodating this growth and the emirate will need an additional 15,000 hotel rooms by 2025. We anticipate further growth in the emirate’s impressive pipeline of major hospitality brands, as RAKTDA launches a range of new tourism products and attractions, expanding the appeal of the emirate for travellers and residents alike," he noted.

Worsley also revealed that the event will be back in Dubai in its 2019 edition.

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