Combining industry leaders from all over the world, including Yann Caillere, President and Chief Operating Officer of ACCOR, Eric Danziger, President and CEO of Wyndham Hotel Group, Jennifer Fox, President at Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, William E. Heinecke, Chairman and CEO at Anantara, Minor International PCL and Wolfgang M. Neumann, President and CEO of The Rezidor Hotel Group, the ‘Global Leaders’ panel discussion will examine the key drivers of growth and change for the industry, as well as the key opportunities to be aware of around the world.
According to latest analysis and studies, the industry is in recovery and should continue barring any unforeseen events, and performance is expected to remain strong, where consumers are travelling more and longer. Hoteliers are seeing improved occupancy and rates in major markets, including the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and China, where areas like the Middle East and Latin America are in a good position for growth because of increasing demand, and China is still proving to be one of the world’s fastest growing markets. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita in China is forecast to more than double between 2010 and 2015, providing the population with greater disposable income to spend on hospitality.
Yann Caillere, President and COO of Accor comments, saying: “The geography of the hospitality industry is changing fast with growth drivers coming from Asia-Pacific, Middle-East, Africa, Latin America, offering many opportunities in terms of expansion. At Accor, we already have 77% of our pipeline in those key regions. The sector is also facing two major challenges; these are the need for stronger brands with greater client segmentation and the need for powerful distribution systems, on a market with many actors.
He continues: “We offer our hotel partners both, with a perfectly shaped brand portfolio to respond to all clients’ needs and constant innovation in our distribution systems with for instance revamped booking mobile applications and the recent launch of 'Inspiration', a website to help travellers find their perfect destination.”
There is a growing optimism among industry veterans and many of them are revitalizing acquisition, and a few development projects. Hotel owners internationally are turning to global brands, where they see the industry set for continuing improvement in hotel industry fundamentals and hotel valuations for at least 5 years - through 2017. This presents a very attractive backdrop for investors, who have already putting their plans in motion.
Eric Danziger, President and CEO of Wyndham Hotel Group says: “We’re seeing robust opportunities for development in the region – it has become an integral part of global companies’ expansion strategies and hotel owners are showing great interest in branded hotels.”
He adds: “Factors like infrastructure development, domestic travel and financial stability throughout the region are driving demand for more quality lodging in currently under-served segments. The region poses an exciting and unique business and tourism opportunity."
Moreover, studies show that the next five years will herald the era of a consumer-led brand focus for the hospitality industry. Consumers are changing faster than ever in both attitude and behaviour. Adoption of the right strategy presents the Middle East region with an opportunity to be a game changer in the global tourism industry. Whilst much of the development until recently has focused on the upscale and luxury market, the greatest potential in these markets lies in the growth of branded mid-market and budget product aimed primarily at the domestic traveller.
In line with that, another key highlight of AHIC this year is the special round up session that will be held during the conference, on the main industry trends that emerged from WTTC’s Global Travel and Tourism Summit in Abu Dhabi. The panel has been dedicated to look on what the travel and tourism leaders saying about the hurdles and prospects for the industry and the key indicators for the sector for the next five years. The round up will be headed by Geoffrey Breeze, Executive Director of World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and in conversation with Gary Chapman, President Group Services & DNATA, Emirates Group, Paul Griffiths, Chief Executive Officer, Dubai Airports and Gerald Lawless, President & Group CEO, Jumeirah Group.
AHIC 2013 will include key participants such as Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, IHG, Jumeirah Group, Corinthia Hotels, Hilton Worldwide, IFA Hotel Investments, Marriott International, SMIT, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Wyndham Worldwide, ACCOR, Aecom, Argentina National Institute of Tourism Promotion, Citymax Hotels, Digivalet, Ernst & Young, Fairmont Hotel & Resorts, Golden Tulip Hotels MENA, HVS, JA Resorts & Hotels, Jones Lang LaSalle, Kenya Tourist Development Corporation, Melia Hotels International, Minor International PCL, Moroccan Agency for Tourism Development, Orient Express Hotels, Premier Inn, Quadriga, Raffles Hotels & Resorts, Saudi Commission for Tourism & Antiquities, STR Global, Turnkey Ventures and WATG.