Luxury Hotels


Jerry Inzerillo, above, is a keynote speaker at the inaugural Arabian & African Hospitality Investment Conference, to be hosted in Dubai, 20-22 September 2021.

Actually, says Girlahead, this is NOT the first AHIC, as the event is known.  But this is an experiment. Always before, like for the first 16 AHICs, it has just been Arabia. Now it adds Africa. Increasingly parts of that region of the world are lumped together (talking to Jan van der Putten, Hilton’s big boss for the African continent, about ‘luxury’ and he cited the forthcoming Mango House, part of LXR – it is in Seychelles, and Indian Ocean comes into his territory). Talking to any hotel company about the Middle East and Israel, now on friendly terms with some Arab nations, and that country is handled by Europe-centric overseeing executives.

Back to AHIC. Girlahead has been to many of the conferences and, to be honest, it is easier to remember the social events that the plenary business sessions. For two years AHIC did divert, to Ras Al-Khaimah, and there was a spectacular evening outside at Ritz-Carlton. In Dubai, there was one hot and extremely sweaty evening outside when you could see which guys’ shirts were polyester rather than natural fabric.  The best catering has always been at Jumeirah’s Madinat Jumeirah, which is hosting again this year, and it is more than incidentally relevant that Jumeirah’s CEO talks significantly about food, its theatre and so much else, in his podcast (listen below).

MEED, co-organiser of AHIC says there are US $27 billion-worth of hotel investments in the GCC pipeline: over $3.5 billion worthhas been awarded since the start of 2020. These new investments are mainly located in Saudi Arabia, both phases five and six at Jabal Omar, Makkah and also ‘gigaproject’ tourism investments led by the Red Sea Project, NEOM, Amaala, Diriyah Gate and Al-Ula. Other sizeable investments are going into the Jewel of the Creek development in Dubai, and Qetaifan Island North in Qatar.

AHIC is one of two key industry events that should be on everyone’s radar.  Well done co-organiser Jonathan Worsley and your team at Bench Events for making this year’s live happening come to pass. Yes, he has the magnetic Jerry Inzerillo on his speakers’ list, along with such other big-draws as Accor’s Sébastien Bazin – and José Silva. Hear Mr S, now: