The Arabian Hotel Investment Conference 2018 (AHIC) ( is officially underway at the purpose-built AHIC Village on the beach of the Waldorf Astoria in Ras Al Khaimah following the official opening ceremony this morning, with a record number of registered delegates from the regional and global hospitality investment industry.

Now in its 14th year, the annual knowledge and networking platform for the global hospitality investment community, held in partnership with Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA), was inaugurated by AHIC Host and Patron His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah.

“In a relatively short period of time, Ras Al Khaimah has changed dramatically, from a quiet, agricultural town, where a formal education was hard to come by, to a thriving city with a diverse economy and great educational institutions. Our Emirate, our people, our economy and our industries have been on quite an incredible journey,” said His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah in the official opening address.

Speaking about the importance and growth of the hospitality and tourism sector, His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr said: “We aim to increase tourism’s GDP contribution to 10% by 2025. Already, the sector has been growing at a rate of about 19% year-on-year. We aim to have 1 million visitors by the end of this year in Ras Al Khaimah and we have a target of 2.9 million per year by 2025.” 

“Our Leader His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr has always encouraged us to pursue greatness in everything we do and as a result, we never stop striving to turn things from good to great, to exceed even our own targets and expectations, and to always go above and beyond. This first edition of AHIC in Ras Al Khaimah is a great example of that philosophy,” Haitham Mattar, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA), said in his welcome remarks.

“The United Arab Emirates has always presented great opportunities, and we have taken those opportunities and made them even more accessible, and by hosting this conference here today we truly embrace sentiments behind the title of the event – particularly with the third word, Investment”.

In 2017, Ras Al Khaimah saw an average year-round occupancy of 74 percent, an average length of stay of 3.4 days and total revenues showing double digit growth year on year, whilst visitor satisfaction is at an impressive 90 percent. Today at AHIC, RAKTDA announced its Q1 2018 performance, which recorded the Emirate’s highest ever hotel occupancy in a quarter at 79.4%.

“These are all numbers I believe all point to an extremely bright future for the industry here in Ras Al Khaimah” said Mattar.

In his opening keynote discussion with BBC HARDtalk presenter Stephen Sackur, His Excellency Mohamed Alabbar, Founder and Chairman of Emaar Properties, discussed the future of hospitality, the region and the opportunities of tomorrow, before announcing the launch of the company’s first hotel and residences project in Ras Al Khaimah. 

Located in the Views island of Al Marjan Island, a four-island mega-development, Address Al Marjan Island hotel and residences will be managed by Emaar Hospitality Group’s premium lifestyle brand, Address Hotels + Resorts. The hotel will have 249 rooms, including suites, while Address Residences Al Marjan Island will comprise 234 high-end apartments. As part of Views, the largest of the four islands that make up Al Marjan Island, residents will be in close proximity to the ubran core of the master-planned community as well as the town centre. With direct access to over 600 metres of beachfront, residents and guests will have uninterrupted views of the sea in addition to a range of lifestyle amenities.

Jonathan Worsley, Chairman of Bench Events and Co-Founder of AHIC said: “When we first started AHIC 14 years ago, we were the first event at Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai. Today, we are the first to hold a conference on the beach here in Ras al Khaimah and we have a record number of delegates this year, which just goes to show that the decision to bring AHIC to Ras Al Khaimah was the right one.”  

“The theme of this year’s conference is all about Focus, which is so important nowadays, given all the headwinds around us. We need to focus on our business, we need to focus on our families and loved ones, and we need to focus on connections, experiences and opportunities. Speaking about opportunities, I am delighted to announce that Taj Hotel Group signed an agreement for a new hotel in Mecca yesterday.”

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Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC).

Contact: Lisa Flanagan, Senior Communications Consultant, In2 Consulting; [email protected] Office: +971 4 455 8499; Mobile: +971 52 689 5509

Notes to Editors

About AHIC 2018
AHIC (, now in its 14th year, is the annual gathering for the Middle East’s hospitality investment community organised by global hotel investment event organiser Bench Events in partnership with MEED Events. AHIC creates a knowledge and networking platform for global and regional investors of all backgrounds, offering essential insights to investing in hotels, showcasing regional and international hospitality investment opportunities and facilitating direct connections with hospitality industry stakeholders. AHIC 2018 will be held in a purpose-built AHIC Village on the beach of the Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah, UAE, from 17 April to 19 April 2018 in partnership with Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA). Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, AHIC 2018 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, whose continued support of the industry and AHIC has been critical to the region’s tourism growth.

AHIC 2018 Sponsors
AHIC 2018 is hosted by Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority. Sponsors include: Al Marjan Island, Hilton and Radisson Hotel Group as Platinum Sponsors; Dur Hospitality as Strategic Partner; AccorHotels, Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB), Emaar Hospitality Group, Grant Thornton, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), Insignia, Marriott International; The Moroccan Agency for Tourism Development (SMIT) and Wyndham Hotel Group as Emerald Sponsors; and Action Hotels, Al Kamal International, Colliers International, Honeywell, HVS, Louvre Hotels Group, Melia Hotels International, PwC, Roya, SSH, STR, Indian Hotels Company Limited (Taj Group) and Time Hotels as Gold Sponsors.
About Bench Events
Global event organiser Bench Events ( has a long track record of delivering multiple premium hotel investment conferences and forums across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America. Market leading annual conferences include the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) in Dubai, now in its 14th year, the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) the new Asia Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference (AHTIC), The Summit in London and the Latin American Hotel & Tourism Investment Conferences (SAHIC). Bench Events’ extensive portfolio also includes the Global Restaurant Investment Forum (GRIF) in Dubai and AviaDev, designed to promote the future air connectivity in Africa. Bench Events’ mission is enabling prosperity by facilitating growth, networking, and thought leadership in the hospitality industry worldwide.

About MEED
MEED ( is a remarkable senior management media brand, that encompasses subscription to the MEED Business Review publication and website,, as well as organising the MEED Quality Awards for Projects, AHIC and Innovation Live! MEED also works with clients on bespoke content, events, broadcast and digital offerings.  MEED also has two high-value content businesses, MEED Projects and MEED Insight. MEED Projects is the Middle East's premium project tracking database and MEED Insight offers tailored research and in-depth analysis. Established in 1957, MEED, has been integral to delivering business information and news, intelligence and analysis on the Middle East economies and activities ever since. 

About Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA)
The Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) ( was established in May 2011 under the government of Ras Al Khaimah. In order to achieve target growth of one million visitors by the end of 2018, the authority aims to develop the emirate’s tourism infrastructure and establish Ras Al Khaimah as a world-class destination for leisure and business travel, creating sustainable investment opportunities and enhancing the quality of life for its residents. In order to achieve its goals, the RAKTDA has a government mandate to license, regulate and monitor the emirate’s tourism and hospitality industry.