AHIC 2017 Industry Pioneer Award

AHIC 2017 Awards celebrate two respected leaders of the budget and mid-market hospitality and tourism industries in the Middle East

Dubai, UAE. 27 April 2017 – On the final day of the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference 2017 (AHIC), being held at Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai, H.E. Sheikh Mubarak Al-Abdullah Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah, Founder and Non-Executive Chairman, Action Hotels and Ghaith Al Ghaith, Chief Executive Officer, flydubai, were announced winners of the prestigious annual AHIC Awards.

The AHIC 2017 Awards were presented by AHIC 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, live on stage at AHIC 2017, which was attended by 700 hotel owners, investors, consultants and operators across an exciting three-day programme.

The AHIC 2017 Awards are nominated and voted for by the AHIC Advisory Board, a panel of 40-plus hotel owners, investors, operators and consultants with extensive knowledge and experience of the Middle East hotel industry.

Chairman of Bench Events and Co-founder of AHIC, Jonathan Worsley, said: “The AHIC Awards are designed to recognise and celebrate the driving forces behind the Middle East hospitality industry. These are the people we hope will inspire the next generation of hoteliers and embolden young, local talent to pursue a career in our dynamic industry.

“This year’s acclaimed winners, H.E. Sheikh Mubarak Al-Abdullah Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah and Ghaith Al Ghaith, are pioneers in the regional mid-market travel and tourism industry. They are responsible for enabling and encouraging more visitors to come to the Middle East and stay in the wonderful destinations this region offers.

“The underserved mid-market segment is finally getting the attention it deserves, as reflected in the conversation at this year’s AHIC, and as an industry, we are inspired by and grateful to H.E. Sheikh Mubarak Al-Abdullah Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah and Ghaith Al Ghaith for paving the way.”

His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al Maktoum presented H.E. Sheikh Mubarak Al-Abdullah Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah with the AHIC 2017 Industry Pioneer Award.

As Founder and Non-Executive Chairman of Action Hotels, Sheikh Mubarak has spearheaded the growth of economy and mid-market hotels in the Middle East and broken new ground internationally, with Dubai-based Action Hotels being the only Kuwaiti company and the only hospitality company in the region to be listed on the London Stock Exchange and regulated by the Dubai International Financial Centre.

On receiving the AHIC 2017 Award, Sheikh Mubarak said: “It is a privilege for me to accept this prestigious Industry Pioneer Award.

“Over 10 years ago we identified a material gap in the Middle East’s hotel market. There were very few, if any, branded three- and four-star hotels in the prime cities across the Middle East and with the growth of intra-regional travel and the proliferation of budget airlines, I believed there was certainly an opportunity to develop this segment of hotels across our region. This led to establishing Action Hotels PLC, which has now become the leading hotel company in the Middle East and Australia spearheading the development of economy and mid-market hotels.

“We are delighted that AHIC has seen the importance of this sector within the hotel industry and this year’s theme, “Catalysts of Change”, highlights the significance and growth of the region’s economy and mid-market hospitality sector,” observed Sheikh Mubarak.

“We are passionate about what we do and this is the reason why, with my team, we continue to commit time, energy, resources and investment to further growth. This Industry Pioneer Award underpins our strategy and acknowledges our team at Action Hotels PLC, who have worked and continue to work tirelessly to grow this sector,” he said.

Sheikh Mubarak continued: “Since the opening of our first hotel in 2008, we now have 12 hotels across the Middle East and Australia, with a further seven in our pipeline in the Middle East and Australia. I am very pleased to note that we are no longer the lone player focused exclusively on this sector. I am encouraged to witness the meaningful business model of the economy and mid-market hospitality sector also adopted by few others and remain fundamentally optimistic about the power of tourism to change the world. By simply expanding tourism, we promote peace and better international relations; this creates stronger relationships and reminds people of our common humanity.”

Ghaith Al Ghaith, Chief Executive Officer of flydubai, was the recipient of the annual AHIC 2017 Leadership Award.

The AHIC Advisory Board chose to acknowledge and thank Ghaith Al Ghaith for showing leadership and entrepreneurship in developing an airline focused on the budget traveller, increasing demand from the budget-conscious visitor and in turn, opening this segment to hotel investors and operators.

“I am delighted to accept this award on behalf of the whole flydubai team in recognition for their work and for the contribution they have made to the growth of the airline,” said Ghaith Al Ghaith, upon receiving the Award.

He added: “flydubai’s achievements would not be possible without the vision and leadership of the UAE and we remain committed to contributing to its success.”

Contact: Frances Barton, Media Relations Director, In2 Consulting; frances@in2consulting.com; Office: +971 4 455 8499; Mobile: +971 50 650 3900

Notes to Editors


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 13th 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. www.benchevents.com


About MEED

MEED is a remarkable senior management media brand, that encompasses subscription to the MEED Business Review publication and website, www.meed.com, 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.  www.meed.com



Sponsors of AHIC 2017 are: Al Marjan Island, The Rezidor Hotel Group, Jumeirah Group, and Katara Hospitality as Platinum Sponsors; AccorHotels, Emaar Hospitality Group, Hilton, IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group), Marriott International, Bahrain Economic Development Board, Club Med, Wyndham Hotel Group, Moroccan Agency For Tourism Development – SMIT, IFA Hotel Investments, Wanda Hotels & Resorts, Choice Hotels International and Dubai Parks and Resorts as Emerald Sponsors; Action Hotels, Alkamal International, Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP, HVS, Langham Hospitality Group, Sahl Hasheesh, Taj Hotels Palaces Resorts Safaris, Melia Hotels International, Louvre Hotels Group, Modul University Dubai, Shaza Hotels, STR, Colliers International, HKS, Roya International, SSH, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, PwC, Ghina Real Estate, Kerzner International, Insignia Worldwide Group, Isukoshi, LXA and Pallavi Dean Interiors as Gold Sponsors.