Sri Lanka, one of the top two emerging hotel and resort markets in Asia, is to host the first Asia Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference (AHTIC), a top-level gathering of international investors, business leaders, government ministers and officials.
President Maithripala Sirisena is supporting the conference as its patron. The AHTIC conference will take place on November 27 and 29 at the Hilton Colombo in Sri Lanka. (www.asia-conference.com)
“Sri Lanka is a perfect place to launch our Asia conference. The country’s tourism development authority has prepared an ambitious strategic plan, inviting private and public stakeholders to tackle both the industry’s long-standing needs and the future potential of the country as a tourism destination,” said Matthew Weihs, the managing director of conference organizer Bench Events.
A record two million tourists are expected to arrive in Sri Lanka this year, and government ministers are anticipating this figure will double by 2020.
“The conference will cover every aspect of tourism investment throughout Asia Pacific. This is a fast-growing tourism development region and there will be substantial opportunities to network with other delegates and to exchange thoughts and ideas on the sector. The conference will also stimulate dialogue between business and government,” Weihs said.
According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, the direct contribution of the industry to the Asia Pacific region was USD694.1bn (3.0% of total GDP) in 2014, and is forecast to rise by 9% per annum, from 2015-2025, to USD1,177.1bn (3.2% of total GDP) in 2025.
Co-Organizer and Founder Sponsor Dr Prabath Chandima Ukkwatte, Chairman, Sri Lanka Tourism Club, said: “Colombo has been the host of several high-profile international conferences but with the establishment of AHTIC as a regular international event, we will for the first time, become the home of an important international business meeting that will build in stature and influence as it grows from year to year.”
Bench Events puts together hotel investment events across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Jonathan Worsley, Chairman of Bench Events launched the International Hotel Investment Forum in Berlin, now in its twentieth year in 2005, launched the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference in Dubai.
In 2008, the Russia & CIS Hotel Investment Conference was followed by Central Asia and Turkey Investment Hotel Conference. In 2011, with industry backing, Bench Events opened the Africa Hotel Investment Forum which has been held in Casablanca, Nairobi, Addis Ababa and this year to be held in both Lomé, Togo and Kigali, Rwanda.
Other regular events are the Global Restaurant Investment Forum in Dubai, Mediterranean Resort & Hotel Real Estate Forum in Madrid. More recently it has moved into the aviation development space with the launch of the AviaDev Conference.
It also partners with the British Hospitality Association on the annual British Hospitality & Tourism Summit held in London. Bench Events has recently announced a joint venture partnership with Arturo Rosa on the South American Hotel Investment Conference (SAHIC) for Latin America.