On September 15, 2019, the Cornell Hotel Society, MENA Chapter, hosted the 5th Annual Dubai Lodging Outlook 2020 Seminar at Fairmont The Palm, Dubai. The morning seminar started off with a macroeconomic overview and forecast presentation by Mohamed Abu Basha, Director, Head of Macroeconomic Analysis, at EFG Hermes, a prominent investment bank in the region. Abu Basha’s presentation was followed by a presentation by Sarah Duignan, Director of Client Relationships at STR. Sarah highlighted the region’s key lodging trends in addition to STR’s 2020 forecast of key metrics for Dubai. The seminar was concluded with a panel discussion titled “The Impact of Expo 2020 on the Lodging Market for Dubai”, which was moderated by Tarek M. Daouk ’01, Founder and Managing Partner at Smartotels Group Holdings. The panelists included: Yigit Sezgin, Chief Commercial Officer, Middle East & Africa, AccorHotels; Gillian Hamburger, Senior Vice President Commercial, EXPO 2020; Guido De Wilde, Chief Operating Officer, Middle East, Marriott International; Richard Thompson, Editorial Director, MEED; and, Philip Wooller, Area Director Middle East & Africa, STR.
Attendance at the event increased by 18% y-o-y, totaling 330 attendees. Chapter co-President, Aditya Rajaram MMH ’11 led the planning the of the event, supported by co-President Tarek M. Daouk ’01 and a team at STR. The event was sponsored by Fairmont The Palm and PSAV.
We raised $6,000 USD (33% y-o-y increase), which we plan to donate to the EMEA scholarship fund program. Adi and I would like to thank all of you for your support and we look forward to hosting this event in future years.