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The Launch of GRIF - Putting Dubai at the forefront of the global culinary scene

The launch of GRIF (The Global Restaurant Investment Forum), with an exclusive session hosted by Pierre Gagnaire at his new restaurant and Patisserie Choix, InterContinental Dubai Festival City, marks a significant step towards Dubai’s recognition as the world’s best ‘gastro-hub’. GRIF attendees gained valuable insights on Gagnaire’s recipe for success in the Dubai market including his reasons for choosing Dubai and the opportunities he sees in the region.

GRIF is the inaugural event for the restaurant and hospitality investment community and part of Dubai Food Festival. Hosted by Bench Events, GRIF offers a unique meeting place for over 200 attendees gaining insight from over 50 key industry experts and thought leaders who will share their knowledge and expertise on how to succeed in this rapidly growing industry, as well as insights into the hottest new developments within the restaurant, bar and franchise space.

Fast becoming recognised as a food lover’s destination, Dubai’s reputation for offering superior quality food and service has prompted the opening of boutique eateries alongside big brands and celebrity chefs - each worthy alone of a visit to the City. Competition in the hotel and food and beverage industries is at an all-time high, with the emergence of more concepts in the past five years than ever before and a greater importance placed on dining experience - now believed to rank alongside climate, accommodation and scenery in importance to tourists.

Providing a platform for investors, restaurant and hospitality influencers from around the world to share knowledge and contacts, GRIF promises to be an innovative new event and an industry must whilst also elevating Dubai’s position on the culinary map.

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About Bench Events and the Global Restaurant Investment Forum (GRIF) Bench Events has been hosting hotel investment conferences for over 16 years, bringing together investors, owners, financiers, operators, advisors and architects to do the deals that drive the industry.

The Global Restaurant Investment Forum is the inaugural event for the restaurant and hospitality community. It is the meeting place for investors, hoteliers, owners, lenders, F&B brands, restaurant concepts, franchisors, franchisees, suppliers and other key industry professionals across the region to gain confidence in the market and share best practices with the industry.

Confirmed Gold Sponsors include: Dentons, Hodema, Horizons, Jumeirah, Puccini Group and Qbara. In addition to the Global Restaurant Investment Forum, Bench Events is one of the organisers and founders, alongside Questex Travel + Hospitality and MEED Events, of several well-known conferences for the hotel investment industry including Berlin (IHIF), Dubai (AHIC), Istanbul (CATHIC), Africa (AHIF) and Moscow (RHIC). www.benchevents.com

 

MCI’s Sumaira Isaacs elected to IAPCO council

MCI is pleased to announce that Sumaira Isaacs, Chief Operating Officer, MCI India, Middle East & Africa, has been elected to the International Association of Professional Congress Organisers (IAPCO) council.

IAPCO is a leading association in the international meetings and events industry and represents more than 114 professional organisers, meeting planners and managers of international and national congresses, conventions and special events. The association is committed to raising standards of service among its members and other sectors of the meetings industry by means of continuing education and interaction with other professionals.

A true meetings industry veteran with over 20 years’ experience, Sumaira brings immense international knowledge and local insights into the IMEA market (India, Middle East and Africa) to the IAPCO board.

Driving the strategic growth of MCI in IMEA since 2006, Sumaira has been instrumental in building relations with local opinion leaders and is considered a key contributor to the development of the meetings industry in the region. Under her leadership, significant investments in staff and client services have been made and MCI has built up a strong network of corporate and association clients and an impressive record of successful events.

“IAPCO is a great platform to give back to an industry that's given me so much,” said Sumaira. “It is the premier industry standard for quality and knowledge for its members, and I am proud to be associated with it.”

MCI was previously represented on the IAPCO Council by Philippe Fournier, President, MCI France. Philippe recently stepped down after 8 successful years on the council, including 2 years as IAPACO President from 2010- 2012.

As part of the IAPCO council, Sumaira will help to guide IAPCO as the leading authority on professional congress organisation worldwide, ensure that the association’s quality standards are maintained and effectively serve the association’s members.

Malmö will be the host city for the World Wind Energy Conference 2017
The annual international wind power convention – WWEA’s World Wind Energy Conference – will be held in 2017 in Malmö. It is the first time ever for this event to be held in a Swedish city, and all of us at the Malmö Convention Bureau are exceptionally pleased to hear this news as the topic of the convention matches so well with the City of Malmö’s commitment to a green city and a sustainable future.

The World Wind Energy Conference is organised annually by the World Wind Energy Association (WWEA) in cooperation with a national membership organisation, in the case of Sweden, the Swedish Windpower Association/Svensk Vindkraftförening. Since its inception, there have been 12 annual conventions – first in Berlin in 2002 and the most recent one in Shanghai in 2014. In 2015, Australia will be the host country, and 2016 the convention will be held in Tokyo, moving on to Malmö and Sweden in 2017. It will thus be the first time the World Wind Energy Convention is held in Sweden.

“We are proud that Sweden and the Swedish Windpower Association has been selected as the host country for the convention, as it is a convention with great opportunities. We have chosen to go with Malmö as the host city, which today ranks as one of the world’s most sustainable cities. Malmö has a goal of being supplied with renewable energy to the 100 percent level by 2030. This makes Sweden and Malmö at a very exciting choice,” commented Ulla Hedman Andrén, Director of Operations at the Swedish Windpower Association.

Conferences are an important source of revenue for the business community in Malmö. The World Wind Energy Conference, with its 1,000 delegates, is anticipated to provide an economic flow to the City of a value of SEK 9.6 million during its three days in Malmö. The total spending is estimated to provide employment equivalent to 6.9 full-time employees on an annual basis.

“To stand as a host city for congresses, conventions, meetings and events is an important step in order increase Malmö’s attractiveness as a meeting destination,” observes Hanna Lingvide, who is Section Manager at the Malmö Convention Bureau and adds, “Conventions may be significant bearers of value and with the World Wind Energy Conference, we get the chance to strengthen our commitment to sustainable energy while at the same time benefiting our local economy.”

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Quick facts:

The Malmö Convention Bureau is the tourism industry’s and the city of Malmö’s organisation for conventions and conferences. The Malmö Convention Bureau’s mission is to promote Malmö as a meeting destination, and to provide the customer with advice and assistance free of charge with the planning of meetings in Malmö.

Some 40 major conventions are organised in Malmö annually. In 2013, a total of 37 conferences took places in the city. The international and national conventions provided a value of SEK 119 million in economic flows to the city. Total spending gave rise to an employment equivalent to 85 full-time employees on an annual basis. www.malmotown.com

WWEA: The World Wind Energy Association (WWEA) is an international wind power association with members in 95 countries. WWEA works for the promotion of wind energy globally via national governments and international organisations. The association holds the World Wind Energy Conference (WWEC) annually in cooperation with a national membership organisation.

www.wwindea.org www.wwec2014.net

The Swedish Windpower Association is a non-profit and non-political organisation open to both private individuals as well as to companies, and currently has over 2,000 members. The association promotes the development and growth of wind power via the sharing of knowledge and the development of technology in collaboration with governmental agencies and private organisations. The association is active on both the nation and international level.

www.svenskvindkraft.org

 

UAE Federal Ruling on EU Visa Requirements Will Further Enhance Dubai’s Popularity

A new ruling by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs exempting citizens of 13 European member states from requiring a pre-entry visa to the UAE, will further enhance Dubai’s popularity with European tourists. With citizens of the other 15 European member states already being exempt, the announcement means that all citizens of the European Union holding an ordinary passport will be allowed to enter the UAE without having to previously apply for a visa. The ruling comes into effect from 22nd March 2014.

Speaking in Berlin on the sidelines of ITB 2014, the world's largest tourism trade fair, His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) said: “This is a very positive announcement from the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and one which will have a significant impact on the attractiveness of Dubai as a destination for tourists from the 13 countries included today in the exemption. With regards to business visitors, the exemption for citizens of all European member states further enhances Dubai’s status as the meeting point for Europe to host and conduct business with the partners from across the MENASA supra-region.

"European countries have traditionally featured prominently in our top 20 source markets for visitors, with more than 2.8 million Europeans staying in our hotels during 2013. The lifting of visa restrictions provides for easier travel arrangements from across the continent so it is no surprise that the news has been received extremely positively here at ITB, both by our partners from the Dubai tourism industry and from the European travel industry.”

13 countries

The 13 countries that come under the new exemption are: Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Hungary, Latvia, Estonia, Malta, Cyprus, Croatia, Romania and Bulgaria. Dubai’s top 20 visitor source markets in 2013 included five European Union countries, each of which were already exempt from requiring pre-arrival visas: the UK (ranked 3rd), Germany (ranked 7th), France (ranked 14th), Italy (ranked 17th) and the Netherlands (ranked 20th).

His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri continued: “As we work towards our target of welcoming 20 million visitors per year by 2020, DTCM will continue to work with partners in the government and the private sector to ensure that Dubai’s destination offering is continually enhanced. This not only includes infrastructural developments and the provision of more hotels, attractions, events and experiences, but also includes leveraging our geographic location and the connectivity provided by our world leading aviation infrastructure. Easing such visa restrictions combines with the continual expansion of the route networks of our airline partners and the opening of our second international airport, to ensure that Dubai is ever more accessible and connected to the world.”

Eduardo Chaillo to Serve as Global General Manager for Latin America

Eduardo Chaillo connects with Maritz Travel Company as global general manager of Latin America. In this role Chaillo will help lead the Maritz Travel Company Global Meetings Network, counsel and support current and future client engagements, and continue his and the company's in-market industry advocacy, education and leadership efforts.

Chaillo, owner of Global Meetings and Tourism Specialists LLC, is an extended team member of Maritz Travel Company - which includes Maritz Travel and Experient. With an extensive and successful background of attracting international business, Chaillo has helped establish model partnerships throughout the industry. A history that incorporates corporate, association and tradeshow buyers and suppliers, Chaillo has been and will continue to be a quintessential linking-pin for Maritz Travel Company clients for creating and delivering exceptional experiences.

"Eduardo's insight into Latin America's many destinations, attractions, cultures and networks will be priceless to Maritz Travel Company's current and future clients," said David Peckinpaugh, president of Maritz Travel Company. "He will be instrumental in helping us further identify, connect and build relationships within both developed and rapidly emerging markets."

Chaillo is joined by two other Maritz Travel Company global general manager colleagues focused on complementary geographic markets: Ping He, a veteran member of Maritz Travel Company, representing Asia Pacific and Ben Goedegebuure, representing European, Middle Eastern and African regions.

Growing destination epicenter

"Latin America continues to quickly evolve and become a growing destination epicenter for both inter-regional and global industry events," said Chaillo. "There is tremendous diversity throughout Latin America; successfully unlocking the full potential value for both regional and global organizations and their guests through the event experience requires an ability to effectively connect locally."

Chaillo will help further lead both Maritz Travel Company and its Global Meetings Network, including professional conference organizers, destination management companies and other key relationships. This will ensure consistent quality in the design and delivery of programs that help transform client organizations and their people through the event experience.

"My past relationships and partnerships with Maritz Travel Company and now global general manager colleagues are a natural fit based upon our shared views, histories and industry passions," Chaillo said. "For me, being able to further help educate, navigate and create unique experiences requires the right mix of talent, collaboration and know-how; together, we have an incredible blend in all of the above."

Marriott International opens Shanghai Marriott Hotel Parkview

Marriott International continues its rapid expansion in China with the opening today of the 317-room Shanghai Marriott Hotel Parkview, bringing the total number of properties in China under the flagship Marriott Hotels brand to 15. Marriott International manages the Shanghai Marriott Hotel Parkview under a long-term agreement with the owner, Shanghai Bao Hua Group.

The hotel is situated next to the Multimedia Valley in Zhabei District and offers unparalleled meetings and events facilities and is the only hotel in Shanghai’s city center with two full-sized pillar-less ballrooms, as well as a wide selection of large conference spaces.

Neighboring the Daning Lingshi Park, the largest green space in the downtown area, the hotel provides a tranquil environment surrounded by nature trails, offering the guests the ability to seamlessly switch between work and leisure.

“We are delighted to open this inspiring hotel in Shanghai which adds to our extensive portfolio in China,” said Mr. Simon Cooper, President & Managing Director of Asia Pacific for Marriott International. “The Shanghai Marriott Hotel Parkview marks Marriott International’s first partnership with Shanghai Bao Hua Group with whom we share a common vision and drive to make this a truly stunning new hotel for this very important city. With the addition of our 15th Marriott branded hotel in China, our total portfolio grows to 66 hotels in the country and our 21st in Shanghai, where we are the largest operator of full-service hotels in the city.”

“Marriott Hotels is the original and iconic brand within the Marriott International portfolio of hotel brands and we are currently on a journey to transform this brand and reassert its position as a pioneer in innovation. Shanghai Marriott Hotel Parkview will become a standard bearer for the newly revitalized Marriott Hotels brand, and is a great example of how we want the brand to be seen in the future,” said Mr. Cooper.

The Shanghai Marriott Hotel Parkview offers 317 rooms and suites that feature scenic views of the park, all with a modern and fresh design by internationally renowned interior design firm Hirsch Bedner Associates. The hotel also provides brand new room amenities by Thann, the natural Thai skincare line, for an enhanced beauty and body care experience.

The hotel is also the perfect choice for MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibition). The impressive 2,800 square-meters of meeting space is conveniently located on one floor.

The larger of the hotel’s two pillarless ballrooms measures 1,400 square-meters and features two state-of-the-art 65sqm LED screens, while the other measures 1,000 square-meters and also provides one LED screen. Five flexible function rooms are perfect for small to medium sized sophisticated corporate events. The hotel’s dedicated wedding planning services coupled with its panoramic views across what is Shanghai’s biggest downtown parkland makes it the ideal location for a city wedding.

“Shanghai is one of the most important cities for meetings and events in the region, and the magnificent new Shanghai Marriott Hotel Parkview underlines Marriott’s commitment to lead the future of meetings in Asia,” said Ricky Lam, General Manager of Shanghai Marriott Hotel Parkview. “This hotel offers the very latest in technology, facilities and creative event spaces and is really a great example of the next generation of Marriott Hotels in Asia, which perfectly embodies the brand’s philosophy of allowing guests to “travel brilliantly”.

The hotel is home to four signature food and beverage outlets that are set to redefine the dining landscape in the immediate area for local residents and travelers alike. These include Shanghai City Bistro, an all-day dining restaurant featuring live action cooking stations showcasing traditional favorites and cuisines from around the world. The prestigious Man Ho Chinese Restaurant specializes in authentic Cantonese and Shanghainese cuisine. Eight private dining rooms provide an exclusive and comfortable backdrop for a more intimate gathering of friends and family or for entertaining large or small groups; Tatsumi is a stylishly-designed contemporary Japanese & Korean dining experience hidden away on the hotel’s second floor offering a tasteful blend of north Asian delicacies.

Guests can also relax in The Lounge which serves a selection of soft drinks and signature afternoon tea sets in The Lobby, an engaging setting where business and leisure intersect.

The hotel’s premium amenities include a 24-hour fitness center and indoor swimming pool, as well as access to a golf practice green and a tennis court.

High up on the 25th floor alongside the executive rooms and suites, the Executive Lounge offers business services as well as complimentary food and drinks for Executive Floor guests.

Shanghai Marriott Hotel Parkview’s location means it is easily accessible not only to the business districts of Shanghai but also to a number of Shanghai’s most famous attractions. It is a five-minute walk to Metro Line 1, while only 15 minutes by car to the likes of People’s Square and the Bund. It is also 25 minutes to Shanghai Hongqiao Airport and 45 minutes to Shanghai Pudong Airport.