The two-day conference brought together over 100 decision makers from 11 different countries with the same goal of understanding what opportunities in the hospitality sector the Indian Ocean (IO) markets have to offer. We had the honour of having the Hon. Ravi Karunanayake, Minister of Finance of Sri Lanka; the Hon. John Amaratunga,Minister of Tourism and Christian Religious Affairs of Sri Lanka and H.E. Hussain Lirar, Deputy Minister of Tourism of the Maldives grace the event as guests-of-honour.
The conference began with the Hon. John Amaratunga and H.E. Hussain Lirar delivering their ministerial keynote speeches. David Keen, CEO of QUO then engaged the 3 guests-of-honour in a half-hour interview session centring on arrivals, investment positions, access and infrastructural developments in the markets of Sri Lanka and the Maldives.
The conference then went around the IO in the next 80 minutes, commencing with STR’s story-telling through the trends and figures. The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) went on to present the present and future of tourism in Sri Lanka, before a panel comprising representatives from HIMA Holdings, Jetwing Hotels, theMaldives Association for Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO) and Hotelier Maldives concluded the 80-min session with a discussion on operating within the unique IO. The second day of the conference featured panels discussing asset value creation and what are keeping owners up at night, as well as the impact of the millennials and disruptors on the hospitality sector in the IO. The Chairman of The Rainforest Ecolodge also shared best practices that were employed in the development of the project within the Sinharaja Forest Reserve.
Returning next year, HICIO aims to facilitate dialogues amongst hotel owners, operators and managers, developers, investors and architects at the two-day event.
To find out more, please visit www.hicio.sphereconferences.com.