Arthur Kiong CEO Far East Hospitality EDITED
Arthur Kiong, Far East Hospitality

Global leaders, major investors and CEOs lead a strong line-up for the 2015 Australasian Hotel Industry Conference and Exhibition (AHICE) being held in Melbourne on April 29 and 30.

There have also been some major changes to the event, being held at Grand Hyatt Melbourne, which will now run over an extra half day to cater for new investment sessions featuring more than a dozen of the world’s leading owners, investors and fund managers.

Key international speakers include Hilton Worldwide’s President of Asia-Pacific Martin Rinck, Accor Asia Pacific’s Chairman and CEO Michael Issenberg, Royal Group of Companies Managing Director Bobby Hiranandani, Far East Hospitality CEO Arthur Kiong and Majid Al Futtaim’s CEO of Hotels, Simon Barlow.

Barlow was formerly the President of Asia Pacific for Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group and is travelling to the event from Dubai where he is heading one of the Middle East’s fastest growing hotel investment companies.

One of Indonesia’s leading investors Budi Tirtawisata, Group CEO of Panorama Group, is also making the trip to Melbourne to discuss investment in one of the world’s fastest growing hotel sectors.

Simon Barlow
Simon Barlow

Local speakers confirmed include Mantra Group’s Bob East, SilverNeedle’s Andrew Turner, Accor’s Simon McGrath, Pan Pacific’s Craig Bond, ICC Sydney CEO Geoff Donaghy, IHG’s Karin Sheppard, Quest’s Paul Constantinou, Crown’s Peter Crinis, TFE’s Rachel Argaman and more.

Key investors James Hines, Jerry Schwartz, IBA’s Mark Bullock, Pro-invest’s Phil Kasselis and Asian Pacific Group’s Will Deague are also confirmed as speakers over the day and a half event.

Tourism Australia’s Managing Director John O’Sullivan and Carnival Australia’s CEO Ann Sherry are also scheduled to give keynote speeches, while Tourism Industry Association New Zealand’s CEO Chris Roberts will provide an update on the hotel industry across the Tasman and Albury Mayor Kevin Mack till talk about the need for governments of all levels to support regional tourism.

A new ‘meet the press’ session will also be held, whereby leading journalists will be asking CEOs about pressing issues in the hotel industry across Asia-Pacific and key members of the panel include the Australian Financial Review’s Property Reporter Larry Schlesinger, the Sydney Morning Herald’s Commercial Property Editor Carolyn Cummins and HM magazine’s Editor-In-Chief James Wilkinson.

Michael Issenberg
Michael Issenberg

While the full agenda is yet to be released, it has been confirmed that topics at AHICE will cover Asian investment in Australasia, local investment, fund management and family investment alongside hotel development and key operations panels covering IT, F&B, human resources, hotel management contracts, OTAs, aviation and more.

AHICE remains focused on covering key operational topics, while the new investment panels have been added due to industry demand.

AHICE confirmed speakers include:
-Adrian Williams, Vice President Operations – Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia, Accor Hotels and Resorts
-Andreas Flaig, Executive Vice President – Development, Asia Pacific, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group
-Andrew Taylor, Director of Acquisitions and Development – Pacific Region, Starwood Hotels
-Andrew Turner, EVP Business Development, SilverNeedle
-Ann Sherry AO, Chief Executive Officer, Carnival Australia
-Anthony De Francesco, Managing Director, IPD
-Arthur Kiong, CEO, Far East Hospitality
-Barry Fleischmann, General Manager – Development, Best Western Australasia
-Bob East, CEO, Mantra Group
-Bobby Hiranandani, Managing Director, Royal Group of Companies
-Budi Tirtawisata, Group CEO, Panorama Group
-Carolyn Cummins, Commercial Property Editor, Sydney Morning Herald
-Chris Roberts, CEO, Tourism Industry Association New Zealand
-Craig Bond, Area General Manager – Oceania, Pan Pacific Hotels Group
-Craig Simpson, Head of Hotel Technology, AHL
-David Wray, Acquisitions Director, Wyndham Worldwide
-Geoff Donaghy, Group Director of Convention Centres and CEO of International Convention Centre Sydney, AEG Ogden
-Gus Moors, National Director – Transaction Services, Hotels Asia Pacific, Colliers
-Henry Westmacott, hotel IT expert (formerly Guest Technology Manager at Accor)
-Howard Kemball, Asset Manager, KCom
-James Hines, Managing Director, Hines Property
-James Wilkinson, Editor-In-Chief, HM magazine
-Jerry Schwartz, CEO, Schwartz Family Company
-John O’Sullivan, Managing Director, Tourism Australia
-Julian Clark, CEO, The Lancemore Group
-Karin Sheppard, COO – Australasia, Japan and Korea, and Head of Franchising – AMEA, IHG
-Ken Smith, Regional Director, Valuation and Advisory Services, CBRE Hotels
-Kevin Mack, Mayor, Albury City Council
-Larry Schlesinger, Property Reporter, Australian Financial Review
-Lindsay Leeser, Vice President Development – Pacific, Accor Hotels
-Mark Bullock, Manager, Tourism and Hospitality Portfolio, Indigenous Business Australia
-Martin Rinck, President – Asia-Pacific, Hilton Worldwide
-Michael Issenberg, Chairman and CEO, Accor Asia Pacific
-Michael Moret-Lalli, Director of Acquisitions, Mantra Group
-Michael Simpson, Managing Director – Australia and New Zealand, Savills Hotels
-Paul Constantinou, Chairman/Founder, Quest Serviced Apartments
-Peter Crinis, Chief Operating Officer – Hotels, Retail and Food & Beverage, Crown Limited
-Peter Hill, Director of Development, AHL Hotels and Resorts
-Phil Kasselis, Managing Director, Pro-invest Hotels Group
-Rachel Argaman, CEO, TFE Hotels
-Robert Williams, Principal, Ryan Lawyers
-Simon Barlow, CEO – Hotels, Majid Al Futtaim (MAF)
-Simon McGrath, Chief Operating Officer – Pacific, Accor Hotels
-Will Deague, Chief Executive Officer, Asian Pacific Group

The full program for AHICE will be released in the coming weeks and to book tickets, visit

A limited number of sponsorship opportunities are still available and for more information, contact Adam Daff on and +61 (0)2 8586 6207.

James Wilkinson

Editor-In-Chief, Hotel Management