H.E. Ahmed Al Khateeb
Minister of Tourism
Minister of Tourism
Organized by Ministry of Tourism, Saudi Arabia and G20 Saudi Secretariat as part of The International Conferences Program, honoring the G20 Saudi presidency year 2020 - and powered by Bench Digital, Future Hospitality Summit has been developed to tackle the big ideas and challenges facing the hospitality industry in both the Kingdom and the world.
Join us on 26 and 27 October 2020 for this 'hybrid' virtual conference, along with 6000+ participants from around the world.
The event is being delivered on a cutting edge digital event platform managed by Bench Digital - providing an immersive live experience including a virtual exhibition, one-to-one video networking and integrated chat features for all participants.
The conference has been designed to dig deep into how we create a hospitality industry that is:
His Excellency Ahmed Al Khateeb is Saudi Arabia’s first Minister of Tourism, responsible for opening the Kingdom to international tourism and realising the sector’s full social and economic potential.
Under His Excellency’s leadership in 2019, the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Heritage launched Saudi Arabia’s first international tourism visa and laid the foundations for Saudi tourism product development. More than half a million tourist visas were issued within six months – including 14,000 in the first twenty-four hours, making Saudi Arabia the fastest growing tourist destination in the world.
The Ministry of Tourism and the Saudi Tourism Authority were established by Royal Decree in February 2020 in recognition of the significant role the sector will play in realising Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 goals of a thriving economy and vibrant society. To further support tourism development within the Kingdom, a $4billion Tourism Development Fund was launched in summer 2020.
As Minister of Tourism, His Excellency will continue oversee the development of a sustainable and future-ready tourism sector that will attract significant investment, welcome over 100 million annual visits and create over one million new jobs by 2030. In addition to his role leading the Ministry, His Excellency acts as Chairman of the Saudi Tourism Authority and the Tourism Development Fund.
His Excellency has over 25 years of experience in investment and financial services and has successfully established, managed and restructured multiple private-sector and government entities. He is known for his ability to drive institutional transformation to realise long-term strategic objectives. Previous governmental positions include Minister of Health and Chairman of the Board of Directors for the General Entertainment Authority.
His Excellency currently holds a number of other key positions driving change in Saudi Arabia, including Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Saudi Fund for Development, Chairman of the Committee of Quality of Life Program Center - one of the pillars of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Saudi Arabia Military Industries (SAMI) as well as Secretary General for the Diriyah Gate Development Authority, a UNESCO World Heritage site, Secretary General of the Board of Qiddiya, and Secretary General for New Jeddah Downtown Company. HE is Member of the Board of Directors of Saudi Arabia’s pioneering Giga-Projects: NEOM and the Red Sea Development Company. He is also Advisor to HRH the Minister of Defense and to the Council of Ministers General Secretariat.
His Excellency Khalid A. Al-Falih is Minister of Investment for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Previously, he served as Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources from May 2016 through September 2019, and he served as Minister of Health and Chairman of the Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco) Board of Directors from 2009 through 2015.
Prior to his appointment as Chairman, HE Al-Falih held key leadership positions across Saudi Aramco, to include serving as President and Chief Executive Officer from January 2009 through May 1, 2015. He also was Executive Vice President of Operations and Senior Vice President of Gas Operations and Industrial Relations, respectively.
Recognized for driving strategic organizational transformation throughout his three-decade career at Aramco, HE Al-Falih has led large-scale business initiatives and industrial projects, built capacity for the benefit of Saudi citizens through economic and social programs, and enhanced the performance and impact of complex organizations. For many years, he has taken a particular interest in leveraging business activities to fuel social development and economic diversification, fostering strong collaboration between Saudi Arabia’s public, private and academic sectors, and promoting the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) among young people. HE Al-Falih remains committed to enriching society through the creation of new business and human resource development opportunities; the protection of the environment; the nurturing of entrepreneurship and innovation; and the creation of a knowledge-based society equipped to meet the challenges of the future. His appointment as Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources is a reflection of key economic and business changes as part of the Saudi Vision 2030, as well as recognition of H.E Al-Falih’s exceptional leadership and achievement.
In 2016, HE Al-Falih was named on the Forbes list of The World’s Most Powerful People, and in 2018, the Japanese government awarded him its national decoration, The Order of the Rising Sun.
HE Al-Falih earned a bachelor of science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M University in 1982 and completed his MBA at KFUPM in 1991. In 2009, he received an honorary doctorate from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and was awarded the King Abdulaziz Medal (First Class), Saudi Arabia’s highest civilian honor for service to the country. In 2016, he was recognized as Energy Intelligence Petroleum Executive of the Year.
Keith Barr has been Chief Executive Officer of IHG® since July 2017.
Keith is responsible for implementing IHG’s strategy for high-quality growth and generating industry leading value creation for hotel owners, operators and shareholders. This strategy focuses on strengthening a diverse portfolio of differentiated brands, building scale in key markets, creating lifetime guest relationships, and delivering highly profitable revenues to hotels.
IHG is a global organisation, which predominately franchises and manages more than 5,900 hotels and approximately 883,000 guest rooms in more than 100 countries. IHG’s brands include InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts, the Holiday Inn® Brand Family, and Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts.
Keith has spent more than 25 years working in the hospitality industry across a wide range of roles, having started his career in hotel operations. He has been a member of IHG’s Executive Committee since April 2011 and served as Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) for four years before being appointed CEO. In this role, he led IHG’s global brand, loyalty, sales and marketing functions, driving consistent brand strategies and leveraging IHG’s scale and systems to deliver continued industry outperformance. In addition, he oversaw IHG’s loyalty programme, IHG® Rewards Club, which now has more than 100 million enrolled members globally.
Prior to his role as CCO, Keith spent four years as CEO of IHG’s Greater China business, where under his leadership, IHG drove outstanding results and helped set the foundations for growth in a key market. During this time, IHG also developed and launched the HUALUXE® Hotels and Resorts brand in 2012, which is tailored specifically for the Chinese traveller.
Keith joined IHG in 2000 and subsequently held a number of senior positions in IHG’s Americas and Asia, Middle East and Africa (AMEA) regions. He was previously Vice President of Operations for Midscale brands in North America, Vice President of Operations for the Holiday Inn brand in North America and Chief Operating Officer for Australia, New Zealand, and South Pacific.
Prior to joining IHG, Keith held several senior positions at Bristol Hotels and Resorts, which was acquired by IHG in 2000. Keith is a Non-Executive Director of Yum! Brands. He also sits on the Board of WiHTL (Women in Hospitality Travel & Leisure). Keith is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and is currently a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board for The School of Hotel Administration, Cornell SC Johnson College of Business.
After five years working in several financial positions in New York, San Francisco and London, Sébastien Bazin was appointed CEO of Hottinguer Rivaud Finances, an investment bank, in 1990, and then CEO of L’Immobilière Hôtelière, a hotel developer in France, in 1992. In 1997, he moved to Colony Capital, a private real estate investment firm, to head up its European branch and lead several acquisitions, principally in the hospitality sector (Générale des Eaux, Club Méditerranée, Lucien Barrière, Fairmont & Raffles, Buffalo Grill, Château Lascombes, Stadia Consulting and others).
He joined Accor’s Board of Directors in 2005 and, via Colony Capital, became a Paris Saint-Germain shareholder in 2006 and the club’s Chairman in 2009.
In August 2013, he resigned from his duties at Colony Capital and was appointed Chairman and CEO of Accor.
Sébastien has been Chairman of the Théâtre du Châtelet’s Board of Directors since 2015 (and a Board member since 2013), is Vice-Chairman of the Gustave Roussy Foundation’s Supervisory Board, and has been a member of GE’s Board of Directors since 2016.
Arnold Donald is President & Chief Executive Officer of Carnival Corporation & PLC, the largest travel and leisure company in the world. Their portfolio of ten cruise brands -- Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn, AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard, P&O Cruises UK, P&O Cruises Australia and Fathom are based throughout North America, Europe, Australia and Asia. Together these brands maintain a fleet of over 100 ships and serve more than 11 million guests annually. Carnival Corporation & PLC also operates Holland America Princess Alaska Tours, the leading tour company in Alaska and the Canadian Yukon with 10 hotels plus rail and bus services connecting guests with the northern interior. Traded on both the New York and London Stock Exchanges, Carnival Corporation & PLC is the only group in the world to be included in both the S&P500 and the FTSE 100 indices.
Mr. Donald has been President & CEO of Carnival Corporation since 2013; prior to that he served on the board for 12 years. In January 2017 he was appointed Chair of Cruise Line Industry Association (CLIA). He currently serves on the board of Bank of America Corporation and Crown Holdings, Inc.
Mr. Donald spent more than twenty years at Monsanto Company as Corporate Senior Vice-President, and President of the Consumer and Nutrition sector and President of the Agricultural sector. After leaving Monsanto, Mr. Donald was Chairman of Merisant Company whose products included the leading global sweetener brands Equal and Canderel.
Immediately prior to Carnival, Mr. Donald was President and Chief Executive Officer of the Executive Leadership Council, a professional network and leadership forum for African-American executives of Fortune 500 companies, and the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International, the largest charitable funder of diabetes research in the world.
A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, Mr. Donald received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Carleton College, a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Washington University in St Louis, and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business.
Mr. Donald has a strong commitment to higher education and serves on the boards of two of his alma maters, Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota and Washington University in St. Louis, in Missouri. He is also on the boards of the Greater New Orleans Foundation and St. Louis based BJC Healthcare among others.
Federico J. González is the CEO of Radisson Hotel Group.
Federico has extensive global executive leadership experience in the hospitality, leisure and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sectors. Prior to joining Radisson Hotel Group, he was Chief Executive Officer of NH Hotel Group – where he led a major turnaround of the company – and as Deputy General Manager of Disneyland Paris.
He previously spent 16 years in senior management positions at Procter & Gamble in Brussels, Madrid and Stockholm before becoming the company’s Country Head of Portugal in 2000.
A respected marketer and hotelier, González has written three books: Living and Working Abroad; How to Live and Work with Portuguese; and How to succeed in doing business the Swedish way.
As a global leader, Federico’s personal mission is to motivate and energize large organizations to be more ambitious – in profitability, purpose and people – through respect for diversity of thoughts, culture, gender, experience and beliefs.
González majored in Economics at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and received a Masters of International Trade and Finance from the École Supérieure de Commerce de Paris. He is fluent in English, Spanish, Portuguese and French.
Gloria joined WTTC in August 2017, following a varied career in Travel & Tourism. Recognised as one of the most influential women in Mexico by CNN and Expansion, Gloria began her professional career in 1989 at NCR Corporation working in the Latin America, Middle East, and Africa regions.
Since 1995 she has worked for the travel industry, starting at the Sabre Travel Network and Sabre Holdings, she was later CEO of JV Sabre Mexico reporting to a board of directors from Aeromexico, Mexicana, and Sabre. In March 2010 President Calderon appointed her as Minister of Tourism and two weeks after she was given in addition the full responsibility of the Mexican Tourism board. Under her leadership the “National Agreement for Tourism” in Mexico was created and signed on 28 February 2011.
Gloria received the Good Neighbour Award from the US-Mexico Chamber of Commerce and Virtuoso awarded Mexico the best tourism board in the world due to her successful branding and repositioning efforts.
In addition, Gloria has been Special Advisor on Government Affairs to Harvard University, and part of the Future for Travel, Tourism and Aviation Global Agenda Council of the World Economic Forum (WEF).
Arne M. Sorenson is president and chief executive officer of Marriott International, Inc. Mr. Sorenson presides over one of the world’s largest hospitality companies and some of the most iconic brands in travel. Mr. Sorenson has built his tenure on the bedrock of Marriott International’s core values: putting people first, pursuing excellence, acting with integrity, embracing change and serving our world.
Mr. Sorenson led the acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide in 2016, resulting in a dramatic expansion of Marriott’s ability to provide unparalleled guest experiences around the world. The company now has more than 7,400 properties across 135 countries and territories and 30 brands. The merger also created the travel industry’s largest customer-loyalty program, Marriott Bonvoy, which has more than 140 million members.
An outspoken corporate leader, Mr. Sorenson has advocated for environmental sustainability, human rights, and diversity and inclusion.
Mr. Sorenson joined Marriott in 1996 and held a number of positions before serving as president and chief operating officer. He was elected to Marriott’s Board of Directors in 2011. He became chief executive officer in 2012, making history as the first person to hold the post without the Marriott family name.
Under his tenure, Marriott International has been recognized extensively, including by Fortune in 2020 as one of the World’s Most Admired Companies and DiversityInc as one of the Top 50 Companies for Diversity. In 2019, Mr. Sorenson was named CEO of the Year by Chief Executive magazine and was placed on Forbes’ list of America’s Most Innovative Leaders and Barron’s list of World’s Best CEOs.
Mr. Sorenson is active on multiple boards. He joined the Microsoft board of directors in November 2017. He is also a member of the board of directors of the Business Roundtable, serving as chair of its Health and Retirement Committee, co-chair of its COVID-19 Taskforce and as a member of its Special Committee on Racial Equity and Justice. He serves on the board of trustees for The Brookings Institution and the board of directors for Special Olympics and the Warrior-Scholar Project.
Mr. Sorenson is a graduate of Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, and the University of Minnesota Law School. Before he joined Marriott, he was a partner with the law firm Latham & Watkins in Washington, D.C. He and his wife Ruth live in the Washington, D.C., area, where they raised four children.
Mr. Sorenson’s LinkedIn blog, which has more than 770,000 followers, can be found here.
As the Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Abercrombie & Kent Group of Companies, Geoffrey Kent brings a truly extraordinary lifetime of experience, innovation and genuine passion to the world’s most exclusive luxury adventure travel corporation. A pioneer of the modern luxury safari, Kent has taken his company—and his clients—from heretofore undiscovered areas of the African continent to the furthermost reaches of the globe. Under his visionary direction, Abercrombie & Kent (A&K) offers 350 tours and expeditions in more than 100 countries across seven continents. As the company has been fashioned, the common denominator among all of A&K’s unforgettable journeys is an unwavering commitment to service—to the unquestioned best in expert guides, luxurious accommodations, safety standards, commodious and unique transportation and an assiduously-crafted schedule of amenities and activities that brook no equal.
Geoffrey Kent’s life began, really, much as he lives it today—amidst excitement and adventure in an exotic location. He was born in 1942 while his parents, Colonel John and Valerie Kent, were on safari in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia). Growing up on the family farm in the Aberdare Highlands of Kenya, his eventful childhood was spent in the splendor and drama of untamed Africa. He attended the then-new Duke of York School in Nairobi, which would ultimately produce many of Kenya’s business and science leaders.
At the tender age of 16, the fearless Kent undertook an initial solitary exploration of the African continent that would in many ways define the course of his life. On this momentous two-month trek, he became the first individual to travel by motorbike the 5,000 often treacherous miles between Kenya and Cape Town, South Africa.
After attending the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, Kent saw service in such far-flung countries as Bahrain, Aden, Oman, Yemen, Cyprus, Libya and Malta. After his last posting as Aide-de-Camp to General John Frost, CB, DSO*, MC (of ‘A Bridge Too Far’ fame), his distinguished armed forces career was cut relatively short as a result of hearing damage from years spent in heavy tanks.
During his time in the British Army Kent, together with his parents, founded Abercrombie & Kent in Kenya. Now he could return to Kenya and A&K on a full time basis. By 1967, the elder Kent retired and the younger son moved full bore into turning A&K into the internationally-renowned luxury travel powerhouse that it is today.
With the innate skill of a consummate businessman and the relentless curiosity of a born explorer, Kent created a company that enables travelers to literally discover the world around them—and to do it in a uniquely stylish manner. Africa, Antarctica, the Arctic, Australia and the South Pacific. The Orient (China, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos), India, Sri Lanka, Europe, Egypt and the Middle East. South America, Central America and the United States. With A&K, Geoffrey Kent makes the most faraway points on the world map seem somehow more accessible and more fascinating, yet safe and secure, charting previously uncharted territories.
Kent, and A&K, offers clients unrivaled service; from an initial travel consultation to transportation to accommodations to the ride home, A&K goes the distance. Further, the company owns the majority of the products it uses to create these unforgettable experiences. With a fleet of luxury products around the world, such as the three Sanctuary Sun Boats cruising the Nile, the Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer in China’s Three Gorges, and A&K’s Antarctic and Arctic adventures, together with the A&K Hotel Group (Sanctuary Retreats), which includes the award-winning Sanctuary Chief’s Camp, A&K literally transports guests to the most beautiful places on earth. A thoroughly modern, “new millennium” approach to travel ensures state-of-the-art techniques and tours based on the clients’ wandering whims and destination desires.
The Kent formula of providing a “luxury cocoon” from which to explore the world has attracted more than 250,000 clients per year. Robert De Niro, Kim Basinger, Henry Kissinger, David Rockefeller, Ted Turner, Dreamworks Jeffrey Katzenberg, Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric, Pop singer ‘Sting’, actors Hugh Jackman and Ben Stiller, Elle Macpherson, Jerry Seinfeld, Cameron Diaz, Chris Rock, Bill Gates, former President Jimmy Carter, and First Ladies Hillary and Laura Bush are among the literally thousands of well-known people who have journeyed to the wildest and most remote corners of the globe with A&K.
A keen and abiding passion for wildlife preservation has marked both the career and personal life of Geoffrey Kent. In 1982 he founded the Friends of Conservation, of which HRH The Prince of Wales is the Patron. It is a highly regarded, award-winning international organisation which seeks to preserve the endangered natural environment. FOC does not merely impose solutions on local populations, but marshals local support to find rational, workable answers to ecological problems. In 2013 Kent was invited by HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco to join his Roundtable on Philanthropy. He is also a keen supporter of the Oceanographic Museum and Institute in Monaco.
Geoffrey Kent continues to travel the world in search of exotic destinations covering more than 12 million miles to 170 countries. In between these expeditions and forays, he became a world-known polo player; he was captain of the A&K team in the US for more than 20 years and won the US Open twice, the US Gold Cup, the Cartier International and the most esteemed cup in polo, the Open Championship, the World Cup. He served as captain and patron of the Windsor Park polo team, on which he played with HRH The Prince of Wales. He is a founder of Windsor, Vero Beach, one of Florida’s most exclusive real estate developments, designed by the renowned New Urbanist town planners and architects André Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk.
Geoffrey Kent serves as the Honorary Consul of the Republic of Kenya in Monaco. He is a founding member of the World Travel & Tourism Council, the world’s largest private sector organisation dedicated to travel and tourism, and is immediate past Chairman, having served in that position for 6 years. He was inducted into the UK’s Travel Hall of Fame for creating ‘Experiential Travel’ and was honored by Travel Weekly with a Lifetime Achievement Award. He has appeared frequently on television. He is a member of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Leadership Council for Sustainable Development Solutions Network headed up by Professor Jeffrey Sachs.
The Abercrombie & Kent Group has more than 50 offices worldwide, employing more than 2,000 travel professionals.
Head of Hospitality, Public Investment Fund (PIF)
Founder and Chief Executive, Energy and Environment Alliance
CEO & President, World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC)
Senior Advisor, Saudi Tourism Authority
Special Advisor to the Secretary General, World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)
President, Hilton MEA & Turkey
Chief Executive Officer, Accor Hotels Middle East & Africa
The big objective of the Future Hospitality: Hybrid Summit is to deliver an event carefully designed to help the industry position itself for the new world. At this time when the industry is in crisis Saudi Arabia is bringing the industry together to map out the rebuilding of the tourism and travel sector and shape what it will look like moving forward.
Globally, attracting talent into the hospitality sector is imperative for sustaining the industry.
We must develop a skilled hospitality workforce quickly to keep pace with the demand being created from the hospitality sector. In Saudi Arabia, 253 new hotels are coming online by 2030.
FHS is a forum for the industry to address this issue - and also to engage with the hospitality workforce of the future and promote the sector as an attractive career path