The Indian Ocean presents a fascinating destination for the hospitality sector. Tropical sunshine, beautiful beaches, rich biodiversity and vibrant cultures provide a constant attraction to tourists. Growing tourist numbers mean significant hospitality interest and investment is ongoing.
The Hospitality Investment Conference Indian Ocean (HICIO) has now entered its third year as a high-level, two-day conference. The event brings the top decision makers from across the region together at the Hilton Colombo in Sri Lanka to discuss key investment and hospitality developments affecting the industry.
QUO CEO, David Keen, and QUO Maldives Director, Mohamed Mamduh, participated in leading the discussions on some of the most important topics faced by the sector. David Keen, as Chairperson of the first day of the conference, delivered the opening and closing remarks as well as moderated the Dialogue with the Ministers, a special session that included John Amaratunga, Minister of Tourism and Christian Religious Affairs of Sri Lanka; Ravi Karunanayake, Minister of Finance of Sri Lanka; and Hussain Lirar, Deputy Minister of Tourism of the Maldives.
The government ministers of both countries discussed their significant ongoing investments supporting tourism infrastructure. David highlighted that while both countries have been active in targeting European and Chinese tourists, with the rapid economic growth of India, the Indian tourism market also presents significant potential for attracting more tourists. However, David noted that with significant increases in tourist arrivals, both countries need to be mindful of maintaining their image as high-end luxury tourist destinations.
Mohamed Mamduh, meanwhile, moderated a discussion on the topic of ‘Operating in the unique IO – What is the biggest draw…and drawback?’ with senior representatives from Jetwing Hotels, John Keells Group and the Maldives Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators.