CATHIC 2013 is coming to Istanbul

Central Asia’s leading hospitality investment conference, CATHIC (Turkey & Neighbors Hotel Investment Conference) returns to Turkey and will take place on May 29-30, 2013 at the Marmara Taksim Hotel in Istanbul.

Turkey’s strong economic growth in the last few years has led the country to become one of the fastest-growing tourism markets in the world. Turkey’s hotel development pipeline includes more than 8,500 rooms set to enter the market by 2015.

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In 2012, over 33 new hotels were built in Istanbul, a city where real estate is a gold mine and hardly to be found. With 9.3 million visitors a year (compared to only 3 million in the year 2003), Istanbul also established extraordinary congress and exhibition centers and has become a global player with nearly 80,000 guest rooms and an offer of 94 5-star and luxury hotels.

Istanbul has become one of the most visited cities in the world and is a city that never sleeps.

But it still needs more beds. For that, over 39 new hotels are planned to open by 2014.

For developers and experts, CATHIC provides the perfect venue to discuss the investment roadmap, as well as the development of destinations with new tourism hubs, says Mehmet Onkal, Managing Partner of BDO Hospitality Consulting and the co-organizer of CATHIC.

Over two days, Turkey’s potential, opportunities, and challenges will be on focus and more than 60 international leading experts are scheduled to take to the stage, including Eric Danziger, President & CEO, Wyndham Hotel Group; Wolfgang Neumann, President & CEO, The Rezidor Hotel Group; Fettah Tamince, Chairman, Rixos; Christoph Harle, CEO, Continental Europe – Hotels & Hospitality Group Jones Lang LaSalle; Martin Kandrac, Managing Director, Blackstone; Omer Isvan, President, Servotel Corporation; and Haluk Kaya, Chairman, Bekay Property Partners, among others.

Expected CATHIC speaker, Defne Gezen, Vice President of Jones Lang LaSalle, believes Istanbul is on its way to becoming an important international financial center, paving the way for a surge in business traffic, as well as a tourism capital and a destination for events.

Industry experts highlighted why Turkey is an investment hotspot.
When experts and tourism leaders discussed Turkey’s dynamic tourism last month, Serra Arıkok explained across-the-board infrastructure investment will be needed in Turkey to realize the potential of its tourism sector developments.

According to Omer Isvan, President of Servotel Corp., a Turkish-based internationally-reknowned consulting company in hospitality and real estate projects, Turkey’s natural tourist assets outside of the Antalya coast are still largely untapped. He said, “This provides the potential for substantial growth representing real numbers in increased traffic.

“In hot destinations like Istanbul, land costs are challenging for a stand-alone, ground-up hotel development.”

Even if the country’s growth stays on par with the average worldwide pace of 3.9 percent per annum for the foreseeable future, some 12,000 additional hotel rooms would be needed each year at full occupancy or 18-20,000 at average occupancy, without accounting for the equally healthy growth in domestic tourism, Isvan said.

Elizabeth Randall Winkle, STR Global Managing Director, said there are more than 5,000 hotel rooms in the development pipeline. She is one of several industry experts scheduled to discuss hotel development in Turkey during CATHIC this week.

“If we look at the number of pipeline rooms as a percentage of existing inventory, we can see that at 15 percent of Istanbul looks to be the front-runner, with London coming in a close second with 14 percent,” she said. “However, London’s current room supply already stands at three times that of Istanbul for double the number of foreign visitors.”

In last week’s announcement, a joint venture of Turkish companies won the tender for the third airport in Istanbul on May 3. It is a consortium of 5 Turkish companies that won the third airport tender with the highest bid signed by the preliminary contract promising to pay the state 22.1 billion euros (plus taxes) for 25 years starting from 2017 with the opening of a new airport.

Another mega multi-million deal was signed this month in Istanbul when Dogus Holding placed the highest offer for the privatization of the Istanbul Salipazari Port Area, commonly known as Galataport, with a $702 million bid, winning the rights to operate the port area for 30 years.

The area is located in Karakoy, one of the oldest port districts of Istanbul.

“The project will add to Istanbul’s brand value amid its Olympic bid,” Dogus Holding CEO Husnu Akhan said. His company is looking at an investment cost of between $350 to 400 million for the project that will have a new cruise port, shopping malls, and office areas.

The challenging new projects and more are the topics of the third CATHIC Conference [ www.cathic.com ] which is co-organized by Bench Events and Questex Media, who also organizes the Russia and CIS Hotel Investment Conference, Arabian Hotel Investment Conference, International Hotel Investment Forum Asia Pacific, and the International Hotel Investment Forum Berlin. Bench Events’ Chairman, Jonathan Worsley, is one of the organizers and founders of the highly-successful International Hotel Investment Forum in Berlin. He was responsible for launching the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference in Dubai and in 2008 for launching the Russia & CIS Hotel Investement Conference.