The first Middle East Hotel Investment Forum will be held ahead of the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC 2013), organised by MEED and Bench Events, and taking place at the Madinat Jumeirah from 5-6 May 2013.

The Forum will feature leading Jones Lang Lasalle brokers from the UAE, USA, UK, France, Italy, Russia, Spain, Singapore and South America, and will provide hotel investors with an exclusive insight into hotel deals closed in 2012 and opportunities available in 2013.

This comes as a part of several invitation only regional briefings organised by AHIC, ahead of this year's event, bringing together the local community and providing an intelligence update on the local hotel market for investors. Briefings have taken place in Saudi Arabia, Oman and Qatar with key representatives from each local investment, finance and development arm.

According to Gabriel Matar, Head of hotels and hospitality Middle East and Africa at Jones Lang Lasalle, "hotel demand has recovered impressively in the Middle East since the Arab Spring, led by hotels in Dubai which recorded high occupancy levels, with revenue per available room (RevPAR) moving towards its peak of 2008. For 2013, we expect a further improvement in trading performance in the UAE on the back of continued growth in international arrivals. Dubai, the 'safe haven' of the region, is expected to achieve a further growth in RevPAR. The increased tourist arrivals to the GCC region have grown at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 8.5% over 2002–2011, significantly above the global growth of 3.7%."

He adds: "In 2012, Middle Eastern investors were one of the most active buyers of hotel real estate, acquiring assets with a total value of $1.7 billion about 15% of total investment volumes in EMEA. In 2013, we expect Middle Eastern investors predominantly from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar, to remain one of the most active buyers of European hotel real estate."

Matar also predicts that in the Middle East, development activity will pace ahead with financing often provided by public funds. The region is expected to open 150 new hotels in 2013 with the majority opening in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Last year global hotel transactions reached $31.8 billion, a 5% decrease on 2011. For 2013 the industry is expecting a slight improvement to $33 billion, despite continued economic uncertainties, with activity supported by the primary investment markets of the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Japan and Australia.

Despite the economic challenges in Europe, hotel investment volumes in EMEA in 2013 are anticipated to hold up and are forecasted at roughly $11 billion. Cross-border capital accounted for 30% of global hotel investment in 2012, trending above the recent average and driven by strong outbound capital flows from Asia and the Middle East.

Other topics that will be discussed this year at AHIC include: Hotel Hot Spots in 2013, Outward Investment Opportunities and Large Scale Developments Contributing To Destination Creation. AHIC's key sponsors this year are, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, IHG, Jumeirah Group, Corinthia Hotels, Hilton Worldwide, IFA Hotel Investments, Marriott International, Moroccan Agency for Tourism Development - SMIT, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Wyndham Worldwide, ACCOR, Aecom, Argentina National Institute of Tourism Promotion, Citymax Hotels, Digivalet, Ernst & Young, Fairmont Raffles Hotels International, Golden Tulip Hotels, Suites & Resorts MENA , HVS, JA Resorts & Hotels, Jones Lang LaSalle, Kenya Tourist Development Corporation, Melia Hotels International, Anantara, , Orient Express Hotels, Premier Inn, Quadriga, Saudi Commission for Tourism & Antiquities, STR Global, Turnkey Ventures and WATG.