Press Release

14 Feb 2012


Istanbul, Turkey February 2012: The CATHIC event in Istanbul began today with the WTTC's Marketing Director Geoffrey Breeze outlining predictions for the Global Travel and Tourism industry over the next decade.

"In 2012 the global tourism industry provides 1 in 12 of all jobs, and accounts for nine per cent of global GDP. By 2022, we predict that this will change to 1 in 10 of all jobs worldwide, and 9.6per cent of GDP”, said Breeze. 

He also predicted that by the end of 2012 one third of all worldwide travel sales will be made online. Turkey currently has the 7th largest online audience in Europe, with a 44 per cent penetration rate; Turks spend more time online than any other European country.

Issues affecting the Turkish tourism sector were addressed by Mehmet Ersoy, Chairman of Etstur, Haluk Kaya, Chairman of Bekay Property Partners and John Wilson, Executive Board Member of Dedeman Hotels & Resorts,

Ersoy said: "The Turkish government is working towards eliminating visa problems, developing more airports and extending existing ones."  He added that Istanbul's role as a major hub will also be enhanced by a new airport which will open in 3 years’ time.

Kaya pointed out that there are two distinct tourism sectors in Turkey - all-inclusive resorts and city tourism.   Istanbul has experienced a very fast growth of tourist arrivals, from just 2 million five years ago to 8 million in 2011.  But this does not even compare with Prague.  He predicts that Istanbul will welcome 15 million visitors by 2015.  "So of course, everyone wants a hotel in Istanbul".

Kaya also raised the issue of inclusive resorts which do not generate income or jobs for the local community.  "Belek is a disaster.  Not a single restaurant in the town even though there are more than 40 four and five star hotels", he said.  There is some investment now from Rixos hotels - but it is an important lesson for other resort locations, he added.   

John Wilson added: "There is Istanbul and there is the rest.  This is an extraordinarily dynamic marketplace and there is no sign of a slowing down in the growth in the Turkish tourism business.  While we're not immune from Europe's troubles, I am not worried because Turkey's unique geography means we can explore alternative and emerging markets to replace lower numbers from Europe’’.

The complexities of financing new hotel construction was explored in detail by Andrew Sangster, Editorial Director of Hotel Analyst Emerging Markets, in conversation with Puneet Chhatwal of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Carlton Ervin, Chief Development Officer for Marriott International, Ömer Isvan, President of Servotel Corporation and Peter Norman, SVP Development at Hyatt International.

Sangster posed the question of how much equity the large global hotel management companies were prepared to commit to emerging markets in general, and Turkey in particular.

For Servotel, Isvan said:  "Here in Turkey there is a 'footprint' race between the hotel companies.  Particularly in resort areas, the traditional management contracts are the norm in this market. The big global brands are reticent to introduce different equity models because they don't want to set a precedent. However, some of the smaller chains are more aggressive and are embracing more creative financing deals."

Norman said Hyatt has more asset investment than other global bands, with about 20 per cent of its portfolio in owned assets.  "We believe that the bricks and the brains under one roof is good.  You have to eat your own cooking sometimes, and as owners ourselves, we have the confidence of our other owners.  In these more difficult times, we have to see what we can do to help owners get financing for projects, so we may look at joint ventures and ownership options in emerging markets on a case by case basis." 

Marriott's approach is somewhat different according to Carlton Ervin.  "We recently made two strategic acquisitions in Western Europe, to give our Edition brand a presence in key markets.  But we do these with an eye to recycling this capital as soon as possible.  We also tend to consider this option only in established markets, so while we never say never, we are not contemplating on buying assets in Turkey in the foreseeable future."

The Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group has long experience of asset investment in this region, Chhatwal said:  “We were first to do this in Istanbul 15 years ago, and we sold that asset recently.  We also have experience in Tlbisi, Kievand St Petersburg.  But Istanbul is not the place to invest these days, as the prices are too high.”

‘’But I think it is a good time for investing in mid-market hotels in secondary Turkish cities and we would certainly use our balance sheet for that purpose." He added.

The final session of CATHIC 2012 was with Turkish hotel veteran Murat Dedeman, Chairman of Dedeman Hotels & Resorts International and President of Dedeman Holding who was presented with the CATHIC 2012 Leadership Award by Mehmet Önkal, Managing Partner at BDO Hospitality Consulting. 

The award recognizes Dedeman's forty-year contribution to the region's tourism and hospitality sector.

An exhibition of sponsors runs alongside the conference, with more stands than the inaugural event in 2011.   Sponsors for this year's event are:  Platinum sponsors: BDO Hospitality Consulting, Corinthia Hotels, Dedeman Hotels & Resorts International, Hilton Worldwide, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., Moroccan Agency for Tourism Development (SMIT), Marmara Collection, Wyndham Hotel Group.  Gold sponsors: Accor Hospitality, AECOM Design + Planning, Argentina National Institute of Tourism Promotion, Best Western International, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Horwath HTL, Hyatt International, IHG, Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels, Jumeirah Group, Marriott International, Inc., Orient-Express, Premier Inn, Rixos Hotels, Servotel Corporation, T&T Consulting, WATG.

The Central Asia & Turkey Hotel Investment Conference will run from February 6 -8, 2012 at Ceylan Intercontinental, Istanbul and is organised by Bench Events and Questex Media. Details can be found on www.cathic.com


Picture Captions

Caption One: Issues affecting the Turkish tourism sector were addressed at CATHIC 2012 by Geoffrey Breeze of WTTC, Mehmet Ersoy of Etstur, Haluk Kaya of Bekay Property Partners and John Wilson of Dedeman Hotels & Resorts.

Caption Two:Ömer Isvan, President of Servotel Corporation and Peter Norman, SVP Development at Hyatt International discussing the complexities of financing new hotel construction at CATHIC 2012.

Media Contact: Strategic Solutions,media@strategicsolutionsonline.com

Sarah Azad +97150 9803810,Sarah@strategicsolutionsonline.com

Media partnersThe Business Year, Destinations of the World News, Europaproperty, Gayrimenkul Turkiye, Global Hotel Network.com, Hotel Analyst, Hotel Management, Hsyndicate, Hurriyet Daily Travel News, Istanbul Deluxe, Oxford Business Group, Sleeper Magazine

SupportersInternational Tourism Partner (ITP), EHL, World Tourism & Travel Council (WTTC), Cornell School of Hotel Administration, Turkish Investors Association (TYD), EMITT


Central Asia and Turkey Hotel Investment Conference (CATHIC) - February 6th - 8th 2012, Ceylan Intercontinental, Istanbul. To register to attend this event, and for details of the conference programme, please visit www.cathic.com

CATHIC is co-organised by Bench Events and Questex Media, who also organise the Russia and CIS Hotel Investment Conference, Arabian Hotel Investment Conference, International Hotel Investment Forum Asia Pacific and the International Hotel Investment Forum Berlin. 

About Bench Events
Bench Events has a long track record in hosting the premier hotel investment events in Europe and the Middle East. Bench Events’ Chairman, Jonathan Worsley, is one of the organisers and founders of the highly successful International Hotel Investment Forum now in its fifteenth year (www.berlinconference.com). In 2005, he was responsible for launching the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference in Dubai (www.arabianconference.com); in 2008 launched the Russia & CIS Hotel Investment Conference (www.russia-cisconference.com) and in 2011 launched the Central Asia and Turkey Hotel Investment Conference (www.cathic.com) and the Africa Hotel Investment Forum in Morocco (www.africa-conference.com). www.benchevents.com

About Questex Hospitality + Travel
Questex Hospitality + Travel drives demand for travel and hospitality organizations  as the largest multimedia organization in the world dedicated to these related industries. It includes a dynamic collection of strategic investment and deal-making forums as well as tactical services such as powerful lead generation tools, interactive online business solutions, world-class events and industry-leading publications to help hospitality and travel organizations drive revenue, productivity and value creation.  Questex Hospitality + Travel operates throughout the United States and Americas regions, EMEA and Asia/Pacific through a variety of market-leading properties and services including International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF) Berlin, North America Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference, International Hotel Investment Forum Asia Pacific, Russia & CIS Hotel Investment Conference, Central Asia & Turkey Hotel Investment Conference, HOTEC Designand HOTEC Operations & Technology; lead generation portal HotelManagement.net; industry news delivery services in print, online and mobile worldwide via IHIF: Hotel Investment News along with Hotel Management magazines.