Press Release

14 Feb 2012

• Cevdet Akçay calls for better PR management of Turkey's economy at CATHIC conference
• Serdar Bilgili explains how he has created a hotel investment fund to tempt international institutional investors into the Turkish hotel sector
• Mehmet Önkal of BDO advises hotel operators on how to gain a foothold in the Turkish hotel market

Istanbul, Turkey February 2012: TURKEY'S ECONOMIC SUCCESS:Yapi Kredi Bank's Cevdet Akçay kicked off the Central Asia & Turkey Hotel Investment conference with a rousing call to Turkey's economic and financial community to improve its communication with the rest of the World. "Turkey has a perception problem because we are not doing a good PR job on our economy. My idol is Brazil because there are many similarities between our economies, but Brazil is doing an excellent job of managing the perceptions of their economy".

He went on to outline how Turkey has changed and improved its economic position over the past 10 years, and how this transformation was accelerated by the Global financial crisis. Turkey now has 'normalised' interest rates, and brought down the real cost of borrowing, and is now a completely different country from that of 4 years ago. With these basics Turkey has immense opportunities for growth and prosperity.

"The bad rap that Turkey has had is unfair, and Turkey has not been given the credit it deserves for its economic reinvention," Akçay said. "If Turkey can manage its economic image abroad and utilise the best brains the country has to manage the economy, then there is huge potential for the country".


In a session on securing finance for hotel development in today's market, moderated by Elif Egeli Nisanci of Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels, Serdar Bilgili, Chairman of Bilgili Holding explained how he has created a hotel investment fund to tempt international institutional investors into the Turkish hotel sector. He believes the Turkish real estate market is one of the best in Europe, but there was not a suitable vehicle that was attractive to these institutional investors.

Bilgili outlined the difficult path to success: "After one and a half years of raising funds, we have fifty per cent of what we wanted,because real estate institutional investors are very careful.” he said.Interestingly, Bilgili expected most of the money to come from the Middle East, but in fact most of the interest so far has come from US pension funds and University endowment funds.

Bilgili also pointed out that his company has three hotels in Istanbul, but doesn't manage any of them. The global hotel management companies give the banks confidence to finance projects. "If my hotels were called Bilgili Hotels, I don't think the banks would have financed them - the brands give credibility".

Emre Narin, Vice President of Marti Hotels highlighted the potential for REITS (Real Estate Investment Trusts) as a financing tool for Turkey, and predicted a growth in REIT numbers going forward. Senay Azak-Matt of Aareal Bank pointed out that from the banker's perspective, hotel investments are relatively risky, as it is a volatile business. Banks look for projects from companies with good hotel and tourism experience, and that the development represents the right brand that fits the market, and the right product for the location.


Mehmet Önkal Managing Partner at BDO confirmed that Turkey is the hottest market for new hotel development in the CATHIC region, with the spotlight on Istanbul and secondary cities across the country.  

Önkal advised that hotel operators should follow Hilton's lead by committing to Turkey for the long term and setting up a development base in Turkey, employing local knowledge and expertise to aid the development process.

Hilton Worldwide chose the CATHIC conference to announce four new hotels in Turkey - DoubleTree by Hilton properties in Kusadasi and Malatya, and Hampton by Hilton hotels in Samsun and Istanbul Ataköy.  

This brings Hilton's development pipeline to 13, and the total hotels in Turkey (operating and under development) to 33.  Commenting on the announcement, Simon Vincent said:  "we have opened a record number of hotels in Turkey in the past year, and by the end of 2013 we expect to have 33 hotels operating in Turkey, with potential to expand further’’.

Hilton also announced its first property In Kazakhstan - the Garden Inn Astana, which will open in 2014.

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, Corinthia Hotels, Dedeman Hotels & Resorts International, Hilton Worldwide, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, 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, InterContinental Hotels Group, Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels, Jumeirah Group, Marriott International, Inc, Orient-Express Hotels, 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: BDO's Mehmet Onkal in conversation with Jonathan Worsley of The Bench confirmed that Turkey is the hottest market for new hotel development in the CATHIC region.

Caption Two: Speaking at CATHIC 2012's finance session Serdar Bilgili of Bilgili Holding explained that Global hotel management companies give banks confidence to finance projects in the region; brands give credibility.

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.