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International Hospitality Forum exceeds expectations

Amman, Jordan – The International Hospitality Forum<.>, held in Jordan from 23-25 October, surpassed all expectations and established itself as the first…

Amman, Jordan – The International Hospitality Forum<.>, held in Jordan from 23-25 October, surpassed all expectations and established itself as the first successful forum of its kind in Amman. The IHF is an offshoot of the well-known Horeca exhibition, which has been taking place annually in Lebanon since eight years. It was held at Zara Expo, considered Amman's leading exhibition center.

Around 90 exhibitors from Jordan, Lebanon, Dubai, Italy, Germany and Luxembourg representing hundreds of brands, goods and services related to the hotel, restaurant and catering industries participated in the event. "The IHF had a much better outcome than expected despite the recent political developments," said Joumana Salame, Managing Director of Horeca and co-organizer of the IHF, along with the Jordanian company, Events Unlimited. In view of this, both companies have decided to hold an even bigger event next year, solidifying their plans to turn the IHF, like Horeca, into an annual meeting place for the hospitality industry in the Middle East.

This decision was also confirmed by reviewing the exhibitors' feedback. In an in-house survey conducted by Hospitality Services, the company that organizes the IHF and Horeca, only 1.75% of exhibitors said they would not participate in next year's IHF. Over 96% rated the event's organization as "very good" or "good," while 86% of respondents said that the exhibition met all their expectations.

"We really didn't expect something this well-organized and professional," said Raid Sweiss, one of the leading Jordanian exhibitors at the event. Exhibitors and visitors alike agreed. "I'm very optimistic about its future," said Josef Kral, General Manager of the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Amman. "More people told me they wanted to participate once they found out how good it was," he added. Local support was also strengthened with the participation of the Minister of Tourism, Taleb Rifai, and of the Jordan Tourism Board. Rifai, said that "everybody who is in any way involved in our business is supporting the Forum." In addition to the industry professionals, the IHF gathered a number of students from hotel and training schools who were exposed to the latest trends, products and innovations in the field.

A number of informative seminars and demonstrations of interest to professionals animated the exhibition. One of those was the Jordan Hotel Association's Seminar. This event enjoyed a high turnout of professionals, hoteliers and officials who had the chance to participate and exchange ideas with the speakers. The four subjects addressed were:

* Emerging opportunities for the Hospitality Sector in Aqaba, presented by Chief Commissioner of the Aqaba Special Economic Zone, Akel Biltaji.

* Franchising and the Future of Independent Hotels, presented by the President of the Flamingo Hotel Management Company in Dubai, Amin Moukarzel.

* Benefits of the Internet on the Hospitality Industry, presented by the CEO of Batelco Jordan, Marwan Juma.

* How to save Water in Hotels and Restaurants, presented by the the Regional Manager of Grohe, Simon Shaya, who came from Lebanon.

The IHF also witnessed a popular test kitchen, sponsored by Awar company of Jordan. The demonstration boasted the talents of many chefs from well-known establishments such as the Grand Hyatt Hotel and Kashmir & Argilah restaurant, featuring fruit carvings, as well as dishes from exotic cuisines such as Japanese and Indian. The exhibition also featured a seminar on the art of bartending by Peet Warmerdam, four-time Dutch cocktail champion, in addition to beer workshops by Amstel and an eye-catching presentation of six wedding cakes, crafted by leading Chefs from around Jordan.

Hospitality Services are planning to make the next IHF a spectacular event. Meanwhile, they are already very busy organizing next year's Horeca, which will be held from April 9-12, 2002 at the new Beirut International Exhibition and Leisure Center (BIEL) in downtown Beirut on the coast of the Mediterranean.