AAHOA Announces Largest Trade Show in 34-Year History

The Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA), the largest hotel owners association in the world with nearly 20,000 members, has announced that it plans to organize the largest ever Trade Show in history at AAHOACON23, April 11-14, 2023.

The 2019 AAHOA Convention & Trade Show, AAHOA’s previous biggest show to date, which celebrated the association’s 30-year anniversary, totaled 77,500 square feet of exhibit space. This year, with many weeks remaining for industry partners to secure space, AAHOACON23 already sits at 81,900 square feet of sold exhibit space, as it has already secured a record level of booth sales for the Tradeshow.

In addition, as of February 8, AAHOA has nearly doubled the registration total of Lifetime Members compared to AAHOACON22, and the organization is still on pace to exceed 2019 registration totals of more than 8,000 attendees, with 60+ days still to go until AAHOACON23.

This is an exciting time for AAHOA, as its annual flagship event, AAHOACON, has historically been the most highly anticipated “Super Bowl” event of the industry – an event created exclusively for hotel owners, with thousands of attendees, world-class entertainment, and hundreds of vendors ready to make deals with hoteliers.

Picture : Hospitality Net

“I’ve been in the exhibition business for a long time, and I’m so impressed to see the enthusiasm, excitement, and response from vendors who are looking to do business with AAHOA Members,” said AAHOA Vice President of Business Development Dennis Smith. “Our team is thrilled to reach this historical milestone, with the ultimate goal of connecting as many AAHOA Members as possible with the product and service providers who can help them make money, save money, protect their investments, and better serve their guests.”

Over the past several decades, AAHOACON has risen to be one of the marquee events in our industry, and is known for bringing hoteliers together for networking, learning, and deal-making on the trade show floor. Each year, million-dollar buying decisions are made at AAHOACON, and with AAHOA Members spending $50 billion with suppliers each year, it’s no surprise.

“I always look forward to the industry’s Super Bowl event, and this year, as I conclude my term as AAHOA Chairman, I’m proud of the work our association has done to prepare for the event and connect even more vendors directly with decision makers,” said AAHOA Chairman Nishant (Neal) Patel. “AAHOA Members spend billions of dollars each year with suppliers, and AAHOA plays an important role in connecting hoteliers directly with those who can help them run a better, more profitable, and more efficient business – AAHOACON is where deals are made.”

In addition to a trade show of historic proportions and projected high levels of attendance, AAHOACON23 will also feature 14 must-see educational sessions, three General Sessions with world class keynote speakers (soon to be announced), and three nights filled with incredible entertainment and top-level networking. As per tradition, on the second day, AAHOACON23 will also feature speeches and debates from the candidates running for the AAHOA Board of Directors.

“Our team has been working around the clock to ensure AAHOACON23 is one of our most successful conventions to date, and I applaud the entire AAHOA Team for helping our organization reach this historical milestone,” said AAHOA President & CEO Laura Lee Blake. “We have a passionate group of team members, board members, and volunteer leaders who bring this event to life each year. As the first AAHOACON in my role as President & CEO, I have directed the team to ensure it is spectacular. I am so looking forward to meeting all of our members and industry partners, and making AAHOACON23 one for the record books.”

The Convention will also feature 14 educational sessions, three General Sessions, and three nights of entertainment and networking. As per tradition, on the second day, AAHOACON23 will also feature speeches and debates from the candidates running for the AAHOA Board of Directors.

AAHOA is the largest hotel owners association in the nation, with Member-owned properties representing a significant part of the U.S. economy. AAHOA’s 20,000 members own 60% of the hotels in the United States and are responsible for 1.7% of the nation’s GDP. More than one million employees work at AAHOA member-owned hotels, earning $47 billion annually, and member-owned hotels support 4.2 million U.S. jobs across all sectors of the hospitality industry. YouthAAHOA’s mission is to advance and protect the business interests of hotel owners through advocacy, industry leadership, professional development, member benefits, and community engagement.

Saudi Arabia To Invest $500 Billion To Build A Futuristic City In The Desert

A mega-city featuring flying cars, high-speed rail instead of roads, robot maids, a giant artificial moon, and a resort with multimillion-dollar palaces is the vision of the Saudi Arabian crown prince and prime minister, Muhammed Bin Salman (MBS).

Saudi Arabia is building a futuristic city in the middle of a vast desert— from scratch. A vital element of the country’s Vision 2030 plan, the project is the brainchild of Saudi’s de facto leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, also known as MBS. The site covers an area of more than 10,000 square miles, about the same size as Massachusetts. And it could cost $500 billion to complete.

“So Mohammed bin Salman wants to project himself as a liberal leader within the conservative royal family in Saudi Arabia,” Ali Dogan, research fellow at the Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient institute, told CNBC in an interview. “Neom is a mega project seen in Saudi Arabia and the young Saudi population as part of this liberalization process.”

The Neom project is far from without controversy, though. Critics say it’s another attempt by the crown prince to improve his image after U.S. intelligence officials concluded he was behind the 2018 killing of journalist and Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi. It also is being seen by some as a way to distract attention from Saudi Arabia’s human rights record.

The Saudi government has run into several challenges which keep pushing the project completion date further into the future, leading some to question the feasibility of Neom. One of the issues stalling construction is financing and cost. In 2020, foreign direct investment in Saudi Arabia increased to $5.4 billion, despite the pandemic; however, this figure is down from 2010 when foreign investment inflows totaled nearly $16 billion. Attracting potential investors is crucial to financing such a large project. There are also concerns about the cost of Neom being much greater than the original budgeted cost. The Saudi government planned to acquire two uninhabited islands from Egypt to create an island resort, and the estimated cost for this bridge alone was nearly $125 billion.

Naturally, many people are critical of MBS’s plans to build a new mega-city in the desert. One of the biggest issues critics have had is that this investment would be better spent on existing cities and infrastructure in Saudi Arabia. The former Saudi Arabian monarch, King Abdullah, planned on building a megaproject on the Red Sea to be a new financial and trading center called the King Abdullah Economic Center. In 2005, this city was intended to have a population of millions. This project is also a decade behind schedule and only has a population of thousands as opposed to the anticipated millions of people. Many critics have cited this failed project as why Saudi Arabia should instead invest in improving its infrastructure in existing cities.

The biggest criticism of Neom is the forced relocation of the Howeitat tribespeople. The proposed site for Neom is on land that 20,000 tribespeople have lived on for centuries. In recent years, the government has evicted people from the area, usually with the help of the Saudi armed forces. Often, these evictions are met with resistance by the Howeitat tribespeople. In 2020, three tribespeople were arrested and sentenced to death for resisting their relocation. Additionally, another man, Abdul Rahim al-Howeiti, was fatally shot for protesting the government’s eviction orders. These events highlight another concern that potential investors have with the project, that being the Saudi Arabian justice system. Planning documents reveal that in Neom, all judges will be selected and appointed by the king himself.

Additionally, Neom plans to utilize AI and facial recognition technologies to monitor its inhabitants. While Neom is claiming that laws will be based on best practices in business and economic law, incidents like these, as well as those such as the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018, make potential international investors hesitant to support this ongoing project. These plans still have a long way to go, and perhaps attitudes will change as the project continues to develop.

14 January, 2023: The Life Behind a Story

set in Desaguadero, Peru, from Son’s perspective

If I am going to try to tell this story, I am going to have to be brave. He is gone now. I have nothing to fear. But Desaguadero is a very small town, and he can find me easily. I am sure he is already combing the streets, looking for any excuse to go out of his way to kill me.

The location of this story is Desaguadero. The town is on a little bit of land connecting Peru to Bolivia right on the shores of Lake Titicaca. It is not a particularly scenic location. All of the houses look like hovels eternally being expanded on, and whatever viewpoints thrust out into the lake are blocked by these architectural obstructions. It doesn’t help that the protests have completely stalled the city. The protestors have dug up the road into the city, making it impossible to go anywhere or do anything. As for the people who have to live here, they are no longer going to work. They are just standing about, looking to get into a fight with anyone who looks disagreeable to them.

Crime is the result of a lack of opportunities. Crime is the result of a lack of options.

That is how the life of Francisco, or Paco, was born.Paco, a short man with spiky straight hair. Paco, a man of brown jeans and dusty shirts. Paco, born and raised in the suburbs of Puno… the suburbs of Cusco, in the centre of Desaguadero. He knew nothing about life except that life was a game and he was dealt the losing hand. There was a lot of abuse from his mother and father, there was a lot of anger directed towards him for no other reason other that his parents didn’t know any better. There was no one to help him remember the positivities of life. And so the only feeling that came to slit into his eyes was a constant sort of anger, that made him feel that anything he did was justified, and he deserved to hurt others. And so hurt others he did…

What am I writing?  I hope he never reads this… it sounds like I am out to slander him.

Though with what he did to me I should be filing a police report instead of sitting in my hotel room typing like this.

I said what I said, and I must commit to what I said I will do. I was not trying to lie when I told him I was a writer. I have been working these days as an English teacher, but I have also worked in many different fields over the course of my life, all to hide from my one true desire: to create something, a piece of art that could only come from myself. I tried acting and it didn’t get me anywhere. I tried directing but all I got was jealousy from seeing average talents work hard and become big stars. Writing has been the thing I’ve been trying to do since I was a teen. Scribbling little thoughts,  jotting in a notebook when I get bored, imagining stories for the thrill of it. None of it led to anything significant because I was just writing for the sake of trying.

Now I have something I must write, and yet none of it is coming out of me organically.

How can I begin to even consider what life is like for a Peruvian in one of these small towns, when I’ve only been here for a week?

The cold metal against my sideburn on an otherwise balmy day. The sound of the anxious waves crashing against the land. Thick sunlight.

That is what my experience was like. That is how I know Desaguadero. There have been some protests

against some political leader that have completely stalled the country. I don’t know the politician’s name. I don’t know why people are so angry. I’m just a traveller who has had my entire itinerary upended due to political events outside of my control. Of course being stuck in a small town with no way of getting out, it makes sense I would get bored. To make myself feel like I was doing something with my life I started taking walks in random directions, thinking that nothing bad had happened to me so far, so nothing bad was going to happen at all.

What is the reason why people want to kill or rob others?

I suppose I wouldn’t know, because I’ve never lived a life in which I was taught that to do such things is a necessity.

If I had stayed in Bolivia, I would have been revelling in the beauty of Lake Titicaca right now. Copacabana is like a version of Crete made by the Incas. Amantani feels like pure old country, untouched my modern life except for all the tourists who are camping out there. The weather is a little chilly so one needs one of those wool sweaters to feel comfortable. But all around are the expanses of a lake big enough to rival an ocean. There are stout wrinkled women walking about with their grandchildren, goats chewing under the most clay-shaped looking of hills, sun-kissed earth waiting to be savoured.

I chose to travel to Peru thinking I’d soon be seeing Arequipa, and Cusco, and instead I’ve gotten stranded here, in a town with nothing to offer. I should have been listening to the travel advisories. I should have stayed in La Paz until the political situation improved.

I felt a gust outside my window, and when I went to close it, I felt like there were eyes leering at me.

Could he really be waiting for me to finish my story, so that he can come take a look at it?

Desaguadero is only a few streets big. He must know where I’m staying. Not to mention given how long the protests have been going on for, I’m not going to be able to leave in the near future. I could be stuck here for many more weeks.

He could kill me, and with all the ruckus that is happening, people would think I just went missing.

I have to breathe. Or I have to go out and tell the police.

I should tell this damn story.

Paco Julio de la Santacruz was an angry lonely man. He grew up with a lot of poverty and abuse and that caused him to hate people abnormally. He saw foreigners as all the same no matter if they were white or brown, British or Filipino. They were rich people coming to his poor part of the world, and he had no regard for their life. He had a desperate and pathetic life that caused him to act out in violence. This is why he spotted out this particular fag, saw him as a weak and easy target, and threatened his life so that he could get him to empty his wallet.

I’m going to cry. This is not because my story is any good. This is because there’s a real story I have to tell before I can go anywhere with this.

I will write the truth for myself and leave it on the page. I can always delete it after I finish writing the actual story I’m trying to tell.

I was walking on the highway promenading towards what I thought was going to lead to one of an untouched viewpoint of the lake. It did ultimately lead to something like that. There were settlements here or there, but there were also people fishing, cleaning their clothes, and bathing. The pearly milky colour of the water shimmered as the weeds caught in the still shivered in the breeze. It was a stunning sight to behold. If I had been able to explore it without any further interruption I would have told myself I had found myself a proper treasure off the beaten path, one that required much more proper uncovering later on.

Except on the way back to my hotel I heard some footsteps. And when I finally got the sense to turn around the scuffles became fast paced. Soon there was a gun to my head and a hand covering my mouth.

He said something to me, but I don’t know how to speak Spanish. When I realised that he started shouting to me in English.

Money! Money!

I knew what that meant. I gave him all that I had. But he kept shouting it.

Money! Money!

I really had nothing left. I had to take out my wallet and show it. He didn’t like something about that. He slapped me with the gun.


I knew enough Spanish to know he was calling me an idiot. But then he was talking so quickly, he was slurring the words around like a drunk, and more importantly he had that venomous angry look of a murderer in his eyes.

He was going to kill me.

Immediately I started crying. He didn’t know a lick of English but I had to say what I was on my mind.

Please don’t kill me. I have so much more in my life to give. You can take my money, you can take my belongings, but don’t take my life. I haven’t done any of the things that I have aspired for myself. You see sir I’m a writer. There’s a story inside of me. Deep down I know it. But I haven’t taken the time to write it yet. So if you kill me there goes my story. I’m not the only one who is gone. Everything I wanted to create is gone as well. So don’t kill me please. Por favor.

Whatever I said was probably completely muffled by his hand. Nonetheless saying something with so much anxiety anguished something inside of him. He uncovered my mouth, only to wrap his arm around my chest, and to put his gun against my chin.  I had the feeling that at any moment he was going to pull the trigger.

So suddenly I said the following.

Sir, if you don’t kill me, I will tell your story. I will write about you. I will tell the entire world about all of the things you have gone through. I will make sure that the person you are becomes recorded in history. That’s the least I can do for you. Please let me live sir. Please let me live so I can tell the world your story.

Again, I was talking to a person who knew nothing of English. Again I was talking to a man who was most likely insane and ready to kill.

And yet something about it worked. I don’t know if it were divine intervention or a change in my chances, but the feeling in the air pacified. He pushed me off away from him and started taking a long look at me.  When I looked like I was about to speak he pointed that gun again and shouted at me. Of course I ran. I ran and I ran and I got back into my hotel and I shot up to the third floor and I locked the door to my room twice and I shut every window and I hid in the bathroom, and he wasn’t there. He had left me in peace so that I could go write.

Of course now I have no money in my wallet, and the people at reception keep knocking as if they are wondering when I’ll finally tell them what disturbed me to this extent. At some point I’ll tell them.

But for now I have to write this story. My life depends on it.

1st Tourism Track Meeting Of G20 Planned In Gujarat

The inaugural G20 Sherpa meeting will take place in Rajasthan’s Udaipur area during the first week of December.

The maiden meeting under the tourism track of the G20 conference is scheduled to be held in late January or early February 2023 at Rann of Kutch, Gujarat, Union Tourism Secretary Arvind Singh announced on Friday. As India takes over G20 leadership on December 1, the bloc has scheduled more than 200 meetings across various Indian cities.

Picture : Indian Express

As India hosts the G20 summit, sustainability will be one of the main priorities, according to Union Tourism Secretary Arvind Singh. The senior was speaking with reporters on the sidelines of an event at the UN House.

Udaipur district of Rajasthan will host the first meeting of G20 in the first week of December. The meeting of the G20 Sherpa will be the first of the meetings of G20 in India, an official said. The city has started the preparations with paintings on the walls depicting Indian culture and lighting up the heritage sites of the city.

The first meeting under the tourism track will be held in late January or early February in Rann of Kutch. “The second meeting (in this category) will be held in Siliguri, the third one in Srinagar, and the fourth one in Goa,” Singh added.

The tourism secretary told reporters that the preparations for the G20 meetings are “absolutely on track”.

He took part in a roundtable conference on Sustainable Tourism which was hosted by the Ministry of Tourism at the UN House. The roundtable conference brought together industry leaders, important stakeholders, participants from the environmental conservation sector, and NGOs to discuss a way forward.

The event was held in partnership with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the Responsible Tourism Society of India (RTSOI) and was in alignment with the National Strategy for Sustainable Tourism and aims to increase engagement and participation of industry stakeholders in developing the sustainability of the tourism sector. Arvind Singh further added that it’s high time that India takes the leadership position in responsible tourism.

Neeraj Chopra is Switzerland Tourism’s Friendship Ambassador

Switzerland Tourism appoints Olympic Gold medalist Neeraj Chopra as its Friendship Ambassador. Chopra has often travelled to Switzerland for tournaments and training but this time, after his season ended, the Indian sports icon spent his days relaxing in the country while doing what he loves best – getting the adrenaline pumping! Among the top destinations that Chopra visited were Interlaken, Zermatt and Geneva.

As Switzerland Tourism’s ‘Friendship Ambassador’, Chopra will share his experiences in the country to showcase it as the ideal destination for outdoors and the best destination for hiking, biking, soft and extreme adventure and of course snow sports, for everyone be it beginners or seasoned pros.

“Switzerland is my favorite international holiday destination! It’s so beautiful everywhere you look! It was great spending time exploring the country after the season. I also wanted to show this country to my friends and family. It was the best place to relax after a hectic season for me. You feel refreshed anywhere in the country whether you are out in the mountains or even just strolling in the city! I But what got me excited was chance to experience the adventurous side of the country with my closest friends.

“I was thrilled to show them Interlaken and Zermatt which are well known for their adventure activities but also that it’s possible to enjoy the outdoors in Geneva which is Switzerland’s second-largest city. We tried everything from canyon swing to river rafting to paragliding and skydiving amongst other activities. And of course, it helps to know that Switzerland is the safest place for all sorts of adventure sports!” expressed Chopra.

Misha Gambetta, Director-India of Switzerland Tourism said, “India is a very important long-haul market for us! And it’s great to have a friendship ambassador from India representing Switzerland. Neeraj is an Indian icon and a very outdoorsy person, and he will be the perfect person to showcase the sporty and outdoor side of Switzerland as well as allow us to promote lesser-known sides of the country. We look forward to working towards a successful campaign with him.”

The athlete also donated his gold-winning javelin to The Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland in September this year. The museum founded by the International Olympic Committee in 1993 showcases the richness and diversity of Olympism through history, culture, design, technology, and sociology with sports as the main element. Mary Kom’s gloves as well as Dhyan Chand’s hockey was already a part of the exhibits at the Museum. (IANS)