Amanresorts founder to receive IHIF Lifetime Achievement Award, keynote revealed

The 21st International Hotel Investment Forum is coming to Berlin from Mar. 5 to 7, 2018. (IHIF 2018)
"Reaching New Heights" is the theme of the 21st International Hotel Investment Forum, in March, in Berlin, and is the perfect tagline to describe conference keynote speaker Cathy O'Dowd, a South African rock climber, mountaineer and author, who was the first woman to summit Mount Everest from both the North & South sides. O'Dowd, who grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa, was completing her Master’s degree in journalism while working as a university lecturer when she saw a newspaper ad for a place on the 1st South African Everest Expedition. She became the first South African to summit Everest six months later—an ascent that forms the basis of the "true story" behind the 2015 Hollywood film Everest. O'Dowd also became the first woman in the world to climb the mountain from both sides three years later.
O'Dowd will share her insights about individuals and teams under intense stress in the face of overwhelming challenge with her audiences. She also helps businesses tackle an uncertain world by learning to think like an explorer. O'Dowd aims to inspire with her tale of endurance, leadership and triumph against odds. 
IHIF keynote speaker Cathy O'Dowd
Another luminary at IHIF this year will also be its Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. Adrian Zecha founded a series of hotel management companies as he developed more than 100 hotels in a career spanning more than 45 years. His extensive career achievements are available to view in full here. Zecha is the founder of the ultra-luxury Amanaresorts; in February 2017, he launched the affordable luxury brand Azerai with its first property in Luang Prabang. Azerai unveiled its 60-room resort in Vietnam's Mekong Delta that following December. 

“It is an honor to receive such prestigious recognition although I must say that in my 45 years or so in the hospitality industry, I could not have achieved this milestone without the participation and encouragement of my colleagues and industry professionals,” Zecha said in response to his nomination.

“Adrian Zecha is undoubtedly a highly deserving recipient of this accolade. His vast career, from its origins in journalism and publications to hotel development has seen his involvement in many iconic organisations and brands. As we look towards 2018 and what the year ahead will bring for the hotel investment community, it feels only right to recognise an industry veteran who has so astutely foreseen the investment opportunities over the last four decades,” said IHIF Event Director Tess Pearson.   

The presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award will be made on Monday, Mar. 5 at 3:25 p.m. followed by an interview.

Adrian Zecha, recipient of the 2018 IHIF Lifetime Achievement Award

O'Dowd and Zecha will join more than 180 speakers representing hospitality investment leaders, for three days of talks, debates, interactive discussions and networking geared toward giving you the knowledge, information and contacts that you need to make brave and challenging business decisions in the year ahead. The discussions will cover the economic landscape, investment trends, hotel performance, profitability, opportunities in key markets (Asia, EMEA, Southern Europe, Germany, Italy, France), brand strategies, investing in technology, asset management, F&B, deal structure, distribution, the debt market, wellness, managing data, renovation, cost management, franchise, management contract, leases, security & crisis management, digital strategy & e-commerce, serviced apartments, talent management & recruitment and resorts. 

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