SEA 2020 features a programme of CPD-accredited live presentations from some of the most respected entertainment and leisure industry professionals working in Saudi Arabia today.
Completely free-to-attend, these interactive presentations will provide privileged insights into the key strategic, logistical and commercial decisions driving the rapid expansion of the Kingdom’s key family entertainment centers, live music festivals, international sporting events and Vision 2030 mega projects, and where immediate opportunities exist for investors, developers, operators and solution providers.
The conference will take place between 6pm-9:30pm on the first two days of the event – Monday the 3rd and Tuesday the 4th. Seating will very limited so we encourage you to reserve your place at the event as soon as possible and arrive at the venue early to secure your seat.
WEDNESDAY, 5th FEBRUARY
Ahmed El-Sharabassy, CEO & Founder, SHARABASSY BUILT ENVIRONMENT STUDIO
Topic: Educating the next generation of KSA interior designers
Biography: An experienced architect, a creative designer and a fearless dreamer, Ahmed won his first design award at the age of 19. He believes that creativity and innovation cannot be limited by static norms. To fulfill his vision of developing design concepts, he worked and researched in the field of co-design and relations with children and believes in the empowerment of young minds to drive future innovation. Ahmed is an International Associate of The American Institute of Architects (AIA), holds a Master Degree in Architecture and is the CEO/Founder of Sharabassy Built Environment Studio, which has offices in Cairo and Dubai and holds a strong local presence in Saudi Arabia.
Christian Merieau, Founding Partner & Managing Director, MMAC DESIGN ASSOCIATES
Topic: A case-study on our current hotel and residential interior design projects in Makkah and Riyadh
Biography: After an early education in hotel administration, Christian obtained a degree in Interior Design in 1989 and later qualified as Interior Architect in Geneva, Switzerland. Relocating to Dubai 2005 as Managing Director for well know international design firm, Christian founded MMAC Design Associates in 2013 alongside Anil Mangalat. MMAC quickly developed into one of the most reputable hospitality design firms in the region, having now designed in various capacities for over 40 hotels. Having worked intimately with several of the premium hotel operating chains they are well versed with the intricacies involved in the Design & Operation of Hotels. Christian has also helped drive the growth of APID, the Association of Professional Interior Designers since 2009, currently holding the role of Executive Board Member.
Chris Barnes, Owner & Founder, BROADWAY INTERIORS
Topic: Reviewing our upcoming F&B projects in Saudi Arabia with particular focus on the set of new Black Tap restaurants and outlets coming to the Kingdom
Biography: Chris founded Broadway Interiors in 1999, who have since gone on to become one of the most renowned and award-winning design companies operating in the region. Broadway Interiors specialise in conceiving and delivering unique, outstanding solutions across a wide range of F&B/Hospitality, Office, Government, Leisure and Residential projects. Through this diverse portfolio, Chris and his team have gained a reputation for delivering innovative and highly successful design through creating some of the most talked about and iconic projects in the GCC, Europe and Asia.
Kristina Zanic, CEO, KRISTINA ZANIC CONSULTANTS
Topic: Property refurbishment: How interior design can reactivate and replenish existing spaces to create additional revenue and stay competitive
Biography: Kristina is a prominent figure in interior design in Asia and the Middle East. Talented, respected, organized and trusted, Kristina prides herself on being in tune with her clients, with a talent for synthesizing what is desirable and attractive with what is viable and functional. Inspired by her desire to travel and to explore foreign cultures, Kristina’s exclusive designs are often a result of the fusion of elements and details from her travels. In the past 10 years, Kristina has been working in the Middle East and has since established her own signature design studio in Dubai: Kristina Zanic Design Consultants. Her personalized service, eye-catching designs and relentless enthusiasm have won her a variety of prestigious regional projects, and recognition may be seen in the form of a number of international and local design awards.
Abdullah Ahmed Alzahrani, Co-Founder & COO, DECORATOR COMPANY
Topic: Examining a new digital platform that integrates clients with internal designers and furniture companies to help facilitate the design and furniture industry in Saudi Arabia
Biography: Abdullah Alzahrani received a degree in Communications and networks Engineering from King Khalid University and is currently working as Co-Founder and COO of Decorator Company. His professional interests focus on sales and customer experience and in addition to his role at Decorator Company, he also serves as Solutions Engineer for Miracles Company.
TUESDAY, 4th FEBRUARY
17:30 - 18:10
Renee Welsh, CEO, Solutions Group (Embed & Booking Boss)
Topic: The Family Entertainment Centre of the future
One-part executive, one-part entrepreneur, Renee’s passion lies in the grit and glory of business. Starting her own business at 27, she’s a true innovator, a natural self-starter and born leader who believes in the power of discipline and hard work. After her stints with prominent start-ups across the world: lastminute.com, wotif, Monster, and Redballoon, Renee founded several businesses but decided to focus on Booking Boss, which she built and sold to Helix Leisure in 2017. Named one of the top 30 Australian Female Entrepreneurs; Entrepreneur of the Year at the Women in Tourism Awards and named one of 10 Tech Innovators at Phocuswright in the U.S., as CEO of Solutions Group, she oversees two companies that deliver innovative technology solutions to the travel and entertainment industries.
18:30 - 19:05
John Jossifakis, Project Director - Formula E ADR e-Prix, STAMINA PRODUCTIONS
Topic: Behind the scenes at the SAUDIA Diriyah E-Prix: What we've learnt from the first two years of staging this highly complex, technologically innovative sporting and entertainment festival in KSA
With over 20 years of experience in large-scale event management, production management, festival and event operations which have seen him work on over 2,000 live events across five continents - including 2004’s Athens and 2008’s Beijing Olympic Games Ceremonies - John is a well-known and respected figure within the international live events industry. He is currently STAMINA Productions’ Director of Production & Project Director for the Ad-Diriyah e-Prix, a remarkable event which takes place on a specially built street circuit laced through this UNESCO World Heritage site and sits as the centrepiece of one of the Kingdom’s largest ever festivals for music, entertainment and cultural activities.
19:05 - 19:40
Bob Chambers, Founder & Co-CEO, THE PRODUCERS GROUP, LLC.
Topic: The attraction development process and key things to consider
Bob is a nearly 30-year veteran of the theme park and themed entertainment industry. He started his career at Iwerks Entertainment, working closely with Disney Legends Don Iwerks and Bob Gurr. Over the years, Bob has crossed over from theme parks to other markets, including casinos, retail, branding, museums, cultural and visitor centers. In total, he has contributed to the success of over 120 projects in more than 12 countries, including projects for Universal Studios, Hong Kong Disneyland, Busch Gardens, Seaworld, Port Aventura Theme Park, Warner Bros. Movie World Madrid, Six Flags and Paramount Parks – and has garnered more than 15 Thea Awards. Bob is a member of the International Board of the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA), as well as a member of the Producers Guild of America (PGA), and American Institute of Architects (AIA). Bob has been quoted in numerous publications over the years – most recently in Travel Weekly, Funworld, and InPark magazine. He presents at industry conferences in the theme park and casino industries, including the Florida Attractions Association Annual Conference.
20:10 - 20:50
Fahad Al Mutairi, Marketing Director, ABDULLAH AL OTHAIM INVESTMENT COMPANY
Topic: How Al Othaim are helping to drive the development of KSA’s leisure & tourism industry
Fahad is a driven marketing manager with 20 years’ experience - an extensive background in all aspects of marketing, marketing management, Quality Assurance, Operations and Training. Fahad easily moves from vision and strategy to hands-on implementation to achieve company goals.
20:50 - 21:30
Basim Almohammadi, Chief Business Officer, ALL ENTERTAINMENT GROUP (AEG)
Topic: The power of eSports: a new, fast-growing and highly lucrative ecosystem within KSA's sports industry
After 22 years of serving in the Military, Basim Almohammadi decided to retire as a Navy Captain and start his entrepreneurship journey. He started Entertainment Tracks (Xitmnt), a company specialized in Virtual Reality games and Video games provided in a unique games truck that considered one of the largest in the world. Basim believes in non-traditional activities and added value products. As a high skilled leader Basim was able to create a great team and partners which in turn managed to hold more the successful 30 events such as team building activities for corporate and government entities in the three cities in less than a year. After one year of providing elite services and different products such as Laser Tags and Carnival Games, he decided to expand his business by jumping in the world of E-Sport.
MONDAY, 3rd FEBRUARY
17:30 - 18:10
Simon Townsend, Senior Director – Head Strategic Advisory & Consulting MENAT , CBRE
Topic: Cinemas, mega-projects and action! Charting Saudi Arabia’s almost unimaginably fast and comprehensive transformation into a compelling entertainment and tourism destination.
Simon is a Senior Director and Head of the Valuation and Advisory business for the UAE and KSA at CBRE. He has wide-ranging valuation experience across the MENA region, advising financial institutions, developers, funds and business entities alike and recently helped author CBRE’s extensive report: “Entertainment in Saudi Arabia: A Game Changer”.
Since relocating to the UAE from a prominent private practice in the UK in 2001, Simon has been the resident partner at Cluttons as well as heading the investment and advisory businesses within investment banks both Islamic and conventional within the UAE and Qatar. During this time, he has been involved in significant number of valuation mandates across the GCC, North Africa, Europe and the US of almost all asset classes as well as being involved in a number of high-profile investment acquisitions across these geographies.
18:30 - 19:05
Mohamed Attia, CEO, KIDS SPACE (KIDZANIA, BILLY BEEZ and OCTO!)
Topic: Bringing and building world-famous Family Entertainment Center brands to the Kingdom
Mohamed is a dynamic professional with more than 15 years of progressive accomplishments in Theme Parks and FEC projects, operations and development. His rich experience has seen him hold senior positions with industry leading theme parks and operators across the region including Majid Al Futtaim and Abdullah Al Othaim Leisure Co. and he recently took the helm at Kids Space in Saudi Arabia, where he is enjoying building the ongoing expansion of its key brands including Kidzania, Billy Beez and Octo! Mohamed is also a board member of the MENALAC (Middle East and North Africa Leisure & Attractions Council).
19:05 - 19:40
James Kennard, Partner, LEISURE DEVELOPMENT PARTNERS (LDP) &
Yael Coifman, Senior Partner & Co-Founder, LEISURE DEVELOPMENT PARTNERS (LDP)
Topic: Examining global emerging trends and concepts across the entertainment and leisure industry
James Kennard is a company partner at LDP and has 15 years of consulting experience in all types of real estate but with an emphasis on leisure and entertainment economics. James has worked across the globe, including numerous assignments in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, as well as assignments in Asia and North America. The core of James’ work has included market and feasibility studies, performance reviews, roll-out and expansion strategies, due diligence for sales or acquisitions of individual attractions or groups, economics impact assessments, and strategies alongside retail for a range of attractions including theme parks, waterparks, viewing towers, animal attractions, corporate attractions, family entertainment centres, and arenas and stadiums, amongst others. James has also has completed numerous feasibility studies encompassing large-scale urban and resort mixed-use schemes including commercial and residential real estate uses, hotels and other accommodation, golf, marinas, leisure, and other ancillary leisure uses.
20:10 - 20:50
Yael Coifman, Senior Partner & Co-Founder, LEISURE DEVELOPMENT PARTNERS (LDP) &
James Kennard, Partner, LEISURE DEVELOPMENT PARTNERS (LDP)
Topic: The attraction development process and key things to consider
Yael is a founding partner of LDP and has nearly 20 years of experience conducting market and financial assessments of projects in over 60 countries throughout North America, Latin America, Europe and the Middle East. Based in London, she conducts studies on innovative leisure real estate projects that incorporate entertainment, retail and attraction elements into resorts and tourism destinations. She provides qualitative and quantitative analysis regarding entertainment concepts and content, strategic development and financial feasibility.
Yael’s experience is extremely strong with both the private and the public sectors and covers mixed use, visitor attractions from theme parks through to museums, sports and entertainment facilities and resorts. Over the years, clients have ranged from theme park clients such as Six Flags, Universal Studios, Tussaud’s Group, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment and Parques Reunidos to developers such as DuProcom, Qatari Diar, British Land and Stanhope plc. to investment groups such as 3i and Advent International. Her extensive cultural sector project experience has ranged from the Spy Museum in DC to St Pauls Cathedral, from the Rose Centre Planetarium to the Giants Causeway. She has worked on leading experiences such as the large scale EarthQuest Resort and Theme park in Texas to the unique KidZania concept in numerous locations; the numerous sport/event venue assessments as well as the legacy usage for the London Olympic games and corporate clients such as General Motors, Miller Brewing, Ben & Jerry’s, Mattel and Boeing.
20:50 - 21:30
Dr. Adel K. Jemah, Senior Vice President, HILL INTERNATIONAL INC.
Topic: Our collaboration with Saudi Entertainment Ventures (SEVEN) on the ambitious new “Exit 10” and “Al Nahda” leisure and entertainment clusters
Dr. Jemah is Senior Vice President in charge of Operations in Saudi Arabia for Hill International. In addition to running the operations, Dr. Jemah assumed the Position of Project Director on Jabal Omar Development Project for over 3 years, during which its first 5 internationally branded hotels were completed and also acted as the Project Director for King Abdullah Financial District for over 20 months. Previously, as Vice President in charge of Dubai Operations, he spent more than 9 years assuming various positions and working on various projects in the UAE such as the prestigious Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, Habshan Residential Complex Expansion, Administration Building for TAKREER, Residential Building for Al Hamid Group, The Palm Jumeirah and the Buildings by Daman at the DIFC. Prior to that, he was the Chief Executive Officer at TPM and a Lecturer at Cardiff School of Engineering, University of Wales Cardiff.