SAHIC South America announces the agenda for featuring industrial leaders and innovators

Published on : Thursday, June 28, 2018

SAHIC South AmericaSAHIC South America has announced the agenda featuring four influential industry leaders and innovators: Elie Maalouf, CEO, The Americas of IHG and Fernando Poma, Vice President and Managing Director, , Grupo Poma and Herman Bern, President & Founder of Empresas Bern will represent the lodging industry and talk to issues and concerns that impact hotel owners, operators and brands on a global basis. Additionally, speaker and peace leader Chef Juan Manual Barrientos, will share his “food for thought” with a keynote aptly titled “A Powerful Recipe for Colombia’s Peace.”



SAHIC is the premier hotel investment conference organizer for the Latin America region. This year SAHIC South America celebrates its 11th anniversary and will for the first time be held in Medellín, Colombia. SAHIC South America is scheduled for September 24-25th 2018 at the InterContinental Medellín, Colombia.




Maalouf, Poma, Barrientos and Bern will address nearly 400 hospitality developers and executives with interest in South America to share their vision and insights regarding any and all aspects of travel, tourism, hospitality and development including expansion of travel accessibility to the continent, and perspectives about the nuances of conducting business in the region.




Elie Maalouf is Chief Executive Officer of IHG’s Americas region, based in Atlanta, Georgia. Maalouf leads the management, growth and profitability of the company’s largest operating region and is responsible for overseeing more than 4,000 hotels and resorts, spanning the US, Canada, Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean. Since 1 January 2018, he also serves as an Executive Director on IHG’s Board.


His experience includes nearly 15 years at HMSHost Corporation, where he held roles as President and CEO and was a member of the board of directors. Before HMSHost, Malouf spent eight years with Weyerhaeuser Real Estate Company. Prior to joining IHG in 2015, he was Senior Advisor with McKinsey & Company.


Maalouf is active in organizations that support and promote the travel and hospitality industries, serving as a member of the American Hotel & Lodging Association Board Executive Committee, and the US Travel Association CEO Roundtable. He also sits on the Investment Advisory Council of the US Department of Commerce.






Fernando Poma is a businessman, musician, pilot and dreamer. With his undergraduate degree from Cornell University and an MBA from Wharton at the University of Pennsylvania, Poma belongs to one of the most powerful families of entrepreneurs in the Central American isthmus.   Fernando Poma is Managing Director of Real Hotels and Resorts, having joined the family company in 2000 when was a firm of five hotels. Today, Real Hotels and Resorts owns and operates 21 properties in the U.S., Central America, Dominican Republic and Colombia. It also has nine franchised hotels. Real Hotels and Resorts operates with brands including InterContinental Hotels Group, Marriott International and Choice Hotels International.


The company has exclusivity for the InterContinental brand in Central America, as well as the Choice Hotels master franchise for Central America, Panama, Dominican Republic, Colombia and Ecuador.




Juan Manual Barrientos, “JUANMA,” is the creator and founder of the Elcielo restaurants. At just 31 years old, Juan Manuel has been named one of the 50 best chefs of Latin America. He was awarded the Revelation Chef Award by Madrid Fusion and his company has been praised and studied by some of the best universities in the world. Juan Manuel has revolutionized traditional Colombian cuisine by combining his innovative cooking practices and his passion for neurosciences.


Juan Manuel was recognized by the Colombian government as a “Young Leader of Peace in Latin America.” He has taken his cuisine to areas of major conflict in Colombia and has offered his experience and help to wounded soldiers and young guerilla members. Through his cooking, he has been able to start a process of forgiveness and reconciliation. Thanks to his dedication to the community, Juan Manuel is undoubtedly one of the most important leaders of peace in Latin America. He created a new project, which loosely translates to “In Elcielo, We Are Cooking Peace in Colombia” (“En Elcielo estamos Cocinando La Paz de Colombia”).




Herman Bern is president and founder of Empresas Bern, a group of companies dedicated to the construction and development of real estate in Panama. For more than four decades, Empresas Bern has developed more than 180 projects which include shopping centers and residential developments with more than 9,000 housing units.



Bern has also been a pioneer in the Panamanian Hotel Industry, where he presides over Bern Hotels & Resorts, a group of 10 hotels and other tourism businesses. Additionally, he established the Bern Foundation, providing educational opportunities for low-income individuals. The Foundation currently has three bilingual educational centers, Instituto Bern, with more than 1,300 students per year, The Panama International Hotel School, and a Training Center for Construction Workers, Rodrigo Grimaldo Paredes.

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