Emirates Group president Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum has presented the 2014 Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) leadership award to Saudi Arabia’s Prince Sultan bin Salman al-Saud, president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism & Antiquities.

The citation delivered on the opening day of AHIC 2014 by CBS News Travel Editor Peter Greenberg said that Prince Sultan had led the commission since it was founded in 2000. Greenberg said that in this time, the Saudi Arabian tourism industry has been transformed by modern regulations, major projects and a compelling vision.

Prince Sultan said that tourism now has the second highest level of Saudisation – the employment of Saudi Arabian nationals – in the private sector.

Almost one million people work in Saudi Arabia’s tourism and hospitality industry and about one third are Saudi Arabian nationals.

AHIC is organised by Bench Events and MEED and is being held at Dubai’s Madinat Jumeirah from 4-5 May.