The future is bright for UAE hotels
UAE National Ahmed Ramdan is well known in the UAE hospitality industry and a familiar face in Hotelier’s Power 50. Prior to setting up his consultancy in 1998, Ramdan held several roles in the business, including GM of InterContinental Dubai Creek (now Radisson) and a regional role for IHG based in Dubai. He recalls the impact of hotels on the lifestyle of people living in the UAE in the 1970's and 1980's.
“As far as UAE Nationals are concerned, working in hotels was not really acceptable – hotels were associated with bars and alcohol and drinking and when I went to study and work in a hotel, people, including my own father, were not very welcoming of the idea. I wanted to be different; I am a non-conformist!
In the 70s and 80s the UAE had very little international chains; initially it started with some of the local hotels running their own very small hotels [the first of which was the Airlines Hotel in Dubai in 1959]. The first international hotel chain to open in Dubai was InterContinental in 1975 – on the creek, followed by Sheraton, Hilton.
Hotels were like community centres, an attraction, being a GM of a hotel you had kind of a name. If you wanted to go to a gym, you would have needed to have been a member of one of the hotels. Hotels played very important roles with their health club, functions and food and beverage, because they provided a different type of ‘eatertainment’. Give credit to the hotels — they brought lots of stylish, high-grade products, to the market. Exhibitions in Dubai started in hotels because of the large ballrooms and then extended further. Even big weddings were encouraged by the hotels — before that people used to marry very differently. There was a lot of airline stopovers here so crew accommodation was very important. That was another thing they contributed.
It was in 1989 when Dubai really committed itself to tourism and things picked up dramatically. Hotels started to segment in 92/93 after the Iraq war when the business boomed again. The war created awareness of where we are and importance of the Gulf. Soon after the war stopped I remember we increased the prices of the hotels by three times because of the huge demand."
Arabian Hotel Investment Conference fosters the future of local talent
ARABIAN HOTEL INVESTMENT CONFERENCE FOSTERS THE FUTURE OF LOCAL TALENT
First Hospitality Careers for GCC Nationals Symposium Sponsored by Roya International on May 7 at AHIC 2015
AHIC 2015 in collaboration with Roya International is delighted to announce they will be hosting the first of its kindstudents outreach programme 'Hospitality Careers for GCC Nationals Symposium' on May 7 from 2:30-3:30pm at Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai.
The Symposium will offer a unique platform for students to learn first-hand from world-renowned experts about the hospitality industry; where to start from, what career opportunities the industry provides and how they can find them.
Ahmed Ramdan, Roya International Founder and Group CEO, an Emirati pioneer in the hospitality industry, will head the Symposium with key regional decision makers including: Mustapha Al Hashimi, CEO Hospitality and Leisure at Wasl Hospitality, Saad A Al-Qahtani, Manager of Accomodation at the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities, and Farida Al Raisi Director of Human Resources at Shangri-La Hotel Qaryat Al Beri in Abu Dhabi.
Commenting on hosting the Symposium, Ahmed Ramdan said: "We are all very grateful to AHIC and Benchmark for supporting this important and unique GCC outreach program. All of us will gain from direct talks with promising young students to see how they see us and what they want."
Ahmed added: "We have to introduce the benefits of the hospitality industry directly to the studentsas most of them are unaware that you don’t have to go to hotel school to have a great career in hospitality. All good opportunities need investment, time and energy to make it happen. This is a critical issue for the future of the hospitality industry in the GCC and we want to really open the discussion."
The Future of Local talent (Hospitality Careers for GCC Nationals) Symposium will also see participation from career bound seniors from NYU’s Abu Dhabi campus elite Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Scholars Program, who will be attending AHIC and talking openly about how they see the hospitality industry as a profession.