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The UAE has been leading the region in recent years as it has introduced a variety of lifestyle and tourism attractions, as well as events and conferences. There are 53 new 5-star hotels planned for completion by the end of 2019 meaning a total of 132,000 rooms according to a market study by Dubai Tourism.
More people will be needed to work in these hotels, and it’s more than just a numbers game—they need to be the best to maintain Dubai’s customer service reputation. The country is consistently ranked as one of the world’s most desirable places to visit. Dubai alone is aiming to welcome a target of 20 million visitors in 2020 with Expo on the horizon. This will all place extra demand on the hospitality sector.
The UAE offers security and safety to its visitors and implements the latest trends in technology that aid convenient and accessible travel and tourism. Government policies to permit easier visa processing, visa-on-arrival policies, free entry for transit tourists for up to 48 hours and optional extended-stay visas have also helped to enhance the tourism industry and hospitality sector. The real challenge is to ensure that all visitors have an incredible experience, and that means providing them with excellent hospitality.
Training UAE nationals in this sector is an important direction for the country. The local culture embodies generosity and hospitality, so there is a natural synergy with the hospitality industry. This group is a largely untapped source of competent employees, who with the right training and coaching can be of great benefit to the sector.
Empowering and developing Emiratis to build first-class hospitality skills requires more than a few days of training. It needs in-depth educational programs, specific courses and intensive skills development. There is a need for education about the benefits of the hospitality sector for personal career goals and how each individual can help the UAE at a country-wide level by being an ambassador to the region to travelers from all over the world.
Encouraging travel and tourism is one of the backbones of a diversified economy. There are many different requirements from hotels, F&B outlets, city tours, customer service and guest relation points such as busy airports and touristic attractions. However, all require a high standard of training to keep the UAE at the top end of the world tourism economy.
Emiratis are a local engine that can drive more development and growth in the hospitality sector. The clear vision of the government towards Emiratization, combined with widespread education, will propel Emiratis to the very highest levels of hospitality in the world and boost the reputation and economies of their native country.
H.E. Ahmad Bin Byat is the Managing Partner at HTMi Switzerland Dubai.