Announcements, awards and keeping it real

It is that time of year again, when the hospitality and travel trade comes together for a week of networking, hand shaking, deal signing and career progression. Yes, May is upon us once again, bringing with it the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference and Arabian Travel Market. Once again, Dubai took centre stage as the emirate unveiled further hotel and tourism expansion plans.

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By  Sarah Campbell Published  May 8, 2006

|~|ATM-comment-picL.jpg|~|This year's ATM was the biggest in the show's 13-year history|~|It is that time of year again, when the hospitality and travel trade comes together for a week of networking, hand shaking, deal signing and career progression. Yes, May is upon us once again, bringing with it the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference and Arabian Travel Market. Once again, Dubai took centre stage as the emirate unveiled further hotel and tourism expansion plans. Movenpick, Millennium and Accor all had expansion plans to sing about, while the continued growth of the mid-tier and low-tier also provided a number of headlines, as easyHotels prepares for a regional debut. As the Middle East tourism industry grows and matures, it is also becoming more independent and more insular. Decisions are being taken within the region for the region, as local management for hotel chains, car hire companies, destination management groups and other travel related sectors become more accountable and cut the ties from European or American headquarters. The Middle East is coming of age. What’s more, regional companies are proving their worth on the international stage. Companies such as Jumeirah are already exporting their brands to the world, and it won’t be long before Nakheel, Emaar and Emirates are following with Middle East-based hotel chains flagging up in international centres. Accolades and awards for a successful twelve months have also been doing the rounds this May. Hotelier was once again proud to sponsor the DEPA Middle East Hotel Awards; applauding the industry’s greats, as well as those coming through the ranks. However, while those at the top bask in success and glory, are we still ensuring that this success filters down to our line staff? It appears that some of us do this better than others. Last month I had the pleasure of meeting Dep Kumara, housing manager for Hyatt International in Dubai. For me, Dep Kumara is probably one of Dubai’s most successful hotel general managers. At the Sahari Village in Ras Khor, Dep oversees the accommodation of 2200 Hyatt employees, and runs it with the proficiency of a top five-star hotel. The facilities at Sahari are not far behind a five-star hotel either, with swimming pools, gardens, games areas and shopping. In fact, I would urge other hotel managers to pay Dep a visit. Low staff turn over and high employee satisfaction are testament to the good work Dep and his team are doing at Sahari. After all, it is not only our hotels that have to provide a ‘home away from home’. Perhaps next year’s DEPA Middle East Hotel Awards will include an award for staff housing compound of the year? That is one category that would certainly get me voting.||**||

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