It is said that the Emirati tradition is enriched with hospitality. That sounds so very true when the present prospective is considered. The hospitality section for the Emiratis are happening to be the most enthusiastic and also the most exciting opportunity. People from different parts of the UAE are joining the Hospitality section in various hotels.
Younis Aldawoodi, 29, the duty manager at Hilton, Jumeirah Resort, Dubai, thinks joining the hotel industry was the best thing that happened to him. After completing his higher secondary schooling at 21, he decided to work his way up in the sector.
Aldawoodi says he has cooked, washed dishes, handled back office and front desk and done all kinds of training at various hotels in the past eight years.
Fatima Ahmad Al Shabebi, a guest relations executive at Kempinski Hotel, Mall of the Emirates, joined the hospitality sector because it is driven by passionate people.
She wants to represent her country in an industry that doesn’t have a lot of Emirati talent. “When I decided to work in hospitality I had to face my family who didn’t understand my choice. I promised them and myself that I will give all of my passion and effort to be the best,” Fatima says.
Tourism and hospitality have traditionally not been the first choice of career for most Emirati graduates who would earlier much rather opt for public sector jobs or careers in banking, medical and the nursing sector.
However, in the last five years there has been a slow but sure paradigm shift.
The Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) has embarked on a vibrant Emiratisation project in hospitality initiating the Maharat and START programmes in association with DTCM’s Emiratisation Task Force (ETF) and Tanmia, attracting young Emirati graduates to the hospitality sector in keeping with its Tourism 2020 vision.
According to the GCC Hospitality Industry Report 2012 (Alpen Capital), the hospitality market in the UAE is forecast to grow at an average rate of 8.1 per cent in the next four years. Moreover, a new study from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) states that the travel and tourism industry contributed 14 per cent to the UAE economy in 2012, well above the global 9 per cent.
Last year, Dh193.6 billion of the UAE’s GDP came from the industry and that contribution is expected to rise by 3.2 per cent by the end of this year.
The recently announced Mall of the World project, coupled with winning the Expo 2020 bid, means that demand is only going to increase.
Emirati cuisine is now in great demand in all restaurant menus and what better way to showcase this than have young Emirati chefs trained in rustling up traditional recipes for consumption by national and international guests?
The International Centre for Culinary Arts (ICCA) in Dubai offers diplomas in cooking and pastry-making and many young Emiratis are signing up.
Sunjeh Raja, director, ICCA Dubai, is working with the vision of the Dubai Government that is trying to ensure more and more Emiratis are absorbed into the mainstream of the hospitality sector.
Raja confirms that of late many young Emiratis have been enrolling for professional and amateur culinary arts courses at his institute.
The attitude and the professional skills are more sharpened now with the progress of Internet, Movies and media platforms. The huge influx of the visitors are constantly growing the sector and more and more people are coming for the hospitality with mutual benefits.