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    Each year, the month of October dresses up in pink for an international campaign not only intended to raise women’s awareness of breast cancer screening, but also to raise funds for research. In keeping with its commitment to women’s issues – and through its connection with education, women’s empowerment, and various associations around the world –, MGallery renews its support for Breast Cancer Awareness Month and brings it an exclusive collaboration with Pour Les Femmes, launched by actress and activist Robin Wright and designer Karen Fowler. All proceeds from pajama sales in October will be donated to Ruban Rose for eshop or to local associations for breast cancer prevention and awareness for in-hotels sales.
    Today, MGallery represents a network of more than 120 boutique hotels worldwide. Every single one has a different history and heritage, and is an integral part of its local community. Each unique, secluded hotel is full of character, and each carries within its DNA the notion of commitment and the commitment to giving back to the community it belongs to, especially in the defense of women’s rights. This collaboration was, therefore, a natural fit.
    What’s on the agenda? A set of 3 pajamas with subtle embroideries, including one specially designed for Pink October with a discreet powder pink trim, and 3 scrunchies for hair. These pieces can be found on the MGallery e-shop as well as in a selection of first MGallery hotels worldwide: in France at the Molitor Hotel in Paris, at the Nest in La Défense or at the Hôtel de la Cité in Carcassonne, in Israel at the Elkonin Tel Aviv, in Brazil at the Santa Teresa Hotel Rio de Janeiro, in the Netherlands at the INK Hotel in Amsterdam, in Australia at the Manly Pacific in Sydney, in Thailand at the V Villas Phuket…Don’t miss this creative way of pampering yourself or someone special for a good cause. And a chance to discover the brand founded by Robin Wright and Karen Fowler, turning lounge time into a true ritual of well-being. Both founders are fully committed to women’s issues, and they work hand-in-hand with several regional companies that highlight the work of women in conflict zones.
    “In 2011, I took a trip that changed my life. As an ambassador for the North American NGO Enough Project, I traveled to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. There, I met survivors of warfare in a region devastated by the Kivu conflict. Back in the United States, I knew that I had to get involved. That’s when I founded the purpose-driven company Pour Les Femmes with my friend Karen Fowler.”— Robin Wright, actress and activistADVERTISEMENT“I am convinced that tomorrow’s hospitality business must be sustainable and socially committed. MGallery has always championed the notion of commitment: to the cultural heritage behind many of the hotels in its collection; to the planet, with an extremely exacting CSR roadmap; and to endeavoring for a positive social impact, particularly through support to every dimension of women’s issues. This exclusive collaboration with Pour Les Femmes clearly demonstrates how the commitments of the two brands align, where beauty does good. In addition to enjoying the exquisite comfort of these exclusive pajamas, I am sure that our customers will particularly appreciate the fact that purchasing them is a way to ‘give back,’ a value that we truly share with the co-founders of Pour Les Femmes.” — Maud Bailly, CEO of Sofitel, MGallery and Emblems
    To complete this exclusive offer, MGallery will donate €10,000 – in addition to all the proceeds from the sales of MGallery x Pour Les Femmes products – to Ruban Rose association. Moreover, throughout the month of October, the hotel offers customers the opportunity to contribute €2 per night during their stay to that same France-based organization and to local associations elsewhere in the world.
    As part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, MGallery is also creating a podcast to raise awareness about breast cancer, accessible in guest rooms, and organizing conferences in the hotels of the collection. They will address topics such as the importance of a positive attitude, the strength of a supportive community, progress being made in well-being, and creative expression. Moreover, stickers appear on each hotel room’s bathroom mirror to guide women towards educational videos to perform a self-examination – content designed exclusively for MGallery.
    “Through this exclusive collaboration like none other in France, MGallery joins forces with Pour Les Femmes to pamper women for a good cause in a true expression of socially constructive luxury. Carefully designed and hand-crafted, the pajamas, bathrobes and nightgowns of Pour Les Femmes are made with the finest materials: Japanese and Egyptian cotton, Scottish cashmere, and pre-washed organic linen. By women, for women. This is a natural collaboration in celebration of exultant, socially constructive femininity.” — Maud Bailly, CEO of Sofitel, MGallery and Emblems
    Discover the MGallery x Pour les Femmes collection on MGallery’s boutique here.

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    Hard Rock International Kicks Off 24th Annual PINKTOBER Campaign in Support of Breast Cancer

    Hard Rock International proudly continues its longstanding support of breast cancer awareness and research with the return of its annual PINKTOBER campaign.
    Throughout the month of October, Hard Rock Hotels, Cafes, Casinos, Rock Shops®, Bet and Games around the globe are “going pink” by participating in fundraising efforts supporting the Hard Rock Heals Foundation®, the charitable arm of Hard Rock, with proceeds benefiting the American Cancer Society and local charities. Adding to the millions of dollars donated throughout the history of the campaign, PINKTOBER raised over $1 million for breast cancer awareness and research last year alone, the largest single amount Hard Rock has raised since the program’s inception in 2000.
    “Hard Rock is proud to unite globally for the 24th PINKTOBER campaign and create philanthropic activations that support organizations which benefit survivors, thrivers and those impacted by breast cancer,” said Jim Allen, Chairman of Hard Rock International.
    Hotel Activations & Events
    Hard Rock Hotels around the globe will host philanthropic-centered activations such as live concerts benefitting breast cancer research, plus engaging donation opportunities across local properties. Hard Rock Hotels is continuing the Sound of Your Stay program and in partnership with Gibson have created PINKTOBER, custom-designed guitars that will be displayed throughout properties. Guests can check out the guitars and make a donation through a QR code to help join fight against breast cancer. Hard Rock Hotel guests will also have the chance to indulge in pink-themed drinks, treats and exclusive spa treatments at the Rock Spa® all month long.ADVERTISEMENTStay Strong Survivor Stays
    Hard Rock Hotels is encouraging all fans to nominate fighters, survivors and caregivers as we rally together in the fight against breast cancer. Each week throughout October, one deserving winner will receive a $5,000 donation to the American Cancer Society in their name, a four-night all-inclusive stay for two in Punta Canta, Vallarta, Cancun, Riviera Maya or Los Cabos and a personal coaching session with breast cancer thriver & wellness guru, Samantha Harris. Visit the pinned post @HardRockHotels for details on how to participate.
    Hard Rock X Samantha Harris
    Hard Rock Hotels is teaming up with Samantha Harris, Emmy-winning TV host, bestselling author, certified health coach & trainer and breast cancer thriver, for sharing special content featuring tips from Samantha’s “Your Healthiest Healthy” book and online courses. Exclusive videos will be available for in room viewing and on the website. Additional tips will drop every Wednesday on Hard Rock Hotels’ Instagram where Samantha will provide advice on sleep, nutrition and feel-good workouts to help survivors, thrivers and others feel their best. To follow along, please visit @HardRockHotels and @samanthaharristv on Instagram.
    Limited-Edition PINKTOBER Pin & Merchandise
    In partnership with American Cancer Society, Hard Rock International and the Seminole Tribe of Florida are celebrating tribal member Nancy Frank’s 20th anniversary of breast cancer survival with a special, limited-edition pin designed by tribe member and Native American artist Victoria Billie Osceola. 100% of proceeds from the commemorative pin, available throughout October and Indigenous People’s Month in November, will go to American Cancer Society.
    In addition, Hard Rock International is offering exclusive limited-edition merchandise in support of breast cancer awareness and research, including a PINKTOBER-themed Hard Rock t-shirt, hat, water bottle, and tote bag. Through the Hard Rock Heals Foundation, a portion of proceeds will go to charities that help raise awareness and funds for breast cancer research.
    The PINKTOBER commemorative pin and 2023 retail collection are now available in stores and online at Rock Shops®.
    Cafe Activations & Events
    To honor the unwavering strength of those fighting breast cancer and breast cancer survivors, Hard Rock Cafe is kicking off PINKTOBER with a multitude of local events aimed at spreading awareness and inspiring our guests to support a very important cause. Cafes starting October 1st will proudly show their support to be “Stronger Together” and guests will have an opportunity to contribute through our turn it up campaign, where they can round their check up to the next dollar amount. Also a portion of the sales proceeds from the PINKTOBER retail collection during the month are being donated to the Hard Rock Heals Foundation to support breast cancer charities, research and awareness worldwide.
    To learn more about Hard Rock Cafe’s PINKTOBER calendar of events and limited-time offerings, please visit

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    The Future Hospitality Summit is set to serve up three days of debate as it opens next week

    The Future Hospitality Summit is set to serve up three days of debate, insight, exciting industry news and more when it gets under way in Abu Dhabi next week on 25 September under the theme of ‘Focus on Investment.’
    A key focus of the region’s leading – and largest – hospitality and tourism summit is on the importance of investing in people, identifying ways to close the talent gap, recruiting and retaining the right workforce and building ESG into the recruitment process.
    Mariam Al Musharrekh, Executive Director of Human Resources at Miral, Host Sponsor of FHS, says that recruitment, retention and development remain ever important to cater to increasing demand for sustainable, digitalised, and hyper-personalised guest experiences within the leisure, entertainment, tourism industry. “A heightened focus on attracting and retaining top talent, while cultivating and investing in their long-term growth and ensuring they have the best possible start to their career will remain paramount for the growth of the industry. An organisation’s workforce must be empowered to contribute meaningfully to sustainable practices by cultivating a culture of ethical governance, community engagement, and continuous learning. “At Miral, our data-driven approach to recruitment is supported by people-centric retention programmes to ensure that targeted, personalised growth paths instill a sense of belonging among all employees. Emiratisation is a core pillar of how we propel our nation’s local talent towards success, bolstering our commitment to accelerating the realisation of Abu Dhabi’s tourism growth. Our vocational training and career development programmes also ensure more young Emiratis thrive to become future leaders and are empowered to play an active role in advancing the UAE’s economic development,” she adds.
    In the run up to FHS, Mariam Al Musharrekh and other hospitality sector leaders share their thoughts on key factors relating to workforce skills, finding and keeping talent, attracting UAE and KSA nationals and the importance of building ESG into the recruitment process.  Read on for insight from Dimitris Manikis, President EMEA, Wyndham Hotel & Resorts; Sunil John, President – Middle East and North Africa, ASDA’A-BCW, Paul Griep, Director of Industry & Alumni Relations Hotelschool The Hague and Jeroen Greven, Managing Director, The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management.
    With guests’ needs ever-changing and new technology playing an increasing role in the hospitality sector, how can we ensure that workforce skills remain relevant?  Is more investment needed in finding and retaining the right people for the job?   ADVERTISEMENTMariam Al Musharrekh, Executive Director of Human Resources at Miral: The hospitality sector has gone through a revolution over the past few years through the integration of digital ecosystems within its operations. Following this revolution, recruitment, retention and development remain a focal point for success within the industry, as hospitality professionals are key to driving hyper-personalized experiences. 
    Now, more than ever, the workforce must be bigger, broader thinkers, and must be technically equipped to deal with an increasingly agile workforce. A heightened focus on investing in finding the right individuals for specific roles is paramount. It is also important to nurture top-tier talent as it directly correlates with long-term organisational success. 
    Dimitris Manikis, President EMEA, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts: I imagine many among us look back on the evolution of our industry and wonder what we did before the digital era enveloped us; the opportunity to streamline operations, optimise resources, and increase efficiency has been valuable far beyond simply growing revenue – providing endless opportunities to elevate guest experiences and freeing up staff for more personalised interactions. 
    Our industry thrives on human connection. While technology certainly enhances experiences, it’s the human touch that truly matters and what our guests remember. Investing in finding and nurturing the right talent is vital for success. It requires passionate individuals who understand the delicate balance between technology and hospitality, and by dedicating more of our time and budgets towards mentorship programmes, cross-training, and tailored development paths, we can enable our teams to navigate change confidently and achieve exceptional outcomes. 
    The short answer is yes, investment is needed, but it’s not just about investing more money. It’s also about investing in the next generation and starting at the grassroots. This means working with schools and universities to facilitate internship programmes that ensure young talent learns from industry leaders and builds towards the future.
    Sunil John, President – Middle East and North Africa, ASDA’A-BCW:  Over the years, ASDA’A BCW has provided communications consultancy to some of the leading hospitality majors in the region, including homegrown and now international brands such as Jumeirah Hotels and Resorts.
    From our experience of working with the hospitality leaders, we believe that what really sets them apart is their people. As a service industry, it is the personal passion and commitment that the employees bring which build hotel brands. 
    In today’s fast changing, digital-driven landscape, the teams must stay up to date and current with the latest skills and knowledge to remain relevant and productive.
    The industry can assist them in this journey by investing in training programs that build on their existing expertise and provide them with new competencies that will both prepare them for the future of work as well as improve their job satisfaction and loyalty. 
    There are certain timeless qualities that anyone looking to start their career in the hospitality industry should have – first and foremost, a sense of customer service; attention to detail; interpersonal skills; and flexibility. 
    Paul Griep, Director of Industry & Alumni Relations Hotelschool The Hague: I don’t necessarily believe that finding and retaining the right people for the job immediately means a higher investment considering only “costs”.  Investment is needed, but I believe this is more from a creative and innovative nature.  Young graduates entering the industry will already be way more tech savvy than we sometimes realize. Education should entice and develop these innovations and industry should encourage, use and take positive advantage of these skills when applying and/or developing tech related aspects of service. I believe both education as well as the industry can make a true competitive difference by assessing which aspects of the hospitality journey can be resolved by technology and which aspects will need more “human” touch. Due to the increase in tech, there may and should be more focus on “touch” in other high impact areas of the guest journey.
    Jeroen Greven, Managing Director, The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management: In a rapidly evolving hospitality landscape, continuous learning and upskilling are crucial to keep workforce skills relevant. On demand learning incorporating emerging technologies and industry trends enables employees to adapt and excel. Moreover, fostering a culture of learning and innovation encourages staff to embrace change. To ensure the right workforce is applied in the right role, substantial investment is indeed necessary, both in learning and in effective skills assessment/role matching tools. Retention can be enhanced by providing growth opportunities, work-life balance, and a supportive work environment. By prioritizing both skill development and employee satisfaction, the sector can thrive amidst changing guest needs and technological advancements.
    The Middle East, and especially the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is investing in tourism and hospitality at unprecedented levels, and it’s believed that close to 100,000 skilled hospitality professionals are needed by 2026.  What are the best ways to attract and retain talent in the hospitality industry?  Have recruitment and retention practices changed over the last few years and, if so, how? 
    Mariam Al Musharrekh: In the Middle East’s hospitality industry, customer experience is pivotal, therefore attracting and retaining top talent requires a multifaceted approach. Given the region’s diverse workforce, it is important to establish a positive environment that offers an inclusive culture and provides opportunities for growth and development. At Miral, we believe our family friendly approach and the implementation of recognition programmes and clear career growth paths can instil a sense of belonging among employees. 
    Over the last few years, we have seen notable transformations in recruitment and retention practices, with the shift attributed to various factors including technological advancements and changing market dynamics. With the use of data-driven approaches recruitment has become more targeted and personalised, aiding to the identification of more suitable candidates.
    Dimitris Manikis: The Middle East’s hospitality surge demands a strategic approach to talent. Attracting and retaining the right professionals hinges on fostering a dynamic workplace culture and offering clear growth opportunities. Our industry’s appeal lies in the diverse roles that bring together a melting pot of skills and expertise under one roof, from guest services to management positions. Saudi Arabia can be the “lab” where an array of new techniques, approaches to talent, and recruitment can be tested in action. 
    We have indeed witnessed an evolution of recruitment and retention practices in line with the changing needs and expectations of candidates and employees, with a much more conscious focus on inclusivity, work-life balance, and career progression. Collaborating with local educational institutions and offering internships aligns us with the new generation of emerging talent. At the same time, competitive benefits packages, and internal training programmes, such as the Wyndham University, are designed to inspire loyalty and the desire to grow with the brand. 
    Sunil John: Hospitality has no doubt evolved as one of the top sectors creating new jobs, especially for youth. In fact, our 15th edition of our annual ASDA’A BCW Arab Youth Survey – the largest of its kind survey of the Arab world’s largest demographic – its youth, finds that the hospitality sector is one of the Top 10 preferred sectors by young Arabs to pursue their careers. 
    To attract regional talent, it is important that the hospitality sector underlines the growth opportunities it provides – across diverse functions. Typically, in the region, the hospitality sector has been dominated by expatriate professionals – and there is an urgent need to nurture and build robust career choices for Nationals. 
    Our 2023 ASDA’A BCW Arab Youth Survey also revealed that nearly half of Arab youth aspire to start their own businesses in the next five years, demonstrating a strong entrepreneurial spirit within the GCC, and showing that many future hospitality leaders may arrive to the sector as company founders and future hospitality leaders. 
    Paul Griep: We, as an Industry, have an opportunity to do this “right” this time. For decades our Industry was known for underpaying and overworking. I believe the need for 100,000 skilled professionals is both the biggest challenge they face as well as the greatest opportunity in decades to come. There are various forms of quick fixes that may suit the numbers needed as described above.  However, this may not be the most sustainable and/or ethical which will be accepted at a lesser extent by newer generations. I believe that due to the large investments made and the growth foreseen, that there is an opportunity to “recreate” some aspects of our Industry. Traditional hospitality jobs should be analyzed and assessed in order to make these more challenging in a new innovative way.  Combining tasks and thus broadening job descriptions will not only make our Industry one for which you need proper training and education and thus seen as a real profession and will therefore also encourage and enthuse young professionals to enter our Industry again.  The challenge KSA is facing is an opportunity whereby all stakeholders, it being education, industry and government can play a value adding role leading to a situation whereby the Industry is truly sought after and the practices are truly sustainable. Jeroen Greven: To attract and retain talent in the hospitality industry, a multi-faceted approach is key. Firstly, showcasing the unique opportunities and experiences that the Middle East offers can be a strong draw for candidates. Collaborating with educational institutions to provide specialized hospitality programs can also nurture a local talent pipeline. Recruitment practices have evolved to emphasize cultural fit, diversity, and inclusivity, reflecting changing societal values. Retention strategies now encompass tailored career paths, mentorship programs, and a focus on work-life balance. Employee well-being and development have gained prominence, fostering loyalty and reducing turnover. As the industry expands, a strategic mix of appealing incentives and employee-centric policies will remain central to securing and nurturing a skilled workforce.
    Given government Emiratisation and Saudisation directives, how are you identifying, acquiring and retaining Arab youth talent?  Mariam Al Musharrekh: Miral is committed to accelerating the realisation of Abu Dhabi’s tourism growth and is positively impacting the communities we serve. Through our programmes and initiatives, we attract, upskill, and empower the UAE’s incredible local talent. Our career development programme, “Maharaty”, ensures more Emiratis thrive to become future leaders. It is a testament to how we propel our nation’s young local talent towards success. Participants are empowered to hone and enhance their potential, experience, and leadership skills within the LET sectors, and play an active role in advancing the UAE’s economic development. Our three-month Ambassador training programme provides hands-on training at our world-class theme parks, such as Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas Waterworld, and Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, where they can be equipped with the required skills and knowledge to join the theme park industry and excel in the leisure and entertainment sector. 
    Dimitris Manikis : Aligning with Emiratisation and Saudisation goals, our approach to nurturing Arab youth talent involves forging partnerships with educational institutions, continuing to offer internships and mentorship programs, and remaining committed to creating an environment where young local talents can flourish and contribute meaningfully to the industry. By celebrating our cultural diversity and fostering inclusivity, we want to authentically cultivate a workforce that represents the region. Further to this, recruitment practices are also evolving when attracting new generations. 
    While traditional methods like job postings and interviews remain essential, we recognise the importance of embracing modern tools. Social media and public channels now play a valuable role across the sector and beyond in showcasing brand identity, company culture, and operational excellence to potential candidates. By engaging these platforms, we not only attract potential talent but also resonate with new and loyal guests who value transparency and authenticity. By building a meaningful culture, we make sure that these talented individuals choose our industry versus any other.
    Sunil John: Within our business, ASDA’A BCW operates within a dynamic and diverse cultural eco-system for employees, and we have 27 different nationalities amongst our 160 employees across our regional offices.
    We offer opportunity for National youth with no previous communications experience to join our training and mentorship program and apply for entry level roles. 
    We are implementing an internship program that will help us to identify and acquire local youth talent, and we additionally have an outreach program aimed at attracting talent from the top universities to enter the business at a junior level. 
    Paul Griep: Pride in the Industry and pride in the skills that fulfill the job are key here.  This can be stimulated by all governmental entities such as ministries of tourism, ministries of education, hospitality associations, educational institutes and industry partners. As per the question above, retaining the talent will undoubtedly be correlated with the career development opportunities the industry will offer. In this setting whereby there is an opportunity to start with a “blank sheet of paper” one can redefine some of the processes and create and develop jobs and career paths that are quite different from the traditional ones. Jeroen Greven: Embracing Emiratisation and Saudisation directives requires a proactive and comprehensive talent approach. Identifying Arab youth talent involves partnering with local educational institutions to establish targeted recruitment pipelines. Creating internship programs, apprenticeships, and job shadowing opportunities can provide hands-on experience and attract young talent. Acquiring this talent involves clear communication of the organization’s commitment to fostering growth and providing meaningful work. Retaining Arab youth talent necessitates a supportive work environment that values their aspirations and offers opportunities for career advancement. Mentorship programs, leadership development, and skill enhancement programs can contribute to their long-term engagement. By aligning organizational goals with national directives and providing tailored growth paths, the hospitality industry can successfully attract, acquire, and retain Arab youth talent..  With an ever-increasing focus on sustainability and the environment, how can we ensure that we are developing talent in a responsible, ESG-driven way?  
    Dimitris Manikis: Today, more than ever, it’s essential to ensure talent development follows a responsible, ESG-driven path. With much of the world’s focus shifting toward a more sustainable future, it’s a responsibility that falls on all of us to ensure we integrate environmental, social, and governance (ESG) principles into training programs. This could involve promoting ethical practices, emphasising waste reduction, and encouraging community involvement. By instilling the values of our Wyndham Green Programme, for example, in our team, we’re not just cultivating skilled professionals but also advocates for positive change. This reflects the growing regional focus on sustainability and acts as our own blueprint for working towards a more responsible hospitality industry.
    Sunil John: We are dedicated to attracting and nurturing talent who have a specific interest and expertise within the sustainability sector. In fact, we are one of the first communications consultancies to launch our dedicated Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) advisory, named OnePoint5, with the goal of addressing the say-do gap in ESG goals and their implementation. As such, we are developing talent who are keen to understand and be part of our ESG offering. We work with several organisations in the region on their ESG frameworks and we believe that for organisations to realise their true purpose, it is important to invest in passionate talent who can make a difference. 
    Paul Griep: This is an interesting dynamic as I believe that the current talent entering the market is ahead of the Industry when it comes to the passion, drive, commitment and responsibility related to sustainability.  This generation makes choices related to sustainability that our Industry doesn’t always realize yet and thus faces a challenge in that respect.  An unprecedented large percentage of young graduates is and will continue to select an employer based on sustainability factors. At the same time they are motivated by making an impact and thus offering and empowering them to make this impact at all levels can make a true difference in attaining, but also retaining this talent.  This impact should not limit itself to the most common and known aspects only, such as climate.  This talent pool is also especially interested in companies “doing good” on other levels such as equality, fighting poverty and offering opportunities to the underprivileged. Any program or initiative whereby they can create impact on any of the aspects of ESG will motivate this generation. Jeroen Greven: Developing talent with an ESG-driven focus involves several strategies. Start by incorporating sustainability modules into training programs to raise awareness. Foster a culture of responsible practices through continuous education on environmental and social issues. Implement mentorship programs where seasoned professionals guide talent in ESG considerations. Collaborate with sustainability experts to offer workshops that instill practical skills. Recognize and reward employees who demonstrate a commitment to ESG values. Lastly, weave ESG principles into leadership development, ensuring responsible decision-making at all levels. By integrating ESG into talent development, the industry can contribute to a more sustainable and responsible future.
    The Future Hospitality Summit takes place at the Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island, 25 – 27 September.

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    Q&A with Damien Rizzi, Head of Hospitality and Asset Management EGIS Group

    BTN caught up with Mr Rizzi ahead of his attendance at the forthcoming Future Hospitality Summit for a Q&A session.
    BTN: What are your organization’s core areas of focus when it comes to investment?
    EG: Our organization places a strong emphasis on innovation and sustainability, particularly within the hospitality industry. We’ve established a global sustainability practice with a dedicated team in the Middle East, comprising of more than 3,000 individuals. This team works closely with owners and developers throughout the entire asset lifecycle. Our commitment to sustainability extends to all our services, as we strive to reduce our environmental footprint while delivering exceptional service. Additionally, we are equally devoted to promoting sustainability in leisure-related ventures.
    We have also our own Leisure innovation Lab (Leisure Factory), tasked with creating new solutions which will become tomorrow’s leisure market, often combining tourism accommodation, leisure, culture, sports and businesses. Leisure Factory assists today’s creative minds in search of real and innovative ideas applied to tourism.  Leisure Factory also accompanies project leaders following a project’s conceptual phase in the search for investors, project follow-up, distribution and pre-opening planning.
    BTN: What is your outlook for the hospitality industry in the Middle East in 2023 and beyond?ADVERTISEMENTEG: While the spotlight has been on Saudi Arabia (KSA), we anticipate a resurgence of interest in developments in other regions such as Egypt. Furthermore, we foresee the steady growth of the hospitality sector in the UAE, which has matured significantly, evidenced by the emergence of diverse business models mirroring those in the US and Europe.
    BTN: What does your panel/presentation/workshop at FHS focus on and what will delegates be able to take away from your session?
    EG: Our primary panel discussion will revolve around the financial aspects of sustainability-enhanced projects. In the Middle Eastern hospitality market, sustainability has been a prominent topic, but we believe a genuine shift towards sustainability will occur when it’s directly tied to improved economic returns. Our second panel will concentrate on practical sustainability solutions, equipping attendees with a toolkit for implementation. Dr. Ali Amiri’s workshop will offer valuable insights into optimizing operating costs through energy-efficient equipment. Delegates can expect to leave our sessions with actionable strategies and a deeper understanding of sustainability, asset management, and cost optimization within the real estate sector.
    BTN: What are you personally looking forward to most from your attendance at FHS 2023?
    EG: On a personal level, we are eagerly anticipating the invaluable networking opportunities and knowledge exchange that FHS 2023 has to offer. Engaging with leaders in the Hospitality, Leisure, and Tourism industries, alongside technology pioneers and sustainability experts, will provide us with fresh perspectives and innovative ideas to enhance our hospitality offerings. Additionally, uncovering emerging trends and solutions that align with our investment priorities will be an enriching experience.
    The Future Hospitality Summit is being held on 25-27 September 2023 at the Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island for more info visit

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    Experience the Magic of Christmas at Gaylord Hotels

    Gaylord Hotels – part of Marriott Bonvoy’s extraordinary portfolio of 31 hotel brands – is delighted to announce the return of its iconic ICE! event for the 2023 holiday season. More than 2 million pounds of ice at each of the brand’s five resorts transform into colorful, larger-than-life, story-driven holiday showplaces featuring characters and scenes from beloved Christmas classics. It is all part of the brand’s So. Much. Christmas. extravaganza, featuring dozens of holiday activities, entertainment, unique dining experiences, and more. The Christmas events return this November to Gaylord Opryland in Tennessee, Gaylord Texan in Texas, Gaylord Palms in Florida, Gaylord Rockies in Colorado, and Gaylord National in Maryland. ICE! will anchor each resort’s over-the-top festive showcases of traditional ice sculptures and light and fountain shows, alongside returning marquee programming, including the original production of Cirque: Spirit of Christmas live show and a brand-new Christmas in Tennessee dinner show at Gaylord Opryland.
    To celebrate the start of the season, Gaylord Hotels is offering a special early bird offer, where guests and visitors can save up to 20% off Christmas packages and room nights and up to 30% off ICE! tickets.
    ICE! at Gaylord Hotels A holiday tradition at Gaylord Hotels for more than 20 years, the dazzling ICE! experiences begin to take shape in October, as expert artisans from Harbin, China (home to the renowned Harbin Ice Festival) hand carve characters, scenes, stories, and epic slides out of colorful, vibrant ice. Each resort will feature a theme different than last year, allowing visitors to experience a fresh new showcase. The unique sculptures will be created from more than 33,500 massive blocks of ice weighing more than 10 million pounds – or 5,000 tons – across the five resorts. The holiday-themed spectacle crafted with meticulous detail will be kept at a chilly nine degrees to ensure every feature remains frozen. The carving takes place over six weeks, using skills passed down from generation to generation and a mix of modern and hand-built, custom tools. Each theme’s vivid colors come to life with the help of an expert chemist who prepares a proprietary formula to ensure the ice sculptures maintain their bright and festive colors all season long.
    This year, visitors will be able to experience five quintessential holiday classics:
    ICE! featuring The Polar Express™ at Gaylord Opryland – Based on the beloved Warner Bros. film, families are invited to take a journey of imagination through this heartwarming story as a young child embarks on a magical adventure to the North Pole while learning about friendship, bravery, and the true spirit of Christmas.ICE! featuring A Charlie Brown Christmas at Gaylord Palms – Guests will follow along with the lovable Charlie Brown as he rediscovers the meaning of Christmas.ICE! featuring Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! at Gaylord Texan – Showcasing the 1957 Dr. Seuss classic, families are invited to experience iconic scenes such as the Grinch lurking through the chimneys of the Who-ville homes, the Grinch’s heart growing three sizes after realizing Christmas means a little bit more, and sitting down at the Whos’ feast where the Grinch carves the roast beast.ICE! featuring A Christmas Story™ at Gaylord Rockies – Fans of this humorous Warner Bros. perennial holiday classic will rejoice in experiencing their favorite characters and scenes in this magical ice showcase.ICE! featuring Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer™ at Gaylord National – Guests will enjoy favorite scenes from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, brought to life in this colorful winter wonderland.Christmas Shows at Gaylord Hotels Returning for the season, Gaylord Hotels presents an original production of CIRQUE: Spirit of Christmas at Gaylord Rockies, Gaylord Palms, Gaylord Texan, and Gaylord National. This unique, Cirque-styled live show will feature dazzling acrobatics, feats of flexibility, and high-flying stunts. This Broadway-style spectacle centers around Noel, a child dismayed and distressed by the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Trying to recapture her lost love of the season, she is visited by spirits who bring back the true meaning of the season in energetic, dreamlike chapters.ADVERTISEMENTWintertime Activities for All Ages Alongside ICE!, families and guests can enjoy a lineup of winter festivities and holiday-themed events, with something for guests of all ages. Throughout the festive season, each property’s signature atrium will transform into a winter wonderland full of dazzling decorations, including millions of lights, elaborately themed Christmas trees, and miles of garland, as well as festive menus at restaurants, pop-up dining concepts, and retail opportunities to bring home gifts and stocking stuffers.
    Visitors can look forward to a number of amazing, Christmas-themed activities available within the resorts’ winter wonderlands this upcoming holiday season, including snow tubing, ice skating, caroling, gingerbread decorating and adventurous scavenger hunts. Highlights include Snow Flow Mountain, a magnificently sculpted tubing course for friends and families to race each other down; ice skating, various atrium light & fountain shows; gingerbread decorating experiences; winter wellness treatments at the brand’s Relâche Spa, and so much more. Additional programming as part of Gaylord Hotels’ So. Much. Christmas. offerings will be announced in the coming months.
    Tickets and Packages Tickets for ICE! and Christmas at Gaylord Hotels are on sale now and can be purchased at Advance online reservations are required for all ticketed events.
    To celebrate the start of the 2023 season, Gaylord Hotels is offering a special early bird offer, where guests and visitors can save up to 25% off Christmas packages and room nights and up to 30% off ICE! tickets.
    Christmas at Gaylord Hotels will be presented over the following dates:
    Gaylord Opryland: November 10, 2023 – January 1, 2024Gaylord Texan: November 10 – December 31, 2023Gaylord Palms: November 17, 2023 – January 3, 2024Gaylord Rockies: November 17, 2023 – January 1, 2024Gaylord National: November 19 – December 31, 2023

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    Wyndham Hotels & Resorts to be the Official Partner Hotel of ITB China for the third time

    Signing Ceremony: Mr. Joon Aun Ooi, President of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts Asia Pacific and Mr. David Axiotis, General Manager of Messe Berlin (Shanghai) at the Wyndham Office in Shanghai
    ITB China, the leading B2B exclusive travel trade show focusing on the Chinese travel market, announces its strategic partnership with Wyndham Hotels & Resorts.
    For the third time, the world’s largest hotel franchising company and leading provider of management services becomes the Official Partner Hotel of ITB China, which is set to take place in Shanghai from 12 – 14 September 2023.With over 9,100 hotels and 24 established brands in over 95 countries, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts(“Wyndham”) is appointed as the Official Partner Hotel of ITB China for the third time. The corresponding agreement was formally signed on 29 June at Wyndham’s Shanghai Office, by Mr. Joon Aun Ooi, President of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts Asia Pacific, and Mr. David Axiotis, General Manager of Messe Berlin (Shanghai), the organizer of ITB China. The hotel industry franchising giant will once again have a strong presence at ITB China, introducing its brand-new products and innovative services to the industry, and delivering an inspiring speech at the opening session of the ITB China Conference, which will take place on the first day of the show, 12 September.
    Mr. Joon Aun Ooi, President of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts Asia-Pacific, stated that: “We are honored to be the Official Partner Hotel of ITB China for the third time. As a professional B2B travel trade exhibition focused on the Chinese travel market, ITB China provides an effective communication platform for hotel operators, travel agencies, conference organizers, and corporate clients to explore potential business opportunities.This collaboration not only continues our long-term strategic partnership but also demonstrates Wyndham Hotels and Resorts’ continuous commitment to China as an important strategic market. We look forward to showcasing our diverse brand portfolio of distinctive hotel products in the Asia Pacific region to all attendees at the exhibition in September.”
    Mr. David Axiotis, General Manager of Messe Berlin (Shanghai), said: “Throughout the challenges of the past years, ITB China remained committed and connected to the Chinese travel industry. Therefore, in this pivotal year for China’s travel market recovery, ITB China is in the unique position to be spearheading that recovery offering its partners the right business platform at just the right time. Supporting them to once again unlock the full potential of the Chinese travel market. We are very proud and honored to be driving this recovery with Wyndham Hotels & Resorts by our side, heading this year’s partner lineupas ITB China‘s Official Partner Hotel.”
    The latest development of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts in the Greater China regionADVERTISEMENTAt the beginning of this year, with China fully opening its travel policy, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts recorded a significant return of business and leisure travelers with an exceedingly positive development over the past months.
    “In the first quarter of 2023, we have signed 27 projects and opened 15 hotels in the Greater China region. During the same period, we signed 6 projects and opened 5 hotels in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Rim region,” says Mr. Joon Aun Ooi. The upcoming months also point to further growth: “Looking ahead to the second half of 2023, we will launch more new brands and hotels to meet the ever-changing needs of international inbound and domestic tourism. With our strong direct franchising and managed hotel development scale in China, as well as our stable collaboration relationships with owners and partners, we are confident of the development momentum of the Wyndham Hotels & Resorts in the Asia-Pacific region in 2023 and ahead,” he continues.

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    The Hospitality Show Wraps Up Successful Inaugural Year, Drawing Thousands of Attendees and Vendors

    The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) and Questex this week debuted The Hospitality Show (The Show) at The Venetian Resort Las Vegas June 27-29, completing a highly successful inaugural year for the event, which drew more than 3,500 attendees and 300 vendors.
    The Show is a brand-new operations and technology event, created in partnership by The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) and Questex, uniquely designed for the entire hospitality ecosystem to help hotels operate more efficiently and profitably.
    “We set very high standards for what we wanted to achieve with the first year of The Show, and the industry responded in a resoundingly strong way,” said AHLA President & CEO Chip Rogers. “With an all-star lineup of speakers, who’s who list of attendees, and unparalleled networking opportunities, The Show proved itself as one of hospitality’s most important events. We are excited to continue growing and improving it year after year.”
    The Show reached an important milestone prior to its opening, when it sold every available vendor space on the expo floor, a rare achievement for a first-year event of this size and scope.
    “The sold-out status of The Show’s vendor space in its inaugural year is a remarkable accomplishment that motivates us to continuously innovate and reimagine what’s possible,” said Questex Hospitality, Travel & Wellness Group President Alexi Khajavi. “Next year and into the future, The Hospitality Show will be an unforgettable event, delivering unmatched opportunities for growth, learning, and networking.”ADVERTISEMENTThe Show attendees enjoyed two days of main-stage sessions led by iconic leaders, solutions-driven programming and case studies of profitable operations, as well as 13+ hours of networking opportunities. Learn more about The Show’s networking opportunities here. A full list of speakers is here and the event schedule is here.
    Attendees benefited from content across three sets of stages, including a Main Stage that opened the event each morning with views and insights from leading minds from the hotel industry and beyond. The Show speakers included Athletic Greens COO & President Kat Cole, Retired U.S. Navy Admiral William H. McRaven, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts President & CEO Geoff Ballotti, Marriott International President & CEO Anthony Capuano, BWH Hotels President & CEO Larry Cuculic, Hyatt Hotels Corporation President & CEO Mark Hoplamazian, and Sonesta International Hotels Corporation President & CEO John Murray.
    Content was also delivered from two Solutions Stages, diving deep into the biggest industry issues across ownership, operations, emerging trends, and technology.
    A Spotlight Stage featured technology-driven demos and case studies from key vendors, including ADP, Belden, Nomadix, Sage, Shiji and more.
    Next year, The Hospitality Show 2024 will be held at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio from Monday, Oct. 28, 2024, through Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2024. Those interested in the 2024 event can complete this form to receive more information.

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    Accor chairman Sébastien Bazin heading to Abu Dhabi this September

    Sébastien Bazin, CEO and chairman of Accor Group, will be in Abu Dhabi this September. The global hotel boss is lined up as one of the speakers at this year’s Future Hospitality Summit.
    This year’s conference will be the focal point for hospitality investment intelligence, touching up on the influence of ESG on the industry, the impact of the prevailing geopolitical landscape on investment prospects, and the integration of technology in the hospitality sector.
    Other speakers include: Abdulaziz Al Khoori, Executive Director of Strategy & Transformation, Miral Group; Giuliano Gasparini, Head of Hospitality Asset Management, Wasl Group; Kevin Jacobs, CFO and President, Global Development, Hilton; and Guy Hutchinson, President & CEO, Rotana.
    Source : Hotelier Middle East

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