Page 1


P.O.Box: 267, Jounieh, Lebanon - Tel: +961 (0)9 938732 - Fax: +961 (0)9 935664 - info@emf-me .com www.emf-me .com


Editor-in-chief Nouhad Dammous Managing director Joumana Dammous-Salamé

It would afford individuals a space to discuss problems, brainstorm collectively, arrive at solutions and develop more effective strategies for the coming years

Editor Annie Keropian-Dilsizian Publication manager Randa Dammous-Pharaon Publication executive Rita Ghantous Graphic designers Elias Tufunkji Ibrahim Kastoun Features consultant Rana Freifer Features writer Jad Haidar Sub-editor / writer Miriam Dunn Community manager Lisa Jerejian Sales executives Michel Ajjoub, Maha Hasbani, Josette Hikri, Nancy Mouawad Subscription coordinators Houayda Haddad-Roumman Mirna Maroun Circulation coordinator Rita Nohra News Production & printing Arab Printing Press Photographer Pavlos Nikolaou Photography Published by Hospitality Services sarl Lebanon Borghol Building, Dekwaneh P.O.Box 90 155 Jdeidet el Metn 1202 2020 Tel: +961 1 480081 Fax: +961 1 482876 Dubai Tel: +971 56 6661718 All the information disclosed in the magazine was provided by the parties concerned by each publication and checked to the highest possible extent by the editors. However, the magazine cannot ensure accuracy at all times of all information published and therefore could in no case be held responsible should any information reveal to be false or insufficient. We welcome views on any subject relevant to the hospitality industry, but request that letters be short and to the point. The editor reserves the right to select and edit letters. Hospitality News ME is distributed to trade professionals in the catering and lodging industry in the Middle East.

25 YEARS OF HORECA SUCCESS As director of the first hotel school in Lebanon and the Middle East (19571996), as well as consultant for many hospitality projects, the need for effective improvements across hotels, restaurants, hospitals and similar establishments became increasingly clear to me over the years. The growth of the hotel segment also presented its own specific set of challenges. Over time, I came to realize that the idea of a collective approach to problemsolving made the most sense. And so, following much thought, planning and countless conversations with owners and employees, Hospitality Services was born. Subsequently, once Joumana, my eldest daughter, returned from Washington D.C. after completing her management training, a new annual event, titled HORECA, was launched in 1994. Standing for hotels, restaurants and cafes, this significant milestone was a ‘rendezvous’ of sorts that would introduce hospitality professionals to one another and provide a forum for them to learn more about their respective businesses and service needs. Yet, most importantly, it would afford individuals a space to discuss problems, brainstorm collectively, arrive at solutions and develop more effective strategies for the coming years. It also served as a means of highlighting the social and economic effects of the hospitality family’s activities and relaying their importance. As the hospitality industry developed throughout the Middle East, countries such as Kuwait, Jordan and Saudi Arabia adopted the event, and media platforms were created throughout the region to promote the industries covered. To support these flourishing initiatives, Hospitality News ME magazine was created to cater to hospitality professionals. Taste & Flavors marked the second vehicle, providing the general public with a fascinating and colorful insight into the local culinary scene, while most recently, we welcomed Lebanon Traveler, which highlights the country’s diversity and richness, showcasing what it has to offer locals, foreigners and families of expatriates. Parallel to all of the above and in line with the three publications and services offered, Hospitality Services went on to introduce an additional set of events that would take the company’s profile to even greater heights, namely: The Garden Show & Spring Festival; Salon Du Chocolat; Beirut Cooking Festival; Beirut Restaurant Festival; and Whisky Live Beirut, all of which continue to garner a bigger following each year. Always committed to meeting the needs of you, our hospitality family members, and taking your suggestions on board, we look forward to new feats and more breakthroughs in the years to come. It will be a pleasure to be part of them and relay their significance to the industry and beyond. Nouhad Dammous Editor-in-Chief Docteur Honoris Causa

In this issue Apr - May 2018



25 years of HORECA success


08 Industry Overview 10 Hotels 20 Food & Beverage 28 Chefs 30 Suppliers



HORECA wraps up its 25th edition





A record-breaking SIGEP & GULFOOD 2018 GRIF 2018



Trends to keep an eye on at ATM 2018

16 Debut of Zabeel House by Jumeirah Hotel - The Greens in Dubai

32 HORECA wraps up its 25th edition

BUSINESS INTERVIEW 66 At the helm of the Kingdom’s future with

CEO of Dur Hospitality, Dr. Badr Al Badr

INDUSTRY 68 Beyond oil: How ME markets are

developing their infrastructure to diversify the hotel business



Ras Al Khaimah: an emirate rich in opportunities 74 Tehran: dawn of a new era


MARKET UPDATE The revival of Egypt’s tourism industry

TOURISM 78 Traveling close to home: the rise of

domestic tourism

TECHNOLOGY 80 Effective social media for hotels HOTELS 82 Major shift in the hotel dining experience RESTAURANTS 84 Sunset Beirut: the capital’s most glowing cluster

66 CEO of Dur Hospitality, Dr. Badr Al Badr




62 64

A snapshot of tomorrow’s hospitality industry today The future of hospitality education Bridging the gap between education and the workforce Tapping into the Millennial mindset Re-evaluating the evaluation system


60 61

FRANCHISING 86 Legal considerations MANAGEMENT Managing organized chaos 88




60 The future of hospitality education

On the market

EQUIPMENT 92 As fresh as dough: bread-making machines FOOD 96 Our daily bread: the latest baking trends BEVERAGE 100 Inspiration from the plant kingdom CHOCOMANIA 102 Golden Easter

92 Saltek Tannour Line bread making machine



Out and about with Hospitality News ME

Coming issue Jun - Jul 2018 • Special report Entrepreneurial Women • Market update Lebanon & Abu Dhabi • Food Ice cream & Sorbet • Equipment Packaging and Room Amenities • Beverage Syrups



98 Best Artisan Bakery (‘B.A.B’) in Dubai

Advantages of Vacuum Packaging Preserve Product Quality:

Organize Work And Stock Management:

Secure Impeccable Hygienic Conditions:

 Maintain the freshness

 Increase productivity  Decrease work intensity and

 Eliminate contamination risk  Protect against the external dirt

and nutritional contents  Reinforce the savour and concentration  Extend product shelf-life

stress during peak hours

Applications  Cheese

Exclusive Agent

 Meat & Fish  HoReCa  Sous-Vide Cooking +961 1 890 654 Lebanon




Iraq I

Saudi Arabia


Ivory Coast





CryptoBnB launches the first hospitality utility token

CryptoBnB, one of the world’s first online short-term rental and tenant smart matching platforms, has announced a new partnership with WTC, Japan’s largest travel agency and B&B accommodation platform that focuses on the product and services-sharing economy. The partnership will facilitate tremendous usage and practical application of the CKey token, the cryptocurrency issued by CryptoBnB, to become the first hospitality utility token used across global rental platforms. The partnership allows CKey to be used with 100,000 properties and in five countries across Asia.

On Tuesday, February 27, at Beirut’s iconic Le Bristol hotel, co-founder of Hospitality Services sal and editor-in-chief of Hospitality News ME, Nouhad Dammous, was honored for his distinguished contribution to the hospitality industry since 1957 by the former minister of industry, Vrej Sabounjian. The private ceremony, which was attended by 250 VIP guests, was hosted by Vresso, one of Lebanon’s oldest companies offering the hospitality industry a total-solution package for food service and laundry equipment. In his opening speech, the company’s CEO, Vrej Sabounjian, said, “Today, we honor a visionary and pioneer of the hospitality and tourism industry who achieved one of Lebanon's biggest success stories. To me passion and love in relation to this profession are directly interlinked to him. His ability to develop and grow the institutions is second to none, especially at a time when the challenges and obstacles were far too many

to list and the industry he was catering to, still in its infancy. The biggest challenge I see today is modernizing Lebanese cuisine to suit the global palette and I am fairly certain he will be part of that evolution one way or another. To the industry, he will always be a reference and a never-ending treasure trove of knowledge and wisdom.” Present at the event was Avedis Guidanian, Lebanese minister of tourism, who seizing the opportunity, took to the podium and said, “I consider Hospitality Services my school and Nouhad Dammous a great mentor who has had a tremendous impact. Hospitality is in the DNA of all Lebanese and the industry that he pioneered will always be in our hearts and minds. This evening I am honored and humbled by his presence.” The ceremony concluded with Nouhad Dammous thanking Vresso for the honor and for being one of HORECA's first supporters.

AIRBNB UNVEILS NEW PROPERTY TYPES AND NEW TIERS Ten years ago, Airbnb cofounders Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia inflated three airbeds in their San Francisco apartment and started what has become a global phenomenon. In a keynote address Chesky said, "Airbnb will add four new property types to its platform - Vacation Home, Unique Space, B&B and Boutique. All seven property types will launch to guests this summer.” Airbnb is also launching Collections - perfect homes for every occasion, Airbnb for Family and Airbnb for Work with Collections for Social stays,


Weddings, Honeymoons, Group getaways and Dinner parties coming later this year. It is also launching a new tier of homes that have been personally verified for quality and comfort. Airbnb Plus is intended for guests looking for beautiful homes, exceptional hosts and added peace of mind. Launching this spring, Beyond by Airbnb will offer customdesigned trips of a lifetime, including the world's finest homes, custom experiences and world-class hospitality.”


Majid Al Futtaim inaugurates My City Centre Al Dhait and My City Centre Sur in Oman

Majid Al Futtaim opened My City Centre Al Dhait in Ras Al Khaimah, marking the company’s first investment in a community and convenience focused retail and services destination. The AED 68.5 million mall has a gross leasable area of 5,494 square metres, houses more than 30 regional and international lifestyle brands. My City Centre Sur is the company’s first community mall in the Sultanate of Oman. With an investment of OMR 15.2 million and has more than 50 retail outlets across 16,500 sqm and 484 parking spaces. Emaar Entertainment launches new VR attraction

Emaar Entertainment, the leisure and entertainment subsidiary of Emaar Properties, has announced a new attraction, the VR Park. Designed to #ChallengeReality, the all-new spectacle is set to transform the virtual reality entertainment landscape, providing an unprecedented breadth of games, rides and experiences to suit all ages. Located at The Dubai Mall, the new VR Park marks the future of entertainment for the region, bringing together some of the world’s best Virtual Reality developers. 84 new hotels to open in Saudi Arabia in 2018

Almost 60 percent of Saudi Arabia’s current construction pipeline of 143 hotels is forecast to open in 2018. Riyadh, Jeddah, Makkah and Al Khobar remain the busiest areas. Notable hotel openings set for the Kingdom in 2018 include: Hilton Riyadh Hotel & Residences; Copthorne Hotel Makkah, Jabel Omar; Swiss-Belhotel Al Aziziya Makkah; Millennium Hotel Jeddah; and Hilton Garden Inn Al Khobar. Third Mysk in the region coming to Palm Jumeirah

Shaza Hotels signed its third Mysk project in the Middle East, Mysk by Shaza, which will find its home on Palm Jumeirah. The announcement follows the signing of Mysk Kuwait and the official opening of Mysk Al Mouj in Muscat. Fikra Labs Acceleration Programme launched in Abu Dhabi

As part of the UAE Innovation Month, four leading Abu Dhabi organizations - Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC), Etihad Aviation Group, Miral and The Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi - supported by Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), partnered with Wamda, an entrepreneurship empowerment platform, to launch the new Acceleration Programme called Fikra Labs. The initiative aims to provide innovative solutions to the challenges faced by travel and tourism sectors in Abu Dhabi. Each of the four partners will select one winner, who will receive a USD 100,000 equity investment.




1. How do you assess the hospitality scene in Dubai? Dubai’s hotel market remains robust, achieving city-wide occupancies in the high 70 percent/low 80 percent bracket, yet new supply and a more diversified rooms inventory in the mid-market and upscale segments is exerting downward pressure on average daily rates (ADRs). Despite significant supply in the pipeline and a slight correction in ADR, Dubai’s hotel market is starting to show signs of maturity, primarily driven by its steadfast demand patterns and the bullish entry of significant global lodging brands; the market is now ready to welcome a creative hotel offering like ours.



With FORM Hotels & Smartotels Hospitality International Limited’s first property in Dubai opening in April 2018, HN spoke to Tarek M. Daouk, its founder and managing partner, to find out about the innovation the new brand brings and hear his views on the emirate’s hospitality landscape



2. Tell us briefly about Smartotels and FORM specifically Smartotels Hospitality International LLC is a UAE-based hotel real estate investment and full-service hospitality and asset management firm that provides a broad range of management services with a focus on developing and operating hotels under its unique proprietary hotel brands. FORM Hotel (FORM) is the flagship brand of Smartotels Hospitality International LLC. Its offering is based on a unique retailoperating model that empowers guests to customize their own stay by choosing the services and amenities that they value and desire from their hotel experience. Highly accessible, the brand aims to welcome hyper-connected travelers by empowering them to customize their personal journey via integrated brand obsessions, further enhanced by a range of curated add-on services, amenities and experiences. Guest journeys are punctuated by FORM’s five essential built-in offers: A custom-crafted luxury bed, walk-in high-pressure rain shower, complimentary high-speed WiFi, 49-inch HDTV with Google Chromecast and a complimentary balanced breakfast. Further complementing the essentials, FORM will provide a range of add-on features, curated to suit a range of tastes, varying from private yoga sessions, designer pyjamas and sneaker cleaning kits to curated art and foodie tours. 3. Which clientele does the brand cater to? FORM Hotel views its clients based on the way they consume rather than on their demographic. In other words, FORM does not look at age, income bracket or nationality, etc., rather values the hyperconnected, those that make purchasing decisions online, the hybrids, those that trade up in certain areas and trade down in others - for example, they would be happy to purchase an expensive handbag, but they don’t necessarily want to stay in a luxury hotel - and the bargain hunters; we live in a world of austerity where restraint is fun, i.e. we are always looking for a good deal, value is key. Further, design, wellbeing and collaboration with local communities are at the core of our ethos.

IN BRIEF Radisson Hotel Group launches at IHIF

Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group has announced its rebranding to Radisson Hotel Group. ‘Every Moment Matters’ will be the new signature service philosophy of the company and all its hotel brands. In conjunction with the alignment around the Radisson brand equity, the Radisson Hotel Group has restructured its brand architecture and redefined guest experience pillars to be implemented across all eight brands: (1) Brilliant Basics, (2) Memorable Moments, (3) Local Experience and (4) Feel at Ease. USD 1 billion integrated tourism complex coming to Oman

Quriyat Development Company (QDC), a joint venture between Omani groups Al Madina Real Estate Company and Space Gulf Company, has laid the foundation stone for an integrated tourism complex (ITC) in the sultanate which is worth nearly USD 1 billion, according to Trade Arabia. The tourist facilities include the setting up of 3, 4 and 5-star hotels housing a total of 750 rooms, as well as a nine-hole golf course. The project will be developed in three stages with five years for each stage. Over 40 hotels set to open in Morocco in the next three years

According to the Tophotelconstruction database, 10 new hotel projects will debut in Morocco in 2018. They will be followed by 11 in 2019, six in 2020, and 17 in 2021. Sixty-four percent of these projects fall into the luxury designation, while another 36 percent are considered to be first class. Key openings include the Ritz-Carlton Tamuda Bay, which is expected to be completed later in 2018, with 300 rooms. Swissotel Casablanca is another opening anticipated in Q3 2019, offering 300 rooms. One of the banner projects currently underway in Morocco is the Marina Resort Chbika. This project is slated to be complete by the second quarter of 2020 and will have 2,500 rooms. The latter resort has been master-planned to include three or more hotels, as well as 1,851 apartments and villas, a town center, a marina that has berths for 100 boats, a sports center, a spa, a medical center and what’s been described by many as a tournament-worthy golf course.

NAGATA Beirut - Mazraa - Makzoumi St. - Chatila Bldg. - Ground Floor Tel/Fax: +961 1 659697 - Tel: +961 1 662835 - -





Le Gray, Beirut has made it onto the list of 25 top luxury hotels in the Middle East to win TripAdvisor’s 2018 Travellers’ Choice Award. The award is the result of millions of reviews and opinions collected LUXURY HOTELS IN THE MIDDLE EAST during the year from TripAdvisor


Le Gray, Beirut has made it onto more than one list in the Middle East and in Lebanon in the categories of Luxury Hotels and Service. The hotel, which is the flagship of Campbell Gray Hotels and a member of the Leading Hotels of the World, has pole position on TripAdvisor, ranking 1 of 113 hotels in Lebanon. Georges Ojeil, GM of the hotel said, "Success isn't a destination, it is a journey, and this journey was one of the loveliest with a great team. Our achievement is a responsiblity and together we hope to keep up with our growing guests' high expectations. My aim from day one was to be the GM of the best hotel in Beirut and here is where we are today." The property opened in Beirut in 2009. In 2017, the hotel inaugurated new guestrooms complementing the existing accommodation. The extended lobby area underneath the atrium and its new Lobby Lounge provide a welcoming space, where guests can unwind with family and friends or catch up on work. The new facilities also include: The Boardroom, a large meeting venue; The Muse Room, a multi-function venue which is ideal for both business meetings and social gatherings; The Screening Room, a brand new 53-seat mini cinema with 4K projection and Dolby Atmos sound system; The Atrium, an exhibition and art venue at the heart of the central atrium; and Le Grand Salon, a 400 sqm banquet facility with a unique, dazzling led-light ceiling. In 2016, the company launched Campbell Gray Living, a luxury residential and office complex alongside Campbell Gray’s next luxury hotel in Amman, Jordan. The Phoenicia, Malta – Valletta’s iconic grand hotel – reopened as a Campbell Gray Hotel in Spring of 2017. The Machrie Hotel & Golf Links, Islay in Scotland is undergoing a full refurbishment to reopen in 2018 with a world-class golf links.‎

The Lobby Lounge

The Muse Room


The Foyer

Le Grand Salon


YEARS Premier Partner

ATM Means Business ÂŽ

Celebrating 25 years as the leading travel trade event in the Middle East Over 39,000 travel professionals attended ATM 2017 Meet more than 2,600 exhibitors under one roof Register today at

Official Partners






EGYPT’S THE MENA HOUSE REBRANDS Marriott Hotels has made a landmark debut, steps away from the Great Pyramids of Giza. The company announced the rebranding of the Mena House, a historic palace which has played host to kings and emperors. The hotel provides over 1,400 square meters of indoor meeting spaces. Number of rooms: 331

PARK INN BY RADISSON DEBUTS IN NAJRAN The upper midscale hotel brand announced the opening of its first hotel in Najran, Saudi Arabia. The hotel brings several F&B outlets, while its meetings and events space includes five modern meeting rooms spanning 180 square meters. The event space accommodates 50 attendees. Number of rooms: 113

RADISSON BLU OPENS FIFTH HOTEL IN JEDDAH Radisson Blu Hotel, Jeddah Corniche, features two separate health clubs for men and women, in addition to an outdoor swimming pool and F&B outlets. The meeting and events space includes a 280-squaremeter ballroom with a built-in stage. Number of rooms: 150

SWISSÔTEL OPENS ITS DOORS IN DUBAI Al Ghurair Properties has partnered with Swissôtel to inaugurate Swissôtel Al Ghurair and Swissôtel Living, embedded within Al Ghurair Centre, Deira. The luxury property is located within the Al Ghurair Centre Complex, one of the region’s first and most prominent shopping destinations. Number of rooms: 428 rooms, 192 apartments |

TWO NEW ROTANA PROPERTIES IN DUBAI Rotana has opened two properties on Dubai Creek: Al Bandar Rotana and Al Bandar Arjaan by Rotana. The project has five dining venues, a fitness center and six meeting and conference rooms. Number of rooms: 190 (Al Bandar Rotana), 90 serviced apartments (Al Bandar Arjaan)


ALOFT HOTEL DEBUTS IN DUBAI WITH PALM JUMEIRAH Marriott International announced the opening of the design-led Aloft Palm Jumeirah, the first Aloft to open in Dubai. The hotel rooms are equipped with SPG Keyless, the industry’s first truly mobile check-in system. Number of rooms: 206








STEIGENBERGER PURE LIFESTYLE IN HURGHADA TO OPEN THIS YEAR Plans are in place for the nine existing hotels in the country to be joined by the Steigenberger Pure Lifestyle in Hurghada from November 2018 onwards. The hotel will be positioned within the high-end, five-star lifestyle segment. Opening: November 2018

DUR HOSPITALITY SIGNS FRANCHISE AGREEMENT WITH IHG Dur Hospitality and IHG have recently announced the signing of a franchise agreement for Crowne Plaza Riyadh Palace. The property is currently operating as Riyadh Palace Hotel and will rebrand this summer. Opening: June 2018

INTERCITYHOTEL EXPANDS INTO KSA The IntercityHotel Riyadh Malaz is the company’s first move into the KSA. The hotel will feature a total of 86 rooms, including four suites, a restaurant and lounge, while several conference rooms will also be available, alongside sporting facilities including a gym and a roof-top pool. Opening: Before end of 2018


ROVE HOTELS TO DEBUT IN KSA Rove Hotels, a joint venture for Meraas and Emaar Properties PJSC, has announced its expansion into KSA with Rove King Abdullah Economic City - the first hotel under the contemporary, midscale lifestyle hotel brand outside the UAE. It will feature 240 rooms. Opening: Q4 2019



DRAW LINK GROUP ADDS AL FURJAN THREE-STAR HOTEL TO PORTFOLIO Al Furjan Hotel is a new brand of mid-market lifestyle hotel designed by Draw Link Group for Assass Investment, developed to support Dubai’s Tourism Vision 2020 initiative and World Expo 2020. The 3-star property will have 250 rooms. Opening: Q4 2018

DEBUT OF ZABEEL HOUSE BY JUMEIRAH HOTEL - THE GREENS IN DUBAI Jumeirah Group announced plans to operate a new hotel in Dubai under its Zabeel House by Jumeirah brand. Zabeel House by Jumeirah – The Greens, will be a 4-star property and will offer 210 guest rooms, two restaurants and business facilities, Opening: 2018

GUY DEGRENNE S.A. - R.C.S. Caen 342 100 120 - © Patrick Rougereau

Lebanon Office : Al Khatib Bldg. - Badaro Main Street - Beirut - Lebanon Tel : +961-1-395595 Qatar Office : AL Amir Street no.251 – Zone no.55 – Building no.125 P.O.BOX : 22403 DOHA Tel : +974-4434 0248 -




PEOPLE ON THE MOVE Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts has promoted Marc Descrozaille to president Middle East & Africa (MEA). He had joined the firm in 2017 as vice-president, operations Middle East & Africa, and will now take over at the helm from Andreas Mattmüller, who has retired from his role as COO, MEA. Descrozaille joined Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts from Carlson Rezidor, where he was area vice-president for the firm’s Africa & Indian Ocean operations.

Marriott International has appointed Marwan Fadel as the general manager of the St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi. Fadel has nearly two decades of hospitality experience across the Middle East. His appointment comes 18 months after he was made hotel manager of the same property.

With over 26 years of experience in the industry, George Ganchev is integrating the first property of Blazon Hotels brand in Ajman, UAE. In 2015, Ganchev took on the leadership of the Grand Hotel Kempinski Riga – preopening the first 5-star hotel in Latvia - before joining the Blazon Hotels line during the rebranding of Ajman Hotel in December 2017.

Nikki Beach Hotels & Resorts Dubai has appointed Hanna Azzi as its general manager. With extensive experience in pre-opening projects for major hotel groups in Dubai, Hanna brings more than 15 years of luxury lifestyle hotel experience to the Nikki Beach Resort on Pearl Jumeira.



Riviera Hotel Beirut has appointed Bassam Bou Sleiman as its general manager. He will be responsible for the hotel renovation in Q1 2018 and for the ongoing operation of Riviera Hotel & Beach Resort.

Taras Ettl has been named managing director of Steigenberger DMCC in Dubai. He has completed a six-year stint as vicepresident of development for Middle East and Africa at the InterContinental Hotels Group in Dubai.

Paramount Hotels & Resorts has appointed Alessandro Redaelli as the global vice president of operations. He will be responsible for implementing strategies to increase value creation in the organization. With over 25 years’ experience, Redaelli brings an in-depth understanding of the hospitality industry across the globe to his role.

Kerzner International Holdings, which owns the Atlantis Resort and Residences and One&Only Resorts brands worldwide, has appointed Michael P. Wale as its new CEO. Wale’s career with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide spanned almost 40 years and he was most recently president for Europe, Africa & Middle East.

Madinat Jumeirah, the Arabian Resort of Dubai operated by Jumeirah Hotels and Resorts, has appointed two new general managers to its senior leadership team. Azar Saliba moved from Jumeirah Al Qasr to Jumeirah Al Naseem in August last year. Taking Saliba’s place as general manager of Jumeirah Al Qasr and Dar Al Masyaf is Pinar Kartal Timer, who relocated to Dubai from the group’s former Istanbul property, Pera Palace Hotel, completing the resort leadership team.





IN BRIEF Virtual restaurant Project P in Dubai

Mohammed Alshaya, executive chairman of M.H. Alshaya Co. with Massimo Innocenti, Spontini executive chairman and founder Spontini, the Milan-based pizzeria, has signed an agreement with retail franchise operator M.H. Alshaya Co. to open restaurants across the Middle East and North Africa.“I’m proud that we’ll be able to offer diners in the MENA region a handmade pizza that will be prepared every day using the same recipe Spontini has been using since 1953, with the same Italian ingredients we use in our stores in Milan,” said Massimo Innocenti, Spontini executive chairman and founder of the brand. Spontini started out in 1953 under the name of ‘Cibi Cotti’, quickly becoming known for its simple and

inexpensive dishes from Tuscany’s traditional cuisine. It soon introduced the nowtypical slice of pizza and officially became ‘Spontini’, from the name of the street in which the original store is located. “We think Spontini will offer something unique and authentic to our discerning customer base,” said Mohammed Alshaya, executive chairman of M.H. Alshaya Co. “With its simple approach to handmade, quality pizza, and a strong sense of heritage and tradition, it will be an exciting addition to our portfolio of world-leading food brands.”


Project P, the brainchild of the Foodmark group, will offer a ‘onesize-fits-all’ deal – providing 13-inch gourmet pizzas for only AED 34 (USD 9) each, inclusive of VAT. A choice of three bases and five toppings from a selection of over 35 will make this concept one of the most cost-effective pizza delivery options in the region, available to order between 12 pm and 11 pm daily. Project P will be available exclusively on Uber Eats and will deliver to residents in the Dubai Marina, JLT and Discovery Gardens areas. MasterChef The TV Experience restaurant to debut in Dubai

Dubai-based property developer and fast-growing F&B specialist The First Group has signed a deal with Endemol Shine Group to bring the world’s first MasterChef the TV Experience restaurant to Dubai. Based on the popular MasterChef reality television series, the restaurant will introduce a world-first dining experience that will showcase the talents and recipes of series contestants from many of the 52 territories where the program is produced worldwide. It is set to launch in The First Group’s forthcoming Wyndham West Bay Dubai Marina Hotel, which is scheduled to open in the second half of 2018. Abd El Wahab hits London

Ghia Holding, a Lebanese company that creates, launches and operates F&B concepts, has debuted Abd El Wahab, its Lebanese restaurant in London, UK, in partnership with Lebanese businessman, Thomas Rizkallah. The restaurant is located in Belgravia, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. The outlet, which is directly operated and managed by Ghia Holding, spans a ground floor which can host 100 guests. The Chalhoub Group, the leading partner for luxury across the Middle East, has brought Alice Pizza to the region. The group started its F&B division two years ago, with Alice Pizza marking its newest venture. Rome’s authentic pizzeria ‘al taglio’ (by slice), Alice Pizza opened its doors at La Mer, Dubai’s trendy beachfront development in January. With more than 140 locations in Italy, it will be the first Middle East outlet for the casual eatery, where founder Domenico Giovannini uses a patented technique that involves giving the pizza dough a 48-hour rise with a



limited amount of yeast. The result is a light and digestible pizza crust that will leave you wanting more than one slice. With a selection of up to 20 authentic Italian recipes, Alice Pizza also introduces the concept of sliced pizza by weight. In fact, according to the Roman tradition, pizza should be cut according to the customer’s instructions, then weighed and tasted, rather than sold in slices. In this way, each customer gets to choose the type of slice they want and its size, allowing foodies to explore the menu.

Couqley comes out on top

Couqley French Bistro & Bar in Dubai has been awarded the Best French Restaurant in 2017/18 at the Zomato Restaurant Awards. The Dubai event brought together more than 500 restaurateurs and F&B professionals in the emirate on January 29, 2018. All of Dubai’s top F&B establishments were nominated across the different dining categories, with Couqley coming out on top in its category.

BELCOLADE CHOCOLATE NIGHT Baabda, Lebanon, April 4 2018 – Bano has celebrated Belcolade chocolate night for the 4th time since its foundation at the Belgian Ambassador’s residence in the presence of His Excellency Mr. Alex Lenaerts, Ambassador of Belgium, Puratos ME group and Bano’s esteemed customers. The celebration of the real Belgian chocolate included two major announcements revealing Bano’s appreciation to all of its attendees. A word by the CEO Mr. Mohamad Hashwi launching the Belcoldae Origin Chocolate characterized by three new chocolate series of Vietnam 73% Dark chocolate, Peru 64% Dark Chocolate, Vietnam 45% Milk Chocolate.

Another word followed by His Excellency Mr. Lenaerts stating the importance of the Belgian Chocolate and Honoring Mr. Walid EL Dana, Puratos Commercial Manager of Middle East and Africa, with a royalty medal “Officier De L’ordre La Couronne” for his 25 years of presence and efforts in this field.





Oliver Zeitoun Driven to pursue his life-long passion, Oliver Zeitoun, co-founder of Maki Group, walked out on a successful career in advertising to try his hand at the restaurant business. Investing his life’s savings, he partnered with his brother Amer and opened Kuwait’s first ‘hole-in-the-wall’ Maki restaurant, which soon became the country’s hippest spot for lovers of contemporary Japanese cuisine. Zeitoun introduced many exotic ingredients, until then unknown to Japanese cuisine,

Maki Salhia

from extra virgin olive oil, which his family produced in Lebanon, to filo pastry, balsamic vinegar, Moroccan truffles, and wild and processed thyme, soon garnering the admiration of the regional palate. “More than a decade on, Maki Group now operates seven sizeable restaurants in Kuwait, Bahrain and the UK,” Zeitoun explained. Having garnered many accolades and honors along the way, the co-founder was recently included in the Middle East

Power 50 by a leading, regional culinary organization. Maki even hosted the Chaine des Rotisseurs dinners in all three markets in which it operates, accomplishing a feat unequaled by any other non-hotel-based restaurant. Expansion plans are on the horizon and though the existing outlets are company owned, franchise opportunities are available in the Middle East.

SANDWICH W NOSS ON NEW GROUND Chapter 2 SAL, a Beirut-based company specialized in consultancy, development and management of F&B outlets, whose portfolio includes brands such as Sandwich w Noss, FABRK urban lounge and El Denye Hek café, is going from strength to strength. Since its inception, its popular F&B outlets have garnered tremendous attention from wouldbe investors, with further expansion now in the pipeline, as Rony Abou Saab, the firm’s CEO explained. “We started to franchise Sandwich w Noss in February 2018 to the GCC, which is our primary market,” he said. “However, our long-term aspiration is to open in London

Rony Abou Saab



and New York. Furthermore, we have received franchise requests from African and Asian countries, which we are considering.” He added that while brand owners tend to increase their profitability over the short term, the company had instead adopted a longterm strategy and reduced its fee to USD 30,000 per branch. “On a different note, and despite the fact that the F&B industry is a very tricky one with plenty of pitfalls and very low margins, we are nonetheless developing a new brand and waiting for the right time to launch it,” Abou Saab said.








Opened December 31, 2017 Owner Semiramis InterContinental Cairo Head chef Harish Tiwari Covers 60 Average price/person USD 25 Typical dishes Fried Yogurt, Chicken, Seafood Or Lamb Biryani, Dahl And Beetroot Fudge Address Semiramis InterContinental Cairo

Opened October 2017 Owner Semiramis InterContinental Cairo Head chef Raoul Castro Covers 20 Average price/person USD 25 Typical dishes Sashimi Salad, Duck & Dragon Roll, Crunchy Prawns Roll, Unagi Address Semiramis InterContinental Cairo

LEBANON ARTS Opened December 17, 2017 Owner Selim Ghanem, Architect Gregory Gatserelia, Mixologist Mike Kassabian, Covers 100 Average price/person USD 60 with alcohol Typical dishes Yuzu Marinated Salmon, Sriracha Glazed Chicken, Beef Tataki, Truffle Risotto Address 11th floor, G1 Building, Naccache



Opened February 2018 Owner(s) Georges Barbour, Elie Barbour, Jean Barbour Total Investment USD 440, 000 Culinary Director Chef Jean Barbour Covers 72 Average price/person USD 18 Typical Dishes Lebanese & Mediterranean Mezza, Roasted Kharouf, Grills & Plat Du Jour Address Gouraud Street, Gemayzeh facebook/cuisineemgeorges

Opened January 26, 2018 Owner(s) Nadim Fakhry, Houda Fakhry, Sophia Fakhry, Tarek Fakhry, Karim Fakhry Executive chef Georges Dakkak Covers 110 Average price/person USD 40 Typical dishes Skewers, Sandwiches and Le George Burger Address Damascus Road-Museum District, Beirut



MAYRIG Mayrig stands for Armenian cuisine, family ties, friendship and generous hospitality. It is about a feeling of belonging, of home-coming and sharing. Opens June 2018 Owner Event Group LLC Karen Gheghamyan Total investment USD 800,000 Head chef Elie Merhi Covers 150 Average price/person USD 50 Typical dishes Mante, Sou Beureg, Fishna Kebab Address A. Kochinyan Street, Yerevan


Opened February 10, 2018 Owner(s) Elie Ishkhanian, Taline Ishkhanian, Shant Kulbashian, Armen Arevian Total investment USD 230,000 Covers 50 Average price/person USD 25 Typical dishes Manti, Soubeureg, Lahm ajin, Kabab Karaz, Khashkhash, Ourfali Address Abdelwahab El Inglizi, Achrafieh facebook/NourBeirutLb

Spice up your morning with your favorite cup of coffee.

Top it off with the best happy hour experience.

For more informarion: T +961 1 497 037

Have dinner with the finest Tex-Mex and Latin cuisine in the region


End your evening with a nightcap on a splendid terrace overlooking Beirut.






Opened November 2017 Head chef Nicola Fontolan under the direction of David Myers Covers 135 Average price/person USD 80-100 for a threecourse meal for two Typical dishes Bistecca Fiorentina, Spinach Tagliatelle Bolognese, Pizza with Ricotta Address Renaissance Downtown Hotel, Dubai

Opened November 2017 Executive chef Alexandre Szkaradkiewicz under the direction of David Myers Covers 146 Average price/person USD 130-160 for threecourse meal for two Typical dishes Salt Baked Beets with Pine Nut Beurre Noissette & Crispy Kale Address Renaissance Downtown Hotel, Dubai

Opened March 2018 Owner Bulldozer Group Brand chef Vladimir Mukhin Covers 175 Average price/person USD 165 for two Typical dishes Crabs - including Kamchatka Crab Address Emirates Financial Towers, North Tower, 15th Floor, DIFC, Dubai




Opened February 14, 2018 Owner Fahad Enany Head chef Jonas Ribiero Covers 483 Average price/person USD 109 with alcohol, USD 95 without alcohol Typical dish Picanha – the signature cut of Brazil Address Central Park Towers in DIFC, Dubai

Opened December 2017 Owner Rizwan Kassim Executive chef Gilles Bosquet (France) Covers 90 Average price USD 80-100 Typical dishes Smoked Patlican Soup, Sardine Kwirat, Braised Monkfish, Almond Kunafeh Address Jumeirah Emirates Towers, DIFC, Dubai

Opened January 31, 2018 Owner M.H. Alshaya Co. is the franchisee in the MENA Executive chef Brandon Everett Covers 247 Average price/person 94 AED Typical dishes Steaks, Chicken, Seafood, Burgers and Sandwiches Address La Mer, North Entrance, Dubai

UK ABD EL WAHAB RESTAURANT Abd El Wahab offers a unique oriental experience featuring a menu of traditional Lebanese food. Opened March 1, 2018 Owner Ghia Holding Total investment USD 2.5 million Executive chef Kamil Bouloot



Covers Restaurant: 110 / Cigar lounge: 30 Average price/person GBP 35-45 Typical dishes Hommos, Tabbouleh, Mixed Grill Address 1 Pont Street, SW1X9EJ












Crafted by ranchers across the United States of America and proven to satisfy the heartiest of appetites, U.S. beef is a nutrient-rich and safe food. From cow-calf operations to feedlots, pastures to packing plants, it takes a team of specialists to bring the most flavorful and tender beef from pasture to plate.





CYNTHIA BITAR, YOUSSEF AKIKI AND PIERRE ABI HAYLA MAKE UP THE FIRST DELEGATION OF DISCIPLE ESCOFFIER LEBANON CHAPTER Three Lebanese culinary stars - Chefs Cynthia Bitar, Youssef Akiki and Pierre Abi Hayla - were selected to be included in the first delegation of the Disciple Escoffier Lebanon. The Disciples d’Auguste Escoffier were created in 1954 by Jean Ducroux, a kitchen chef in Nice and former cook of Auguste Escoffier. Since there were no other professional associations in existence at that time in the south of France, Ducroux had the idea of gathering together the kitchen chefs working in the region’s luxury hotels.

Pierre Abi Hayla, Cynthia Bitar, Roger Tabet, Mario Vino, Youssef Akiki and Bernard Louis

Cuisine’. Today, the International Disciples Escoffier numbers over 30,000 members in the world, including 2,000 in France. The Lebanese chefs told HN that the disciple status has brought professional recognition from their colleagues on the local and the international scenes. Together, in line with their role, they have vowed to transmit, to serve and to honor the cuisine, its culture and its permanent evolution. Sharing knowledge and respecting the culinary heritage are key characteristics of the


A decision was made during the first Magisterial Council to hold an induction, scarf and a cassolette ceremony which still takes place today. The first chapter was held at the beginning of the 1960s, under the presidency of Eugène Herbodeau, who had worked with Escoffier and published a book on him, together with Paul Thalamas, one of his close friends. Both had been pupils and literary executors of Maitre Escoffier. The title of International Disciples Escoffier was adopted during the executive board meeting and the general assembly on February 3, 2008, paving the way for the association to become well defined as an ‘Association for transmission, culture and modernity of

Escoffiers, the chefs said. Their objectives are to organize gastronomic events, to distinguish people who serve great French cuisine and to promote cooking as a career of choice. According to the chefs, the Lebanese chapter will revitalize the standards of cooking professionals and will work to further boost the value of that profession. They will also work toward boosting exports of Lebanese cuisine beyond borders.


© Images by

The world’s largest food innovation exhibition

7,200 exhibitors from 109 countries 100% worldwide food retail industry

SIAL, a subsidiary of Comexposium Group



For any question, contact our agent : Promosalons Middle East Tel +966 12 6682689

More than 2,500 innovative products submitted

W W W. S I A L PA R I S . C O M #SIALParis



ELIAS M. FEGHALI RANKED AS 'COMMANDER OF THE ORDER OF LEOPOLD II' H.M. King Philippe of Belgium has honored and recognized EMF Middle East chairman, Elias Feghali, with the rank of Commander. The order is awarded for meritorious service to the sovereign of Belgium. Officials, friends and special guests from Belgium joined the Feghali family in celebrating the honor. Feghali thanked The Belgian Ambassador to Lebanon, Alex Linares, and asked him to convey his deepest gratitude to His Majesty King Philippe for bestowing upon him this high distinction. He vowed to live up to his gift of merit and pledged to continue working for the economic and cultural rapprochement between Belgium and Lebanon as they are both dear to his heart. He also shared with those present that he had the privilege of meeting SM King Philippe of Belgium who, then Crown Prince, showed him great generosity by sponsoring the opening of EMF offices in Abu Dhabi and was present during the signing of the EMF and Barry Callebaut, Prefamac partnership in Riyadh. Feghali thanked those present for their precious collaboration by quoting Antoine de Saint-

IN BRIEF New crop-growing method in Abu Dhabi

Exupéry, "I have no hope of putting an end to my solitude, a stone has no hope of being anything but stone, but by collaborating, with all its strength and beauty, it assembles itself and becomes a temple.”

Pegasus Food Futures showcased its pioneering hydroponic farming capability, which involves growing plants without soil and using mineral nutrient solutions in a water solvent, at the Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture, held in Abu Dhabi. Hydroponic farming is an innovative system that uses up to 90 percent less water than conventional farming and less land, producing high yields of sustainably good quality, reasonably priced crops. Farms in arid areas, such as the GCC countries, can make the most of the long hours of sunlight, helping to provide the region with crops and reducing reliance on expensive imports. In 2017, Pegasus Food Futures acquired farms in Abu Dhabi, Ras-Al-Khaimah and two sites in Portugal. US cold brew wine

CHATEAU KEFRAYA’S WINNING SPIRIT To celebrate the outstanding and record rating of 93/100 that Château Kefraya COMTE DE M 2012 was awarded by Robert Parker, (nicknamed the ‘Wine Pope’), a vertical tasting was held at Sursock Museum Resto in Beirut. Technical director and oenologist at Château Kefraya, Fabrice Guiberteau, revealed some of the key factors behind the brand’s 2012 success, explaining, “COMTE DE M is the result of precision and the choice of ‘microterroirs’ within the same plot of land. This particular vintage perfectly embodies and expresses Château Kefraya vision, proof that it is possible to make an entirely new wine that belongs to some of the world’s greatest in the same category.” Wine specialist, M.Sc. agroeconomist and owner of the Wine Teller, Najib Moutran, lent further insight on the matter,



Apothic, a wine brand known for challenging convention through its innovative blends, created a one-ofa-kind wine infused with cold brew coffee labeled Apothic Brew that hit shelves on April 1. The drink can be served either at room temperature or slightly chilled. Utilizing more coffee grounds than traditional coffee and requiring a significantly longer and more delicate steep, cold brew coffee is much smoother than its warmer counterparts. Cold brew's smooth texture and supple flavors come from the brew's temperature, which doesn't bring out bitter components of coffee grounds like hot water can. The result is a taste that captures the smooth mouth feel and velvety chocolate notes of cold brew with the juicy blackberry characteristics of a dark red wine. HOBART wins DANUBIUS GASTRO award

saying, “This particular vintage is the result of a beautifully-balanced and richly-concentrated wine that came from grape vines over 50 years old, which is where the real aging process actually begins. It is a wine that has tremendous potential and holds great promise.”

HOBART enjoyed success at the international trade show DANUBIUS GASTRO 2018, held in Bratislava, Slovakia, clinching the event’s namesake award. In the equipment category, the world market leader for commercial warewashing won over the jurors with its PREMAX AUP hood-type dishwasher which combines efficient warewashing with operating comfort and low-operating costs.



IN BRIEF Bycop, building a healthier future

Following its success in the US, Singapore, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, Rotimatic, the first automatic flatbread-making robot, is set for launch in the Middle East. Rotimatic is an Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled invention in the field of kitchen robotics that automates the flatbread-making process. “Rotimatic was designed to solve a basic problem,” Pranoti Nagarkar, inventor, cofounder and CTO of Zimplistic Pte. Ltd said. “Twenty-five percent of the world’s population eats flatbread. It has to be eaten fresh and making it at home is tedious and requires specialized skill, so people have to resort to frozen, unhealthy alternatives, or stop eating flatbread. As a

mechanical engineer, I decided to change this.” The solution proved to be the fully automatic, home-use, robotic, future-proof, IoT-enabled Rotimatic. Nagarkar explained that the process of making flatbreads has changed dramatically. “With industrialization and real estate prices soaring, traditional bakeries have not been able to sustain themselves and buying habits have moved to supermarkets, with people buying pre-packaged and frozen food,” he said. “This applies to the Middle East as well. With Rotimatic, we are reversing the process. We are empowering people to eat healthily and fresh in their homes.”

Gary Nazarian, general manager of Bycop, a leading Lebanese manufacturer, importer, exporter and distributor of home textiles in the Middle East and GCC, launched in 1974, has just entered the medical industry, offering various institutions superior quality products. As part of broader plans to expand the company’s offering, the new medical line now includes uniforms, gowns, caps, masks, covers, laundry bags, and blankets and towels. The line is geared toward hospitals, laboratories, clinics and also pharmacies. Commenting, Nazarian said, “The diversity of our products helps these establishments to meet their needs and accomplish their mission easily. We have access to the best raw materials in the market, which allows us to produce longlasting hygienic bed and bath linen. In addition, we always work directly with medical institutions, as we believe that providing an excellent customer service with high quality products is a win-win situation for building a healthy relationship.”





HORECA WRAPS UP ITS 25TH EDITION HORECA, the annual meeting place for the hospitality and foodservice industries, celebrated the end of its magnificent 25th edition on March 23 at Beirut’s Seaside Arena. With more than 25 daily events, forums and competitions, the show triumphed in gathering top industry players from around the globe

Local and International chefs at the official opening

The official opening of HORECA Lebanon was held on March 20 under the patronage of Lebanon’s Minister of Tourism, H.E. Avedis Guidanian. The ceremony brought together 14 of the country’s leading chefs, who created unique dishes from traditional Lebanese ingredients. During the opening, five Lebanese pastry-shop owners were honored for their pivotal role in elevating Lebanese cuisine. The recipients were: Amal Bohsali, Hallab Qasr el Helou 1881, Al Baba Sweets, Douaihy and Rafaat Hallab. More than 350 exhibitors from countries including Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Hungary, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Nigeria, Turkey, Spain, Syria, UAE and the USA showcased the latest in food and beverage products, catering equipment, packaging and labeling, and more.

"Food is an Art" exhibition by Nicolas Audi

HORECA hosted a number of exciting events such as the Annual Hospitality Forum, Hospitality Salon Culinaire, the Junior Chef Competition, the Lebanese Barista Competition, the Lebanese Bartenders Competition, the Bed Making Competition, the Art of Service Competition, Atelier Gourmand and the National Extra Virgin Olive Oil Contest. There were a number of new spaces highlighting art, design and innovations. The “Food is an Art” exhibition by Nicolas Audi featured 25 drawings from the renowned chef and caterer, while Bleu Design Consultants’ “Room for Design” showcased the work of 10 Lebanese designers in a contemporary guestroom setting. Elsewhere, Berytech, the ecosystem for entrepreneurs and Agrytech, Lebanon’s agri-food innovation hub, highlighted seven of their startups. Managing director of Hospitality Services, Joumana Dammous-Salamé said: “HORECA is a superb platform for people to meet, do business and shape the future of the industry. We are thrilled to have reached this 25-year milestone: it proves that Lebanon is a true leader in hospitality and foodservices.” Opening ceremony in the presence of H.E. Avedis Guidanian and other dignitaries

Discussion on Lebanese cuisine at the Annual Hospitality Forum

Honoring ceremony for the first HORECA exhibitors



Official meeting with President of the Republic of Lebanon Michel Aoun

Nicolas Audi awarded as an honorary member of l'AcadĂŠmie Nationale de Cuisine

Official visit by H.E. Raed Khoury

Official visit to the French ambassador's residence

French chefs and the French ambassador Bruno Foucher at the Atelier Gourmand

Lebanese Barista Competition winner Emma Sade, Urbanista

Bed Making Competition

Winners of the National Extra Virgin Olive Oil Contest



Art of Service Competition jury

Gold medal winner Rita Chayban, American University Of Technology (Prunelle Junior Sandwich Competition)

Gold medal winner Georges Nohra, Le Royal Hotel Beirut (Cold Platter of Fish Competition)

Olive oil workshop with Abdallah Khodor

Junior Bed Making Competition winners

Worldchefs' judging seminar

Gold Club Lounge designed by Rana Salam



Panel discussion on beach clubs at the Annual Hospitality Forum

Hospitality Salon Culinaire closing ceremony

Winners of the Lebanese Bartenders Competition

"Room for Design" curated by Bleu Design Consultants

Panel discussion on new trends in F&B at the Annual Hospitality Forum

MEREF stand

Art of Service Competition winners

Mark your calender for the next edition of

HORECA Lebanon 2-5 April 2019 Seaside Arena - Beirut





A RECORD-BREAKING SIGEP The 2018 International Trade Show of Artisan Gelato, Pastry, Bakery and the Coffee World once again gave a great stimulus to the Italianmade confectionery sector, a consistent part of the country’s agri-food export, which had reached 40 billion euros by the end of 2017. Now in its 39th edition and taking place at Rimini Expo Centre, the show’s key events were the Coppa del Mondo of Gelateria (Gelato World Cup) and The Pastry Queen, with the ladies’ world pastry championship accolade awarded to France’s Anabelle Lucantonio. Attendees were also treated to an extraordinary series of events across all the product chains, under the banner of innovation and specialist training. France’s team, led by Elie J.H. Cazaussus, won the Gold medal at the Coppa del Mondo of Gelateria 2018. Cazaussus, together with fellow team members Benoit Chervet, Christophe

Domange, Jean-Thomas Scheider and Rémi Montagne participated with creations on the theme Moulin Rouge in eight tests of gelato, pastry, culinary arts and ice sculptures. The second classification of Silver medal went to Spain, whose team chose the theme Merlin - The Wizard. The team was led by Guillem Jordi and comprised Adolfo Javier Romero

Rodriguez, Miguel Angel Señoris Leiva, Jose Manuel Candela and Marc Balanguer Fabra. In third place came Australia, winning the Bronze medal. The team, led by Martino Piccolo and made up of Andre Sandison, Thomas Mitchell, Donato Toce and Kenji Ogawa, selected Star Wars as its theme.

overall consumer spending is set to drop from 8.5 percent of GDP to eight percent by 2030 as products become relatively more affordable and make up a smaller proportion of overall consumer spending.”

as modern retail expands supported by a developing cold chain infrastructure for fresh, chilled and processed foods. Internet retailing and strong national logistics mean consumers can easily and cheaply buy products not easily accessible in local retailers. Health concerns around obesity are shaping strong and growing interest in natural and traditional ingredients.

GULFOOD 2018 Gulfood global industry outlook report says Middle East and Africa to deliver ‘strongest’ growth for global F&B industry to 2021 The independent report commissioned by Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) for the 23rd edition of Gulfood 2018, paints an optimistic yet challenging picture for industry growth, citing a billion extra consumers with growing disposable incomes to enter the market place by 2030 and evolve buying trends across all regions. “The findings show that with a rapidly growing and highly urbanized population, demand across the globe for processed and packaged food and beverages is set to increase,” explained Trixie LohMirmand, senior vice president, exhibitions & events, DWTC. “Yet while there are more consumers to go around,

Key region trends The Middle East & Africa: Cold chain services are changing MEA consumer choices, as frozen processed halal meat and poultry, cold drinks and flavored milks increase in popularity. Foodservice is also growing, with the entry of many international chains influencing in-home consumption of more traditionally western food choices. Demand for portable bottled water is expanding in major cities particularly in the UAE and Saudi Arabia due to the high number of visitors and pilgrims. While young consumers, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, have adopted mobile and internet-based services as the key channel to communicate with brands and delivery services. Asia Pacific: Packaged food sales are growing,

Europe, Australasia and North America: In these mature markets, media and national campaigns, regulation and unsubstantiated packaging claims are challenging consumers’ buying decisions. Increasing label scrutiny underlies most consumer choice, as they search for natural, healthsupportive ingredients with local sourcing and low processing. Online services are well established, but consumers still like to look, feel and test new products in local retailers. Consideration of the long-term health and environmental impact of shopping behavior is now strongly engrained. Latin America: The traditional grocery sector remains significant outside Brazil and Chile, despite the rapid adoption of mobile apps for purchasing. Warehouses, discounters and private labels respond quickly to the needs of price-sensitive consumers, but amid persistent economic uncertainty, young or employed consumers are eager to try new products and are willing to pay for this indulgence. Sugar taxes in Mexico and other markets have changed the ingredient profile of many products; manufacturers are tweaking formulations to offer new flavors, hybrid and soy-based drinks in smaller pack sizes, in response to growing consumer awareness of health concerns.





GRIF 2018 The Global Restaurant Investment Forum (GRIF) 2018 was hosted by Palazzo Versace Dubai with over 300 senior industry professionals in attendance. HN editor, Annie Keropian-Dilsizian, covers the business issues that matter most The three-day conference focused on global trends and regional consumer data impacting the F&B industry, as well as strategies for growth and successful restaurant development and investment. Several key trends dominated the conversation, ranging from the different business models available for expansion, the use of technology to maximize customer loyalty and protecting intellectual property (IP) to the importance of investing in talent and focusing F&B businesses around people.

1. Operational costs How to maximize the bottom line against increasing operational costs was the topic at one of the sessions. This key issue was explored by Aku Patel, managing director at Paperchase Accountancy, a financial accounting firm focusing exclusively on profit optimization for hospitality brands, working with ownership and management to achieve results through daily and weekly reporting with controlments through daily operations, controls and efficiency refinement.

Sensitivity is key The conversation at the table looked at developing effective budgets, the need for investors to properly understand the costs of operating an F&B venue and the importance of handling cost control sensitively. “Any cutbacks should not have an impact on customer experience and satisfaction,” warned Patel. “Making cuts purely for commercial reasons is absolutely valid, but the feel of the customer

experience in a successful business has to be kept in mind.” Patel added that the conversation with the venue’s designers needed to begin well before the opening, giving consideration to all operational items, to ensure that the business wasn’t burdened with unnecessarily high ongoing daily costs. He also reminded operators, however, not to underestimate the value that key elements add to the guest experience. Sacrificing the quality of the cutlery, plates, glasses and napkins for cheaper alternatives might seem like a solid financial decision, for example, but if they don’t do the job properly it will inevitably end up costlier in the long term. Likewise, forgoing decorative elements, such as candles or flowers, which need regular investment, but make a substantial difference to the ambience, could also impact operations over time, Patel cautioned.

Patel’s top cost-saving tips: • Search the market for better value, but similar quality, alternatives: This is certainly an area where savings can be justified. I have seen some venues with beautiful linen napkins that look and feel amazing, but have special, high-maintenance laundry requirements, affecting cleaning, ironing and durability. • Consider your glassware and protect it: Do you really need such high-quality glassware? Will your guests even notice or appreciate it? It’s true, however, that better



quality items are typically more resistant to breakage. My recommendation, therefore, is to invest in the right bar set-up from the outset to reduce breakages. The simple addition of rubber mats can make all the difference to daily running costs. • Add magnetic latches to bins: It sounds simple, but it really does help ensure cutlery isn’t accidentally thrown away. Replacing it can be costly and is easily avoided. • Functional menu design: Whilst you want the menu to make an impact, it doesn’t have to be to the detriment of functionality. Right from the start, think about the choice of paper and if the size

or finish can be delivered in-house. If so, it will save a lot of money in the long run, especially if the menu is changed regularly. It also gives the operations team more control over last-minute menu changes. • Controls – checking par levels, quantity receipts and returns: Managing stock levels effectively will enable you to keep on top of costs on an ongoing basis. • Better equipment to expedite work: Invest in the right equipment from the outset and it will save a lot of headaches – and money – in the long run. Choose equipment carefully, especially, but not exclusively, when it comes to the big

tickets items, and think about the longterm gains in terms of man hours when considering return on investment (ROI). • Training where appropriate: It should go without saying that empowering your team with the skills, knowledge and equipment they need to do their jobs well is paramount, helping to ensure that they are able to use the tools provided efficiently and avoid waste. However, don’t forget to educate them on all aspects of the job; for example, when clearing guest tables or their stations, do staff know which products to use and how to use them?

2. Intellectual property Isabelle Leroux, senior counsel at global law firm Dentons, focused on how to go about protecting your IP both domestically and in international markets and what happens if someone copies your concept or logo. On a worldwide basis, trademark, design, patent and copyright have the same meaning, same definitions and same kind of protection; the main difference between countries is the cost/price of such registration rights, which vary, for example, from USD 50 in Iran to USD 3,500 in the UAE for one trademark in one category of goods or services.If you want to launch a new restaurant concept, before doing anything else, you must identify your brand.

What to do? First, find at least four or five names which could be your mark/brand, then carry out trademark, domain name and company name searches on them to identify at least one that’s available in your main markets. Then you can think about your logo and have a worldwide copyright assigned to it from the author (individual or company). Next, protect your concept, keeping in mind

the different IP rights you can play with. Then file or take the necessary measures to be able to defend your right where you need to be protected. Beside IP rights, there are also other alternative means of protection available, such as the signing of non-disclosure agreements or the protection conferred on know-how or trade secrets.

Where do you need to be protected? The geographical scope of IP protection will depend on two main factors:

Intellectual property rights Instruments of protection

What to protect


Inventions – such as a patented cooking process

Trademarks and geographical origins

Such as words, logos, devices and sounds


External appearance (2D or 3D), such as menus and bespoke equipment


Any creative works: Recipes Literary and artistic works (such as books and other writings, musical compositions, paintings, sculpture, packaging, logotypes and photography) Computer programs

Rights related to copyrights

Rights of performers (including actors, singers and musicians) Producers of phonograms (sound recordings) Broadcasting organizations


Compilations of data

• Where you use or plan to use your IP in the coming five years • Where you run the risk of being copied However, scope of protection will vary dramatically depending on your budget. Finally, you are given your registration.

What happens if you’re copied? Registration of IP rights grants the owners the exclusive right to prevent others from using that IP without their consent. Under many IP laws, the owner can take action against another’s use of a mark, design or copyright, where the sign is identical OR there is a likelihood of confusion with the IP right. There are several possibilities for taking action against such infringement in all countries worldwide, mainly civil actions, but in some cases, criminal ones. In the UAE, as in all civil law countries, it is possible to take: • Civil action: such as attachment proceedings and action for compensation for damages. • Administrative action: such as making a complaint to the Municipality or Department of Economic Development (DED) or Dubai Customs. • Criminal action: before the local police or public prosecutor. • Anti-counterfeiting online: if there is a connection with an online infringement and an entity or an individual based in the UAE, it can bring a court action against such infringement. APR-MAY 2018 | HOSPITALITY NEWS ME




3. Overview of Dubai’s restaurant landscape Key findings from founder and CEO of Insignia Worldwide, Guarav Sinha’s session on Insignia Worldwide’s F&B Trendlines report on the GCC, unveiled at GRIF 2018 DELIVERING SATISFACTION • Worldwide, food delivery represents nearly 4 percent of the total food sold through restaurants and fast-food chain. • The growth in smartphone usage is set to grow by 30 percent year on year and, by 2020, QSRs will earn 10 percent of sales coming exclusively from smartphones, at which point, the global mobile food ordering is expected to reach USD 38 billion. • Pizza remains the region’s favorite home delivery category. • In Saudi Arabia, 100 percent home delivery/take away pizza remained the dominant category in 2016, while non-pizza categories had a negligible presence. CONSCIENTIOUS CONSUMPTION • Consumers are driving the demand for organic, natural choices for F&B with 77 percent of respondents citing “eating healthy during the week” or “having become more health-conscious” or “always eating healthy foods”. • Governments of both UAE and KSA have taken steps that favor healthier dining. By the end of 2018, restaurants in KSA have to provide nutritional information on their menus. At nearly 11 percent, UAE is the second-fastestgrowing vegan market between 2015 and 2020, behind only China. • Juice and smoothie bars, perceived to be “healthy” saw a growth of 6 percent in 2016, with chained juice/smoothie bars driving this segment at 15 percent. CULINARY MICRO DISTRICTS • Location and distance is still very important. 63 percent of our survey respondents said they don’t mind travelling more than 20 minutes to eat out. • In the UAE, there is a growing desire for closer-to-home convenience, resulting in the creation of “culinary micro districts”. About 10 percent of diners quoted in the Insignia survey said the reason for not dining out was because there was nothing nearby. THE GROWTH OF MALL DINING • As more space is proportioned to F&B operators to draw customers into a mall a remarkable 48 percent of overall value sales was accounted from F&B operations in 2016.



• Malls present unique challenges, like higher rents and inflated costs in premium malls that hit the bottom line. The merits of operating in premium malls, however, include brand exposure and higher footfall. • At 52 percent, Riyadh is the favorite market for GCC expansion for F&B businesses, followed by Jeddah and Doha. FIVE STAR DINING • The trend of pulling crowds to celebrity chef restaurants is fading as nearly 71 percent of respondents felt they were overrated. • At over 13 percent, CAGR for branded hotels, KSA is the hottest destination for a growing population and increasingly seeking sophisticated dining options. Among them, Asian full-service restaurants were the most dynamic in CAGR growth terms in 2016.

• Instagram has outpaced Facebook in the rate of new-user registrations globally. This means restaurateurs now have to create superior imagery experiences that are suited for the social media environment. The most popular hashtags related to food on Instagram in 2017 were, #FOODIE, #CLEANEATING, #PALEO etc. • 34 percent of diners between 18 and 24 years use their mobile as a surrogate dining companion. FUTUROLOGY THE SHAPE OF FOOD TO COME • The F&B market sector in the GCC states is predicted to continue to grow at 7.1 percent annually, reaching USD 196 billion by 2021, (up from USD 130 billion), according to research company MENA Research Partners.

REGIONAL FLAVORS • GCC represents unique challenges to investors and F&B operators including expensive setup costs, outdated procedures and limited local partner choices and excessive visa fees for staff.

• Kuwait is the third-largest F&B market in the region, but set to grow the fastest at 9.6 percent.

• Five percent of developers own over 87 percent of the available mall stock of 3.2 million sqm GLA. 15 percent of retailers operate over 90 percent of the international brands.

• There is a growing narrative of consumers drawn towards healthy eating choices, as per Mintel, between 2012 and 2016, there has been a 25 percent increase in vegetarian claims and a 257 percent rise in vegan claims in new products.

• KSA has recorded the fastest growth in the F&B sector at over eight percent in the last four years. This trend is likely to continue over the next four years. The Middle East sees an increase in spend, with average annual growth of 7.4 percent between 2006 and 2016. EVERY CUSTOMER IS A CRITIC • Traditional media channels like PR and print are fading as social media is increasingly becoming a medium to connect and engage with potential diners.

• There is strong favoring toward restaurants that showcase local foods and use indigenous food.

• KSA is targeting 30 million visitors by 2030 and toward this intends to invest over USD 40 billion in annual tourism. With a slew of hotel investments announced in the country, the dining scene in KSA is set to receive a significant boost. The full report is available to purchase online at





22 - 25 April APRIL

16 - 19 SPAIN ALIMENTARIA Alimentaria Exhibitions 17 - 19 DUBAI AHIC Meed 18 - 19 LEBANON BIFEX Lebanese Franchise Association 22 - 25 DUBAI ARABIAN TRAVEL MARKET Reed Exhibitions Ltd. 24 - 26 BELGIUM SEAFOOD EXPO GLOBAL Diversified Communications

SAUDI HOSPITALITY SECTOR TO GROW 13.5 PERCENT PER ANNUM TO 2022 The Arabian Travel Market (ATM), is back! Here’s what you should keep in mind when attending the 25th edition of the show, taking place at Dubai World Trade Centre Saudi Arabia is expected to drive growth in the hospitality market, with a 13.5 percent CAGR, higher than the established markets of the UAE (10 percent) and Oman (almost 12 percent). The Kingdom is expected to see a vast expansion of its hotel and resort inventory, along with a steep increase in airport passengers, as Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman continues to drive economic and social reforms, including direct investment in tourism. Colliers’

study found that religious tourism in the Kingdom is still driving demand, with 30,000 rooms opened during 2017, and a further 40,020 guestrooms in 89 projects currently under construction, compared to 35,050 rooms in the UAE. Last year, Saudi Arabia set the stage to expand to leisure tourism, as it pursues targets of 30 million visitors annually by 2030. As a result, 2018 will see the first tourism visas granted to international travelers and, for the first time, women aged 25 and older will now be able to obtain a single entry, 30-day tourist visa without a male chaperone. The Kingdom has announced a series of leisure projects in recent months, including the creation of a Six Flags theme park in Riyadh by 2021 and a Red Sea resort, built on 100 miles of

DUBAI’S ANNUAL SPA REVENUE PREDICTED TO REACH USD 495 MILLION IN 2019 The number of 5-star hotel spas in Dubai is on track to increase by a CAGR of 10.7 percent to 2021. According to the report, Spa & Wellness Travel, the number of 5-star hotel spas in Dubai will increase from 107 in 2017 to 157 in 2021, in close correlation with the emirate’s hotel pipeline. High-profile openings over recent months include The Spa at Palazzo Versace Dubai and The Bulgari Spa, which will contribute to projected annual spa revenues in the emirate of USD 495 million by 2019,



according to Visit Dubai. In 2015, wellness trips to the GCC increased 44 percent, with Bahrain leading growth. Bahrain also saw the highest increase in revenue over the same period, at 17 percent. The report concluded that such performance indicates a mature market, capable of absorbing new supply. Testing this, the UAE will welcome 83 new hotels in 2018, many featuring spa and wellness amenities. A further 500 new properties are due to open across the Middle East by 2020.


MAY 19 - 22 USA NRA SHOW National Restaurant Association

sandy coastline and backed by investment from Virgin Group founder, Sir Richard Branson. Featuring hotels, residences and a transport hub, the project will create 35,000 jobs, adding SAR 15 billion to the economy. Aligned with the vision, the Public Investment Fund (PIF) ploughed SAR 10 billion into entertainment ventures in 2017 and, under the National Transformation Programme (NTP) the Kingdom has invested SAR 171.5 billion in tourism development.






In 2017, travel and tourism directly supported 2.3 million jobs in the Middle East, which stands for three percent of the total employment, revealed the World Travel and Tourism Council’s Travel & Tourism Economic Impact 2018 report. This is expected to rise to almost three million jobs in 2028. The region’s tourism industry ranked tenth globally when it came to employment.





Egypt is the biggest employer in the sector with over one million travel and tourism jobs, followed by Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Iran. For those with the right education and drive, the opportunities in the hospitality industry are limitless. Find out what path suits you best from our experts.







A SNAPSHOT OF TOMORROW’S HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY TODAY To discover more about the various programs and degrees offered by hotel chains and hospitality schools, HN spoke to several key players whose efforts are growing the industry of tomorrow

ANDRÉ COINTREAU’S SCHOOL OF LIFE President and CEO of Le Cordon Bleu, descendant of the founding family of the Cointreau liqueur and Rémy Martin Cognac, André J. Cointreau shares his thoughts on the challenges faced by culinary institutes and tells HN why he believes that remaining true to what matters most is key for any future endeavor.

What sets Le Cordon Bleu apart from other schools? We are the number one worldwide based on network size, which allows us to better understand diversity, especially when it comes to the culinary arts, given that we are present in more than 25 countries with over 30 institutes and partnerships with 18 different universities. This allows us to heavily invest in our academic materials, which we provide to 40+ different schools in both print and digital formats. It therefore comes as no surprise that Le Cordon Bleu recently received the Gourmand Award 2016 for having sold more than 10 million books.

What is the secret ingredient to this kind of success? We invest a lot of time in understanding the culture, history, politics and economy of the markets we operate in. This allows us to provide our students with the most suitable learning vehicle. Keep in mind that the French were the first to design a system ‘codifying’ the culinary experience. Before its introduction, chefs would follow a recipe aimed at performing a function without lending the actual process much thought. Today however, that ‘codex’ can be used as a guideline to add value to any meal, irrespective of cuisine. Evidence to that effect is that we have been approached by government representatives of various countries asking if we could help them codify their national cuisine.

How has the role of teacher changed? Being an efficient teacher today means

having the ability to leverage a faceto-face, in-class experience with a remote one via screen. In that sense, I foresee that 10 – 15 percent of the educational curriculum will become digital and we are preparing our students for that. In parallel, the teacher will become the entertainer who motivates various types of interactions. Our chefs are fantastic technical guys who are craftsmen with a wealth of knowledge in vocational training of the technical arts programs on offer.

LE CORDON BLEU André J. Cointreau President

How do you accelerate the careers of your graduate chefs? The candidate(s) must first master the arts and techniques of the profession, which includes the fields of nutrition, hygiene, sanitation, technology, physics and chemistry. Today’s students are also expected to be organizers, team leaders, maestros, even chefs d’orchestre. Lastly, because they will be running restaurants, they should know finance, marketing and accounting, be front of house entertainers and back of house technicians. Most importantly, and because time is rarely on our side, we are trying to give our students as much as possible in as little time, which, to my knowledge, no other existing school does.

Why was Lebanon chosen as the site of the first Le Cordon Bleu in the Arab world? In 2000 we expanded the network globally, yet were not present in the Middle East. In 2002, we were invited by PM Hariri to establish LCB in Lebanon. We then partnered with USEK to deliver our BA in Hospitality, which now we prepare students for at our state of the art culinary institute at BURJ on BAY Hotel in Kfaryassine, which will officially open May 31, 2018.

We invest a lot of time in understanding the culture, history, politics and economy of the markets we operate in

Contact Le Cordon Bleu Paris 13-15 Quai André Citroën Paris, 75015 France T. +33 (0)1 85 65 15 00 E. Le Cordon Bleu Lebanon Tabarja, Kfaryassine Main Road, BURJ on BAY Hotel Lebanon T. +961 9 857557 E. APR-MAY 2018 | HOSPITALITY NEWS ME




GLION INSTITUTE OF HIGHER EDUCATION’S WINNING FORMULA Founded in 1962, the Glion Institute of Higher Education is a private Swiss entity offering bachelor and master degrees in hospitality, luxury and event management to an international student body. It is ranked among the world’s top-five higher education institutions for employer reputation in hospitality management. Georgette Davey, managing director of the school, talks to HN about what sets this institution apart.

What are the programs on offer, how do these differ from other courses and what are the enrolment requirements? The school offers hospitality management degrees based on the Swiss model of experiential learning. These enable students to develop business acumen and soft skills through real-world contexts, such as practical arts immersion and on/offcampus internship semesters. With students representing more than 90 nationalities, Glion also offers a uniquely international environment that fosters the development of multicultural competence. Admission requirements vary by program, but generally, BBA applicants must have successfully completed secondary school, while those applying to the MSc or dual MBAMSc degree must hold a BA degree and previous work experience.

What kinds of skills do these programs focus on and how important is previous experience? Through practical arts immersion, undergraduate students develop soft skills and an understanding of hospitality operations alongside award-winning culinary and service professionals. They further cultivate their teamwork and leadership skills through two internship semesters, which enable them to apply academic theory to a real-world context. In the classroom, students are exposed to essential business topics, including finance, marketing and talent management. The graduate programs on offer for career changers and hospitality professionals all combine rigorous theory with applied learning.

Are these programs designed to address individual/market needs? One of the benefits of a Glion education is that students can tailor their program to best suit their own



professional goals and interests with a wide range of specializations to choose from. For example, at the undergraduate level, students can specialize in Luxury Brand Management in Hospitality, International Hotel Development and Finance, or International Event Management. Led by faculty members with extensive industry experience, complemented by expert guest speakers bringing real-life case studies to the classroom, these specializations equip students with the skills to succeed in a competitive international market.

Upon graduation, will the candidates merit any special consideration pertaining to employment? Our graduates offer a level of international experience, skills and professionalism that is highly attractive to employers, which is reflected in our excellent graduate employment rate, with more than 90 percent of our students receiving a job offer upon graduation.

What will be some of the most sought-after positions in tomorrow’s market? A need for luxury brand managers — and curators of luxury experiences — is likely to increase around the world, particularly in markets such as China, where demand for luxury goods and experiences is growing fast. With this in mind, Glion organizes a luxury conference each year in which industry leaders are invited to share their insights, affording students the opportunity to learn about the latest trends, innovations and challenges in the hospitality and luxury sectors.

Do you envision the emergence of future hospitality positions that don’t yet exist? The digital disruption of the hospitality industry has brought about many new

GLION INSTITUTE Georgette Davey Managing Director

career opportunities. At Glion, courses in areas such as digital marketing are designed to immerse students in the latest technology and business strategies with special emphasis on growing the value of customer-centric skills. Companies in the hospitality industry and beyond now realize the importance of delivering unique client experiences; as a result, we will likely find more positions that emphasize the management of events, guest relations and service excellence.

Contact Glion Institute of Higher Education Enrollment Management Department Chemin du Pierrier 1, 1815 Clarens Switzerland T. +41 (0)21 989 26 00 E.

A need for luxury brand managers - and curators of luxury experiences - is likely to increase around the world

The Perfect italian espresso Order Now: T: 01 84 22 33

@Caffecador @Cafecador



IHG NURTURES FUTURE LEADERS Pascal Gauvin, managing director for the IMEA region of InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), highlights the specific programs used to recruit, retain and develop the skills of the employees working in the hotel industry.

How are you making the hospitality profession attractive to new/existing recruits? At IHG, it is our people who make up the heart of our business and we rely on them to deliver fantastic guest experiences. Consequently, it is important for us to attract, retain and develop the best talent in the industry based on the following four pillars: • We believe in developing a ‘brandhearted’ culture within our organisation by positioning our brands at the center of every conversation and decision. • We focus on making IHG a great place to work at, where colleagues trust the people they work for, take pride in the work they do and enjoy working with the people around them. • We provide our colleagues with training and development opportunities, so they can be the best at what they do. We have developed a set of ‘People Tools’ used across all levels of seniority and incorporate our Leadership Competencies and Winning Ways for continuous learning. • Lastly, we have a very strong leadership and performance culture at IHG. Our leaders create an environment where everyone is heading in the same direction, aligned and committed, in order to deliver great results and help grow our business sustainably and responsibly.

What are the challenges faced and how are you dealing with these? One of the most common challenges that the tourism and hospitality sector is confronted with today is the lack of a skilled workforce. To overcome this challenge and to increase the proportion of the employable workforce for the hospitality industry, we instituted a program called the IHG Academy, which is a pioneering global collaboration between IHG and local education and community providers. Additionally, we are committed to creating a diverse workforce and concentrate on continuous talent and succession planning to develop our



teams. We do this through industry leading training programs such as our Future Leaders and GM Express programs that help develop our employees, whether they are just commencing their career in hospitality or moving up to an executive role.

‘IHG Academy programs’, wherein we collaborate with educational institutions to give training and exposure to people, especially from local communities, for them to build a career in the hospitality industry.

What are the qualifications/ qualities you look for in new recruits and what advice can you give?


At IHG, we believe in hiring for attitude and training for skills. It is important to us that candidates’ ideals are aligned with IHG’s organizational values i.e. our ‘Winning Ways’ - do the right thing, show we care, aim higher, celebrate differences and work better together. Furthermore, we also look for candidates with a positive attitude who have confidence, tenacity, perseverance, responsiveness and an appetite to learn and adapt.

What channels do you use when recruiting from universities, social media, head-hunters and internally?

To apply online go to

One of the most common challenges that the tourism and hospitality sector is confronted with today is the lack of a skilled workforce

We have our careers page that is promoted internally and externally, along with various social media platforms. While we focus on filling roles with the internal talent first, based on our succession plan, given our scale and diverse nature of our business, we also have exciting opportunities for talent from outside the company.

Do you have any internal educational programs/ affiliations with hospitality schools? We have strong internal learning and development programs for colleagues across job profiles. At entry level, we have a 12-month ‘I-Host’ program, which trains people for supervisory positions. Taking matters to another level, we offer an 18-month ‘I-Grad’ program for graduates, which trains them for managerial positions. Lastly, we expanded our

IHG Pascal Gauvin Managing Director



LOUVRE HOTELS GROUP’S RECRUITING APPROACH Amine Moukarzel, president of Louvre Hotels Group MENA/Golden Tulip, talks to HN about the importance individual character traits have as opposed to qualification and experience.

How are you making the hospitality profession attractive to new/ existing recruits? This profession is more of a lifetime mission, where actions speak louder than words. In keeping with that spirit, I would like to quote Arapaho, a tribe of Native American heritage, who famously said, “Where there is true hospitality, not many words are needed.” That is a reality I have grown to learn very well, after entering the industry, which is clearly communicated when talking to new recruits or associates who see and feel the passion, value and the happiness behind the words. Furthermore, they gradually come to understand the care and motivation we instill to help them build long and prosperous careers, filled with incredibly rewarding experiences driving them to thirst for more.

We need to develop more national talent in the countries and communities we serve through partnerships between the public/private sectors

What are the challenges faced and how are you dealing with these? The main thing to do is to revert back to basics by remembering that people are hospitable by nature. As such, they enjoy tackling challenges faced by exercising patience, being attentive, considering the other’s point of view and reflecting on what is said. After all, one of the highest rewards in this industry is learning through real-life experiences.

What are the qualifications/qualities you look for in new recruits? Many people have the qualifications, but lack the qualities needed, which becomes clear when they begin to communicate. While the recruiting process takes into consideration elements such as gender, nationality and race, we nonetheless use these to bring out the strengths in the potential candidates being interviewed. To that effect, those hoping to qualify for employment must score at least an 11/15 based on the following three core elements called ‘The Mayer Key Competencies; • Communicating ideas and information • Working with others in teams • Collecting, analyzing and organizing information • Each of the four additional elements has an individual score of four points. These are:



• • • •

Problem solving Using technology Planning and organizing activities Exhibiting effective mathematical abilities

What channels do you use when recruiting? We use many platforms. However, I am against hiring head-hunters as they usually have their own hidden agenda based on profit. As such, they generally tend to push the wrong candidates our way, which is unethical. On the other hand, the most effective way is a phone call. Another equally effective gateway to finding new recruits is professional social media platforms. What is distinctive about these is that one finds career seekers, rather than job hunters. Lastly, employing internal channels has its merits that habitually pay off.

How can someone looking for a hospitality job better promote himself/herself to you? When considering a candidate, we look for individuals who come across as truthful and honest. Most of all, they need to be quite presentable and have a

LOUVRE HOTELS Amine Moukarzel President

strong personality. In other words, I am not really worried about competence, but confidence and the desire to learn is essential, which is also why leaving ego out of the equation is a must.

Do you have any internal educational programs/affiliations with hospitality schools? We have one of the best training networks that consists of 90 courses offering nine different modules, varying from hospitality studies and soft skills to management and team building. We also incorporated our work with the Emirates Academy in service of the hospitality industry. In addition, our own ‘U’ University in France maintains a number of courses for individuals in various hospitality positions all the way to general managers. Lastly, our e-learning platform via Genius 4 offers plenty of options to those who wish to expand their knowledge and learn about future trends.

Contact To apply online go to



FOUR SEASONS HOTELS AND RESORTS PURSUES EXCELLENCE Rami Sayess, regional vice president of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts and general manager of Four Seasons Hotel Beirut exemplifies why the company is one of 'Fortune's 100 Best Companies To Work For'.

Are you recruiting? If yes, what positions are you looking to fill? Business and leisure travel activities have increased over the past 18 months and we have witnessed promising indications that this will continue to be the case in 2018. As a result more jobs became available in different areas of our operation (laundry, kitchen, service to name a few...). Yes we are currently recruiting managerial positions along with line employees, casual and seasonal employees in preparation for our upcoming summer season.

What kind of methodology do you follow and what specifically are the qualities that rank highest in a candidate? At Four Seasons, our greatest asset is our people, hence our efforts start at the recruitment stage. We spend a great deal of time finding the right people and making sure they’re equipped to provide our guests with a unique and personalized experience. We also make sure we hire people who think like us and believe in our golden rule of "treating others the way they wish to be treated". Personality/attitude is key for every candidate to make it to the second stage of the interview process. Employees are first assessed on specific Four Seasons competencies and are also given the chance to assess if Four Seasons is the right company for them (the interview process is a two-way street, both parties are involved in the decision making process). At Four Seasons we don't hire to fill a gap but we hire those whom we believe have potential to grow, thus helping our long-term goal of developing the future leaders in luxury hospitality.

How important is experience as opposed to education? Ideally you need both but it all depends on the individual and how motivated he/she is to build a career. Education offers a solid foundation on which one can start, but this only represents the beginning. What comes next is decided by self-motivation and company support, but above all the respect an employee must earn from colleagues, peers and superiors alike. After all we



We are in the people business and the support of people is imperative to one’s success

FOUR SEASONS HOTELS AND RESORTS Rami Sayess Regional Vice President & General Manager

are in the people business and the support of people is imperative to one’s success! Learning has become accessible and can take place remotely thanks to advanced technology. At Four Seasons education never stops, be it in the form of 'on the job training', e-cornell courses etc...

What are the perks of working for a hotel like yours? Over the past 21 consecutive years, Four Seasons has been named on the list of 'Fortune's 100 Best Companies To Work For'. Our employees across the globe have honored us as an employer of choice every year since the list’s inception. As per our employees, we are a “Great Place to Work Legend.” So being a member of this family and representing The Four Seasons brand is highly inspirational. At the same time being a Four Seasons Ambassador (every Four Seasons employee) gives us the responsibility to behave in a way that is representative of the Four Seasons brand at all times!

Do you have or offer any learning and development programs/ courses to your employees? At Four Seasons, each learning activity is aimed at impacting the guest experience and supporting the culture of the company. By investing in and committing to effective training at all levels, we build competence and confidence in our employees, thus enabling us to sustain a competitive

advantage in service excellence and to enhance the quality, retention and application of learning in the workplace. A focused learning resource then works hand-in-hand with management to develop and enhance the skill levels of employees. Acting as an internal consultant, the learning resource assesses the causes and effects of communicated needs and advises on appropriate solutions. These solutions may not always be training solutions, however, but could be related to management, morale, equipment or systems. We believe it is through this philosophy of treating training as a dynamic process that true development occurs. Personally, I solidify a culture of development at the properties that I manage. I'm a big believer in giving as much context as possible, and when I meet with members of my team each week, one of my favorite questions to ask is, "What have you learned recently?" When an entire organization is stacked from top to bottom - in "step up" roles, everyone is learning and there's the potential for high performance.

How are you making the hospitality profession interesting to new/ existing recruits? The hospitality industry is constantly growing and the need for highly skilled employees is always in demand. Our industry is so popular, so many people want to belong to the hospitality sector. Yes, the shifts can be long and tiring, but

you rarely find someone in hospitality who doesn't have the passion for it (and when/ if you do, a serious chat about their career needs to take place)! A career in hospitality is the key to discovering new countries, exciting cultures and new friends. The length of service of our employees at Four Seasons, on different levels, is testament to how exciting it is to be part of the Four Seasons Family. The sense of pride we instill in our employees is what makes the difference between working for a hotel chain or Four Seasons!

What are the qualities you look for in new recruits and what advice can you give would-be candidates? We hire people who believe in pursuing excellence and who fully embrace the Four Seasons service culture. As the long-term direction of the company is to double in size over the next decade, the opportunities are endless, and Four Seasons is a company that will support its people every step of the way. Our managers are less bosses than mentors and communicators, whose role is to bring out each individual's best and weld them into a winning team. My advice to future hoteliers: Be yourself because people know what is genuine and appreciate dealing with the real you. Always remember to give back. How? By developing leaders of the future, that will be your legacy. Celebrate failures (yours

and others) and learn from them. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger!

What channels do you use when recruiting? First we start with internal recruitment; priority is granted to our existing employees. If we don't find the right candidate for the job vacancy, then we open it to the public with the external recruitment via the Four Seasons jobs website, social networks, universities and other channels of communication.

How can someone looking for a job better promote him/herself to you so as to become more visible? Personality, achievements, reputation, hard work and attitude.

Do you have any internal educational programs with hospitality schools? The company has introduced the global MIT program - Manager In Training Program; I am leading this program for the EMEA region, along with our corporate HR manager. We regularly conduct oncampus interviews at world-class hotel schools in Europe to identify top talent interested in joining the Four Seasons family. The Manager in Training program is designed to give participants the tools they need to accelerate their careers and succeed as future leaders. In addition to operational exposure and training, MITs will be exposed to valuable management

experiences and project work, allocated a buddy and mentor, and provided with feedback throughout the 18-month program.

What, in the near future, will be some of the most sought-after positions in the market(s) you currently operate for the hospitality industry? Hospitality positions in general are some of the most sought-after careers in the employment sector. The hospitality sector is demanding and tasking, however, it is easy to see why thousands of people join the industry each year. Many people that join the hospitality industry have a passion and commitment for service. However, a lot more have a flair for creativity, be it as a chef, catering, F&B, hotel manager, GM, director of marketing and other roles....

Do you envision the emergence of any new hospitality positions in the near future that currently do not exist? The beauty of our business is to expect the unexpected! With the rise of the affluent Millennials, personalized experiences and virtual requirements, along with the remarkable technology initiatives, anything is possible and can be envisioned.

Contact To apply online go to

The art of great cooking The German specialist in professional cooking technology

MKN Middle East & Africa Phone: +97 150 5 58 74 77 E-Mail:





HILTON’S BESPOKE APPROACH TO HIRING Koray Genckul, vice president, HR Operations, Middle East, Africa and Turkey, Hilton, discusses what the company has to offer potential candidates.

How would you describe the philosophy behind your approach? At Hilton, we believe the first step in encouraging the next generation to pursue a career in hospitality is educating them about the industry and the vast array of opportunities available. People often think that roles in hospitality are confined to front of house, catering and custodian positions. It is our job to highlight the reality and communicate the fact that young people who aspire to work in engineering, property development, events, marketing, technology, finance and more can find what they’re looking for in hospitality.

What are the platforms used to raise awareness about your hotel chain? One way to give Millennials an insight into the industry and the breadth of roles available is to let them experience it for themselves. Creating opportunities for them to see your business at close quarters and engage with your team can pay dividends. We have had a lot of success with Careers@Hilton Week, our largest annual career awareness initiative, which is our way of showing the next generation what a career in hospitality is really like. Since the initiative launched three years ago, our hotels and corporate offices have opened their doors to more

than a quarter of a million young people with job fairs, career guidance talks and job shadowing. We find that attendees gain a stronger understanding of our business, which enables them to make an informed decision about where to work and what to apply for. Social media also has a huge part to play in inspiring Millennials and generation Z. At Hilton, team members regularly take the reins of our Instagram and Snapchat channels to give prospective candidates an insight into what working with us is really like.

How are you catering to the career priorities most relevant to new recruits? Attracting young people also means offering the right kind of opportunities with the right kind of benefits. We need to take advantage of the amazing experiences and travel opportunities our industry provides. Our Team Member Travel Programme has been a huge success since launching, allowing all team members to stay in our hotels across the world at discounted prices. In terms of opportunities, entry points differ so the key is to provide as much variety as possible – offering the full suite of apprenticeships, internships, work experience, graduate positions and more to appeal to as many would-be recruits as possible. In addition, as a business spanning more than 100 countries, there is a world of opportunities for career progression at Hilton. We are committed to providing our team members with the necessary skills and training to realize their potential. Our training and development programs, such as Hilton University which has over 2,500 free online courses, are world-class and industry-leading. We are also focused on building the leaders of the future through management development programs which offer fast-paced career progression. Also, our recent

HILTON Koray Genckul Vice President



research with the International Youth Foundation has shown that financial rewards are not Millennials’ main motivator - job satisfaction is key. For this demographic, that means flexibility, work/life balance and the ability to make an impact on their community and environment. Demonstrating this wider social commitment and emphasis on wellbeing is increasingly important.

What strategies do you employ when interviewing potential candidates? Having opened young people’s eyes to the opportunities, the next challenge is how to make it easy for them to apply and get hired. Millennials aren’t like other generations. These young people have distinct expectations of the workplace and how to get there. They want things to happen much quicker and to know the outcome much sooner. No long, drawn-out recruitment processes for them! One way to reach young recruits on their own terms is to bypass the job advert and application stage and go straight to a face-to-face meeting. We find that speed-dating style events work well as you can quickly and easily see if a candidate is the right fit for your business – and vice versa. It is also an opportunity for both sides to ask questions and to gauge where the individual might fit – without the need for several rounds of interviews. Attracting the skills our industry needs for growth is a never-ending challenge, and as an industry, we need to show how varied and fulfilling a career in hospitality can be. Doing so is not only good for business, it is also good for young people, the industry and for society.

Contact To apply online go to hilton.php

In terms of opportunities, entry points differ so the key is to provide as much variety as possible

WITH MY BLF, YOU WILL SURELY MISS THE BANK. Thanks to our redesigned mobile app, you can now manage your finances on the go simply with your fingerprint. Pay your tuition fees, check your swift details, make quick transfers between your accounts or to a beneficiary locally or abroad, pay for a wedding gift, make your credit card payments and much more. And you know what? We’ll miss you too!

Download now



AMFORHT’S REGIONAL EXPANSION INVITATION consultative status, which will allow it to achieve much in the future. Also, while we continue to work on the development of education programs in the hospitality, catering and tourism sectors, we hope to further enrich our 60+ country delegates’ international knowledge base.

What role does the association play and what makes it important?

AMFORHT Philippe François President In 1969, experts from 12 countries officially launched the World Association for Hospitality and Tourism Education and Training (AMFORHT) at the Hotel School in Nice, under the watch of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), in an initiative aimed at raising awareness and helping the industry to evolve. With more than 60 member countries, AMFORHT has made great strides during its half decade of operation. The association reached a major turning point in 2010, with the election of its new president, Philippe François. His re-election for a second, fouryear term provided a further reminder of the experience he brings to the hospitality industry, which includes time spent as a hotel operations manager, hotel school director and international organization expert. François also established his own hotel management business school in France and collaborated with other institutions to create 20 similar entities in 10 countries throughout the world.

What have been some of AMFORHT’s recent successful initiatives? Last year, the NGO was recognized by the UN and granted special



AMFORHT is a network for meeting and exchanging best practices, as well as facilitating cooperation between members in the hospitality, catering and tourism industries. Some of its core functions revert to creating unique global links, and sharing strategies and experiences, in addition to facilitating employment and offering internships/ training. These help in the evolution and innovation of diverse entities, such as governmental organizations, NGOs, academic institutions, hotels, restaurants, catering companies, resorts, tourism offices and expert consultancies. Simply put, AMFORHT is responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism, making it a reference in the hospitality industry.

What will be your areas of focus in the coming year? We see 2018 as the year for global expansion and intend to increase our member-base by an additional 20-30 countries, especially in the Middle East, because we are not very well known in this region. To facilitate point of entry, we delegate the task to one of the top hospitality organizations affiliated with AMFORHT by having them extend an open invitation to would-be institutions already present and very familiar with that country’s cultural, historical, social and lingual elements. They, in turn, will be able to circumnavigate their way round these more easily and in so doing, further strengthen the communication vehicle employed.

What differentiates your approach compared to what is already on offer? We are the only UN-recognized NGO focusing on the core human experience of the hospitality industry, especially tourism. This is our organization’s vision, which we are working on promoting and growing.

While most hospitality establishments focus on the customer experience, we shifted this focus to the employee experience. The reasoning is, when the employee doing the serving is happy, then naturally, the client will be happy, and by reciprocity, that will make the owner of the establishment happy. In parallel, we are working on creating and sharing the world’s most extensive digital library on the hospitality and tourism industries for free with all AMFORHT members. By the end of this year, users will have access to thousands of online books including entirely-written classroom courses and instructional, hands-on videos. This initiative, while quite costly, will offer added value to our services and in so doing, will allow members with limited resources to greatly benefit.

Contact AMFORHT 10 rue Jean Moulin Trelissac, 24750 France T. +33 5 53 54 49 00

We are the only UN-recognized NGO focusing on the core human experience of the hospitality industry



MAROUN CHEDID’S COOKING ACADEMY PAYS IT FORWARD Chef Maroun Chedid, founder of the Maroun Chedid Cooking Academy, speaks about the courses offered and the opportunities afforded to graduates seeking employment in the hospitality industry.

What are the programs on offer? The Maroun Chedid Cooking Academy teaches new and budding chefs all the techniques and methods needed to work in the hospitality industry. The culinary arts program is broken down into four stages, beginning with basic, intermediate, advanced and technical. Each level comprises techniques and cooking methods encompassing Lebanese, as well as international cuisines, including pastry and bakery.

How do these differ from what is available and what are the requirements for enrolment?

do not require any previous training. However, passion and dedication to the culinary arts is a must on all levels!

Are these programs tailored to individual needs? Despite the fact that we have a general curriculum, we nonetheless do offer customized classes for clients who require specific topics or special trainings. As for accommodating an existing need in the hospitality market, I would say that there is a huge gap in the region pertaining to finding capable chefs who are qualified in theory and practice. Furthermore, those who are do not necessarily have the leadership skills required to properly manage a team.

Our classes and teaching methods are quite novel in the region as they combine both theory and practice. We also regularly invite international experts, hoteliers and world-renowned guest chefs to share their experience and talent, each within their respective fields, such as wine, cooking, coffee, single malts and table-setting. Professional chefs teach international cooking classes with a special holistic approach that covers every aspect, from the origin of the ingredients used to the cooking methods, divided into easy-to-follow, individual steps. We are also proud to be the only cooking academy that offers Lebanese cuisine cooking classes taught by professional chefs. Our curriculum is designed and tailored for Lebanese cuisine gastronomy education catering to chefs, professionals, amateurs and food enthusiasts alike.

Upon graduation, will the candidates merit any special consideration pertaining to employment?

What are the advantages for those who eventually attain a degree from your school?

In order to remain relevant and ahead of the curve, chefs will have to immerse themselves in the field of research and development. While this may prove challenging, considering the time restraints and long working hours, it remains a must. Furthermore, chefs will need to dedicate a portion of their free time to experimentation, taking a trial and error approach. They will also need to think out of the box by breaking the proverbial mold of the culinary rules in order to eventually create new dishes and flavors and, in so doing, set a new trend.

The academy offers certificates of completion to students who have spent a specified amount of time working alongside Maroun Chedid. Those trained in the MC kitchens and under the MC standards, will benefit from the chef’s network of the best restaurants and hotels in the region for future work placements.

What kinds of skills do these programs focus on and how important is previous experience? It depends on the levels. Basic levels



Our school works closely with the Maroun Chedid human resources department for employment within the region in various F&B, hotels and restaurants. As such, the courses and certificates offered also extend to services to support finding suitable outlets of employment.

What, in the near future, will be some of the most sought-after positions in the market? The market strongly needs passionate and capable chefs in all positions, but mostly, there is a great need for good bakers.

Do you envision the emergence of any new hospitality positions that don’t yet exist?


Contact Maroun Chedid Cooking Academy Lebanon Street, Saifi, Achrafieh, Street 61 Beirut, Lebanon T. +961 1 323 084/5 E.

In order to remain relevant and ahead of the curve, chefs will have to immerse themselves in the field of research and development

THE FUTURE OF HOSPITALITY EMPLOYMENT IN THE MIDDLE EAST HN spoke to Ali Matar, head of LinkedIn Middle East and North Africa, to learn about the latest recruitment trends and obstacles, and find out how disrupting technology is impacting the recruitment process and candidates’ profiles.

How would you assess the regional hospitality careers market? According to a recent industry talent report released by LinkedIn, employment of hospitality industry professionals in the UAE grew by more than 6.6 percent over the past year. A rise in ultra-personalized guest services and technology-led changes to the physical configuration of hospitality spaces is redefining existing job types within this sector.

Who are the employers with the biggest followings on LinkedIn? DTCM, Emaar and Jumeirah Hotels and Resorts are the most followed groups on LinkedIn, according to its Industry Talent report.

What are the most recruited jobs and which departments continuously need new recruits? According to a study by LinkedIn and HR corp -halfpage in HN117-final.pdf


Strategy&’s Ideation Center, digitization is disrupting the current job types and hence digital jobs will be the need of the hour. From a hospitality perspective, the most-sought after skills in this industry are pertaining to hospitality management, hotel management and pre-opening skills – jobs that require these skills are most recruited.

Which segments suffer from shortages? LinkedIn cannot directly comment on shortages, however, in the past year, segments such as F&B, real estate and retail have seen professionals moving out of UAE’s hospitality industry.

How is the emergence of technology affecting recruitment in the region’s hospitality industry? Authentic experiences, empowered by technology, and smart hotels that offer bespoke and personalized benefits, based on customer buying behavior, are slowly shaping recruitment in the hospitality industry. For example, data scientists, who mine and analyze data on consumer behavior. 4/3/18


Will there be new jobs created following the emergence of technology? Technology will drive the evolution across operations as associates shift from microtasking to multi-tasking, transitioning to multi-function roles. Data applications will also transform the traditional ‘yield manager’ role and could be replaced by data scientists.

2:58 PM













THE FUTURE OF HOSPITALITY EDUCATION developing these skills, little in the way of effort or results are being observed. Schools should start changing the way they understand and design education. Following are three suggestive actions to implement and start redesigning your school:

Reduce knowledge, focus on experience

Wei-Cheng Chen, senior consultant at Lausanne Hospitality Consulting SA, responsible for development of hospitality institutions worldwide as a senior consultant at Lausanne Hospitality Consulting SA, tackles one of the pressing issues that will be addressed at the Window to the Future 2018 think-tank summit in April We are experiencing profound changes of the digital age, as technology slowly replaces human roles, and big data analysis, artificial intelligence and smart living create new paradigms and dynamics. Yet, education often remains unchanged, despite these advancements. In the near future, humans will not be able to compete with technology when it comes to knowledge. During the World Economic Forum 2018, Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba Group, China’s e-commerce giant, shared his concerns about today’s education. “If we do not change the way we teach, 30 years from now, we’re going to be in trouble,” was his warning. He added that the “knowledge-based approach of 200 years ago” would “fail our kids”, who would never be able to compete with machines. Children should be taught “soft skills,” he said, like “independent thinking, values and team-work.” Soft skills is a simple phrase to describe a complex system of behaviors and habits. Examples include common sense, empathy, confidence, teamwork, honesty, the ability to see things from different perspectives, the ability to compromise, negotiate and persuade, communicate, network and think critically.... and the list goes on. While all educators know the importance of assisting students in



Education should be considered as an experience-based realm rather than a knowledge-based one. Students are transformed by the university experience during their three-to-four years of studies. However, traditional institutions still believe that students are looking for knowledge at university, thus placing knowledge transfer at the core of the institution. While this is still crucial, educators fail to harness knowledge transfer in assisting students to develop the necessary soft skills for the real workplace. Knowledge is an enabler of transformation, but it’s crucial to start thinking about what type of experience you want your students to acquire so that they are transformed and thus, better ready for the industry. Transform them through the experience of team work, competition, presentation, activities, negotiation, culture and failure, to name just a few ways. With the digital advancement, we can think of introducing virtual reality (VR) in classroom environments, where students can experience a scenario and develop the soft skills required. Pertinent examples include creating a conflict where a customer complains about an issue or situation and the students need to propose a solution.

Change the mindset of the faculty Doubtless, faculty plays a key role in educational institutions, but the challenge is that most misinterpret their role, especially in today’s world. Knowledge transfer should be considered as a concept primarily from the past, since we can obtain information by ‘googling’ today. Classrooms must be used to create experiences for the students, with knowledge as a conductor rather than the ultimate goal. Therefore, faculty should become knowledge facilitators and experience engineers, assisting students in analyzing and interpreting information, inspiring them, stimulating their curiosity, as well as staging the right learning setting for their studies. For this, it is necessary to equip your faculty with the right tools; thus, training them with the new mindset

of knowledge facilitation, such as the Lausanne Qualified Learning Facilitator’s Program, is essential.

Listen to the industry What are the attributes that employers are looking for when hiring graduates? And why it is necessary for institutions to know what they are? Graduates are the output of an institution and if they are in high demand from the industry, it is an indication of success. With the advancement in technology, employers are looking for intangible attributes from graduates, rather than technical know-how, with customer-centric traits one of their most common demands. Thus, having a close relationship and good communication with the industry, deciphering their needs and wants for future new hires must be taken as one of the core components of an institution. Having an industry-composed advisory board, inviting practitioners to your school and co-delivering a course are some of the most common practices. Additionally, organizing a think-tank of practitioners, where employers will be able to share their requirements for hiring graduates, is highly useful.

Contact Lausanne Hospitality Consulting Route de Cojonnex 18 1000 Lausanne 25 Switzerland T. + 41 21 785 13 92 E.

About Lausanne Hospitality Consulting (LHC) LHC is the Swiss knowledge development and management advisory company of Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL) and the Swiss Hotel Association (hotelleriesuisse). ‘Window to the Future’ is a Swiss knowledge initiative of LHC and EHL, with a mission to identify, assess and anticipate changes in the future of the hospitality industry. The think-tank summit, taking place at EHL on April 30, 2018, will feature key-note speeches with international influencers, panel discussions with experts and leaders from the hospitality industry, and lively debates with all summit participants.,




BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN EDUCATION AND THE WORKFORCE The world of tourism and hospitality is one of the largest and most dynamic industries in today’s global economy. The tourism and hospitality industries create many employment opportunities in different areas like accommodation, food and beverage, transportation, attractions and sites of interest. Therefore, the availability of skilled and trained manpower is a crucial element to the success of any tourism and hospitality institution. Thus, the role of the hotel schools/universities is important. Accordingly, these educational institutions have to prepare students to be ready to enter the hospitality work market in an efficient way. Unfortunately, this is not the case today. Not all hotel management schools and universities are delivering appropriate curriculums to be in accordance with hospitality manpower's needs. In fact, there is a huge gap between education and the real workforce. Most of the hospitality institutions would be obliged to train their new employees on the hospitality rules and regulations to be in line with their standards. As a result, the time spent and efforts made by the hotel schools/universities and hospitality institutions are resulting in a better integration into the workplace. Indeed, there is a gap. What hiring managers point out is that hospitality educational institutions are not fully preparing students for the working world and there is nothing filling the teaching gap. Massive educational structures are losing stride with the new work environment, which often lacks the resources to bring new employees up to speed and everyone is paying the price. Bridging the gap between education and workforce through HR could be done in two ways: through either the short-term or the long-term approach.

The short-term approach The HR teams are forced to train newcomers on the rules and regulations in place at the institutions where they will be working. They are obliged to establish a clear career development plan for each new employee. This could be done through intensive and operational training in the areas where the candidate has unfortunately not been given training at school/college. Far too often we hear about young graduates who leave hotel school unprepared for the challenges of the hospitality profession or are unaware of the opportunities. Nevertheless, both new employees and incumbent workers should be offered the training they need to keep their skills relevant. The training period is costly for the hospitality institutions. It is a real significant investment. Hospitality

FACULTY OF HOSPITALITY MANAGEMENT SAGESSE UNIVERSITY Dr. Tanios Kassis Dean institutions need to provide adequate training so the new employee can begin work and start producing for the company. Training is known to be one of the costliest investments a company can make. There are hours to be spent on the new employees for the initial job training and it can take a while for the cost to be covered and companies to see a return on their investment. But without employees, not much work gets done. And that is the bottom line for businesses; even though the investment may make the company accountant cringe, the potential in return on a good new hire continues to make the investment worthwhile.

The long-term approach Through the HR team, this approach should be considered as a national partnership amongst the hotel schools and the hospitality intuitions for a long-term period. The objective of such an approach is to

overcome the barriers of the actual gap between education and work. This national partnership is to ensure that young students receive good quality and sustained career education, information and guidance throughout their time at hotel school/ university. By engaging with the HR team, they can help school leaders understand the local labor market and make full use of the initiatives and support available to them. The HR professionals, with an understanding of current and future labor market opportunities and challenges, should work closely with schools to map out their approaches to building better career advice and guidance. This cooperation could define the needs of hospitality institutions and how the hotel schools and colleges can react in order to implement new learning techniques that fulfill the needs of the hospitality industry. For instance Sagesse University faculty of hospitality management has created a state-of-the-art academic hotel to ensure its students are ready for the hospitality world taking into consideration the requirements of the industry's stakeholders. Without a doubt, the HR teams cannot replace hotel schools/colleges. Hotel schools must spur on progress through new programs and restructured educational infrastructures — or remain behind. Traditional education can no longer suffice; it is time to take a new approach in preparing the future workforce. In fact, as school leaders, it is time for us to revamp the way we teach and learn, and adopt a new system that takes personal needs and sudden developments into account. This is not only for those in colleges; anyone can and should apply to continue a life-long journey of learning based on need and curiosity. Finally, the solution is not in cutting out the college experience but complementing it. This means supplementing the university experience and reinforcing in-class experiences with third-party courses that are relevant to students’ long-term career goals. Real practical courses and hands-on experiences will be the solutions.

Contact Faculty of Hospitality Management Sagesse University with the academic certification of Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne Mansour Dahdah Street, Achrafieh Lebanon T. +961 1 447444 E.





TAPPING INTO THE MILLENNIAL MINDSET The hospitality industry is heading towards an interesting and neverseen-before-in-history confluence of generations, where Gen X meets Gen Y and Gen Z. Are we ready for the challenge? to a remarkable transformation in the outlook of successive generations at very short lead times. What must have taken decades to bring about, the so-called ‘generation gap’ is now set in motion at shorter intervals.

Olivier Harnisch CEO

Emaar Hospitality Group I read an interesting report on the future of the workplace recently. We already know that the office of the future will not be the same as it is today, and we are prepared for the fact that many jobs of today will be redundant and irrelevant in the not-sodistant future, given the tremendous pace of technology evolution. One of the crux areas of the study was how the next-generation office will be transformed to be more flexible, tech-savvy and artificial intelligence (AI)-driven. But what caught my attention was how this shift is not determined just by technology, but also by the aspiration of our new generation of professionals to seek more work-life balance. And that set me thinking. Shouldn’t we, in the hospitality sector, be looking further than the Millennials? Shouldn’t we discuss the Gen Z mindset that is heavily influenced by the Millennials, but has further evolved because of their extraordinary exposure to nextgeneration technology? I believe that the future of our industry will be determined not only by how we tap in to the Millennials, who form our new key guest demographic, but also by how we address a never-seen-before-in-history confluence – of Gen X with Gen Y and Gen Z. I term that 'never-seen-before-in-history' because unlike the previous coming together of multiple generations, we are now witnessing substantial shifts in the outlook, perspective and opportunities that define Generations X, Y and Z. The incremental growth in technology the world has witnessed in recent years has led



That brings us to the big question: Are we ready for the challenge of addressing the confluence of three remarkable generations: the Baby Boomers, the Millennials and the Nexters? With Gen Z already entering the workforce and evolving as independent travelers in their own right, how can we factor in their considerations as ‘guests’, while not ignoring the sensitivities and aspirations of the other two? Naturally, it calls for a ‘generational mind shift’ on the part of hotel developers and operators. Developers will have to think beyond the confines of traditional ‘hotels’ and look, possibly, at the concept of ‘coliving hospitality’, where Millennials and Gen Z are assured of ‘freedom places’ and ‘social hubs’ that foster interaction, creativity and collaboration.

Beyond the Millennial mindset, let's talk about Gen Z too This becomes relevant because mobility and connectivity will be central to both Millennials and Nexters as they seek travel experiences not merely as conventional vacations but as ‘workations’ that reflect their spirit of collaboration. This will be more relevant in the future as global crowdsourcing of work will become the norm, breaking all conventional boundaries. Further, the Millennial and Nexter generations are increasingly valueconscious, more so because they have grown up through the era of a bitter global financial crisis that they saw impacting their parents and lives around them. They are also genuine adventurers, people who seek cultural connectivity and are eager to unlock new experiences. Our industry, naturally, cannot operate with hard-fisted approaches if we are to engage them. While hotel developers must look beyond conventional investment models, hotel operators must focus on innovating

new experiences that are curated for Gen Y and Z without ignoring Gen X. It is a tough act to roll out but – let us be honest – we do not have a choice. However, we have technology on our side; we stand at the doorstep of big opportunities driven by big data analytics and AI. Integrating digital into every touchpoint of our operation, we can positively engage the new generations. But technology is only the starter; the main course is the genuine experience that we can offer them. And that can come only from the heart – from knowledgeable concierges, from friendly staff and from our commitment to a culture of service excellence. According to reports, in the next three years, 50 per cent of the global workforce will be Millennials and by 2025, at least 25 per cent of our professionals will be Nexters. Their requirements of travel and hospitality are different, as is the way they approach everything from bookings to room-stay and the use of amenities. For us to tap the Millennial and Nexter market, we must therefore move now and move fast. We must embrace technology with vigor, bunk conventional thinking and look at hospitality, not with the tinted eyes of our experience, but from the fresh, wide-eyed, worldview of two generations that have grown up on games and are not mystified by technology leaps.

Olivier Harnisch is a speaker at the upcoming Arabian Hotel Investment Conference 2018 (AHIC), being held from April 17 to 19, 2018, at the AHIC Village, Waldorf Astoria, Ras Al Khaimah, on the topic ‘Tapping into the Millennial Mindset, Why Investors Need to Broaden their Thinking’.



C A R E E R A N D E D U C AT I O N A L I N D U S T RY FAC T S Socio economic changes, technological progress as well as increased generational requirements have transformed the face of careers and education worldwide. Adapting to all such changes, men have unleashed immense capital, only strenghtened by education and skills development.

EDUCATIONAL AND CAREER TRENDS Top 5 keywords that make your resume attractive Analytical skills, core competencies, leadership skills, interpersonal skills, organizational skills

Redesigned learning environment Redesigning on-job training areas impacts positively education, personal growth and development

High in demand jobs Artificial intelligence, robotics, product design and digital marketing Hello, augmented reality Forget traditional classrooms, education technology makes learning collaborative across digital platforms

Customized experiences Personalization of learning, with tailor made education

TOP HOSPITALITY SCHOOLS Campuses around the World

1,000 Student on Campus per year

EDUCATION SYSTEMS AND JOB OPENINGS Average starting salary per major per year 4












$35,000 $40,000 Quality Rating, 1-7 (best) World Average

Qatar UAE Lebanon Bahrain Jordan Saudi Arabia Oman Algeria Kuwait Turkey Tunisia Morocco Egypt Yemen



Quality of MENAT education systems

$45,000 $50,000 $55,000 $60,000 $65,000





RE-EVALUATING THE EVALUATION SYSTEM Despite moving into an era in which employees are really seen as a capital of the company and employee training has true value in improving a customer’s experience, the archaic system of biannual evaluations persists. Master Trainer Mark Dickinson thinks it’s time to show employees the true value they bring to the business in a much simpler way

The problems with the current system • Evaluations have consistently equated to annual increases and salary adjustments, yet it is frequently an unfair system. Evaluating people has often been simply a cover story for those adjustments. • True evaluation of an employee’s performance is a skilled task that requires experience in human resources and perhaps some psychology. Many evaluators do not have the required skills. • Undertaking an evaluation is time consuming and where there are many employees in a department, the task is often not given the focus and importance that it requires. • Employees rarely feel that their evaluation is a true reflection of what they believe they contribute to an organization.

The future In order to satisfy employees’ needs, while ensuring they feel valued by an organization and that their ever-increasing monetary needs are met, it’s important to look at the entire scope of evaluations from a fresh perspective. At Done!, here is how we approach the challenge:

Going back in time, there was a point when every company compulsively reviewed the performance of all of its team members on a biannual basis. January and June were statutory months for employee reviews. Sometime after came the 360 review and things got even more complex. Most companies undertook these reviews without even thinking about why they were doing so; evaluations were just one of those things that every ‘good’ company should do. Employee happiness suffered, as bell curves averaged out the results of the evaluations and ensured that only a small percentage were ever in the highest percentile, with the majority falling in the mid-range and a few being assigned the below-standard mark. The bulk of this evaluation process was created for the purposes of adjusting salaries and ensuring that the overall increase given to the company’s workforce was an average amount, say five percent. The problem with this kind of system, however, is that the high performers end up with the lion’s share of the increase, while the workforce majority end up getting the standard pay increase and the poor performers become disenfranchised.



There are four kinds of money that an employee thinks about Annual raise - employees expect to gain an increase in their compensation relative to the rise in national inflation. Things cost more, through no fault of their own, and they need more money to stay afloat. The salary they earned last year will no longer pay for the things that it would buy last year. This is specifically related to inflation. Contribution to the organization - over a period of time, employees contribute their energy, passion and efforts to their place of work. Recognizing their contribution is a moral responsibility of an organization. This contribution is unrelated to their performance; they have poured their time, effort and life into the continuance of the business. Mostly employees do their work to the best of their abilities and set out each day to give their all. We have noted over time that employees’ performance is pretty much set according to their personality, their passion and their reason for working. An evaluation highlighting strengths and weaknesses is helpful for them to understand areas where they can improve, but this is unrelated to their general contribution. Employees will frequently perform at the level that is required of them by their management team. Increases - employees that get promoted

and are required to take on greater levels of responsibility are entitled to an increase in line with the new level of authority and responsibility that they carry. Therefore, it is reasonable for an employee to expect an increase when they are promoted. Bonuses - these are frequently tied to a contract that states what performance is required to earn a specific amount of money for a service performed and is therefore not part of the evaluation process. If discretionary bonuses are paid, it is the decision of the ownership of the company. So, there remain three kinds of money that contribute to the employee’s expectations. What if we were to turn the system upside down?

Birthday increase covering inflation Instead of battling with the evaluation process and all its vagaries, what if we replaced the subjective process with an objective one? Every year, on an employee’s birthday, how about they automatically received an increase relevant to the general inflationary level currently in the market? If inflation were to run at 3.5 percent, then it would follow in most cases that prices of products and services sold would increase by a similar amount. Therefore, logically, the cost of labor would increase by an equivalent amount. Proposal: Set an annual inflation figure on January 1 each year which is the guaranteed increase that every single employee will receive annually on their birthday . This has the advantage of spreading the salary increase across the entire year, as opposed to implementing stepped increases twice each year.

Birthday gift recognizing the time that an employee has contributed to the organization Assume that each year an employee contributes to an organization is valuable to the business, then recognize that contribution with a birthday gift. Proposal: Create a digital box of gifts that employees can choose from, linked to the amount of time they have been with the company. For example, an employee with a number of years of seniority on their birthday will have the opportunity to choose a gift of their choice. The gifts would have different values; each year the gift could be equivalent to 5 percent of their salary minus inflation. In our example here, the gift would equate to 1.5 percent of the annual salary,

so an employee on USD 15,000 per year would get a gift value of USD 225. That gift could be in the form of a one-time cash payment, a shopping voucher (if a company were to purchase 50 vouchers from a suitable business, they would get them at a discounted price, thus adding more value to the company) or it could be access to services of the company at selling price. If a company sells food and beverages, then it could be a voucher for service at the company; again the company would be doing well as the voucher would reward the employee at the face value of the voucher, while providing the service at cost. There are unlimited ways of doing this, but the beauty is that on each birthday, an employee would feel their value to the company was being recognized. Moreover, if an employee were to personally select their own reward for their service from a variety of gifts, they’d derive greater happiness from it and avoid having to endure the painful evaluation process.

Increases given instantly Many employees only receive promotions at their time of evaluation. They are required to wait in what represents a postponement tactic deployed by several businesses to delay the day of increasing an employee’s salary. Since the sticky issue of annual increases has now been entirely eliminated and there is total transparency in the system, it is now possible to separate a performance review and a promotion. Proposal: When people deserve to be promoted, increase their salary on the spot. Effect: With this system there are several benefits. • A skilled HR team is able to know exactly what the payroll will be throughout the entire year and can plan in detail. •The birthday-gifting process means that the additional amount each year is not an increase in the payroll and taxes, but rather a one-time gift that is given, therefore lowering the upward creep in remuneration. • Long-term employees will not reach the end of the salary scale for their position, as the annual increase will always be in line with inflation (and probably the minimum wage). • Birthdays become a truly fun and inspiring moment in a team member’s journey with the company.

What about evaluations? Evaluations should be an ongoing, daily responsibility of management. Employee performance always remains under review by expert managers. When employee performance is flagging in a certain area,

managers should deal with it immediately. When employee behavior is inappropriate, it should be handled instantly. Employees that no longer add value to the business should be coached and counselled on the spot, and immediate improvement should be expected. So why wait for an evaluation to deal with an issue? Deal with it immediately. Get every team member to be happy and productive on an ongoing basis. Saving thousands of work hours per year in not doing evaluations is a massive benefit to

an organization and keeps team members focused on doing their jobs, rather than worrying about filling in endless forms, submitting them and giving ‘feedback’ to team members. It avoids disenfranchising the mass and encourages the system to automatically improve the weaker members of the team or suggest an alternative employment opportunity.






AT THE HELM OF THE KINGDOM’S FUTURE Chief executive officer of Dur Hospitality, Dr. Badr Al Badr is recognized for his extensive record in managing, developing and operating a wide portfolio of hotels and residential compounds across Saudi Arabia. With plenty of opportunities opening up in the tourism and hospitality sector, Dr. Badr is setting his sights on realizing the country’s vision Tell us about your career in hospitality and what you regard as the key milestones. Backed by my knowledge and the skills I’d gathered in my former career, I made my first move into the hospitality sector when I first joined Dur Hospitality, the Saudigrown, publicly listed hospitality company, established in 1976, that owns, develops and manages a broad range of hospitality and residential properties across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. During this time, I’ve been fortunate to be involved in the company’s remarkable successes, which would not have been possible without the support of Dur’s board of directors and the efforts of the executive team. From a personal perspective, some of my greatest highlights include steering the company’s evolution from SHARACO to Dur Hospitality, and doubling its portfolio of owned properties, with projects in the pipeline worth SAR 2.4 billion. Dur’s pipeline currently consists of 21 projects at various stages of development, most of which are scheduled for delivery between now and 2020. My career in hospitality has also provided me with an opportunity to share my knowledge and experience with other



members of the industry, particularly during keynote addresses at major events, including Saudi Arabia Hotel Investment Conference (SHIC), Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC), the Schneider Innovation Summit, Saudi Travel & Tourism Investment Market (STTIM) Riyadh, Global Tourism Forum Istanbul and many others.

What are the advantages of being a homegrown Saudi company? One of the key benefits of being a Saudi company with more than 40 years of operating in the market is the depth of experience we have as an organization, which provides us with a real competitive advantage. We have a profound understanding of evolving customer preferences, with the changing socio-economic factors in the country, which further enables us to offer tailor-made services to match these needs, thereby earning the credibility of our customers. In addition, abiding by the regulations and customs of the country has further established a foundation of trust with government bodies in line with our field of work. Looking ahead, this knowledge and experience means we are ideally placed to help realize the ambitions set out in the Vision 2030 economic strategy, which will transform the Kingdom’s economy over the next decade.

Which international companies are your partners of choice and why? At Dur, we recognize the necessity of creating and establishing strategic partnerships with international hotel operations. We are therefore constantly on the look-out for opportunities that facilitate successful hospitality development through genuine hospitality services to enable us to become the perfect partner for any local, regional or international party. This concept is strongly reflected in our partnerships with Marriott International and IHG. Dur partnered with Marriott International over 40 years ago, which led to the introduction of the concept of 5-star hotels to the Kingdom. Following this fruitful partnership, in 2016, we expanded our partnership by signing a franchise agreement to further develop and launch the first Courtyard by Marriott and Residence Inn by Marriott properties in Yanbu. Dur also partnered with IHG on a master franchise agreement in 2014 that aims to develop properties across the Kingdom with a streamlined focus on secondary cities. As such, together with IHG, we opened the first Holiday Inn Hotel in Tabuk in June 2017, and

we recently announced the opening of the Crowne Plaza® Riyadh Palace.

Which markets are you currently present in and where would like to break into? Over the last 40 years, we’ve established a strong presence in the Kingdom’s biggest cities. However, moving forward, we’ve identified significant opportunities in cities that are set to benefit from infrastructure funding under Vision 2030, as well as the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage’s efforts to promote tourism in these markets. As a result, we have extended our strategy to include more hospitality projects, particularly 3- and 4-star hotels, in high-growth markets, such as Tabuk, Jubail, Yanbu and Al Hofuf. Furthermore, with the growing numbers of visitors to the two Holy Cities

Some of my greatest highlights include steering the company’s evolution from SHARACO to Dur Hospitality, and doubling its portfolio of owned properties, with projects in the pipeline worth SAR 2.4 billion. Dur’s pipeline currently consists of 21 projects at various stages of development, most of which are scheduled for delivery between now and 2020 of Makkah and Medina, we are further expanding in the Western region through our Saudi-grown, award-winning brand, Makarem Hotels, that delivers authentic Saudi hospitality services, coupled with international standards.

How will Dur be a part of the process of constructing the next generation of Saudi’s hospitality projects? As one of the Kingdom’s leading hospitality companies, we are committed to playing a major role in realizing the country’s future vision. We are committed to innovation, through the launch of the country’s first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified hotel, endorsing the concept of specialization in hotels through Makarem, and developing a new concept of serviced apartments that we will be announcing soon. We also have a significant pipeline of projects under development, which include: • Developing Marriot Hotel and Marriot Executive Apartments in Diplomatic Quarter – Riyadh, which has been designed

to achieve the LEED’s Golden certification; • Developing a 4-star hotel, featuring 120 rooms, in Al-Hofuf city – Al-Ahsa province; • Developing the first Courtyard by Marriott and Residence Inn by Marriott properties in Yanbu. This 150-room-project will be Marriott International’s first franchised property in the Kingdom; • Currently developing a piece of land in Jubail Industrial City to build a 144room and suites hotel under the Holiday Inn brand; • Developing serviced apartments in Tabuk that consist of 61 hotel units; • Expanding into the Western region of Saudi Arabia, especially in Al Medina, by operating two hotels at Dar al-Hijra project.

The SHIC has just taken place in Saudi Arabia. As an industry leader and the conference’s strategic partner, what can you tell us about this milestone? The launch of the conference marked a major milestone in the industry’s development in Saudi Arabia and is testament to the level of interest in the market, both locally and internationally. The Saudi market is undoubtedly a hotspot, with plenty of opportunities opening up in the tourism and hospitality sectors, attracting multinational companies, following the implementation of new regulations on foreign investments in the Kingdom. This market transformation underpinned the importance of a dedicated Saudi conference that brought together industry experts to discuss both the challenges and opportunities in the sector. It was a very successful event and we look forward to supporting it again in the future.

The Saudi Arabia Hotel Investment Conference (SHIC) 2018, was launched under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, chairman of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH). The conference showcased the latest opportunities in the hospitality investment industry, in the presence of industry experts from the MENA region. Held on the theme ‘Focus on the Future’, SHIC was hosted for the first time in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by strategic partner Dur Hospitality, in cooperation with organizer, Saudi Event Management and Marketing (SEMARK) co-organizer, Bench Events, and MEED, at the Riyadh Marriott Hotel.





BEYOND OIL How Middle Eastern markets are developing their infrastructure to diversify hotel business by Robin Rossmann, managing director of STR

It’s no secret that many hotel markets across the Middle East have experienced challenges over the past three years. The impact of significant supply growth, reduced oil prices (and the resulting wider economic impact) and political unrest have represented significant headwinds for hotel performance. There is, however, a reason hotel supply continues to grow, and there are many highly profitable markets that offer attractive investment returns in light of more recent performance declines. Furthermore, the longterm demand trends are positive, with several countries working to expand their travel and hospitality offerings. There are many promising initiatives at the moment, and by 2030, the region is expected to have further transitioned from its established commodity-driven nature into more of a service economy, with tourism playing a key role.

In terms of leisure attractions, the Red Sea beach resort project could help Saudi Arabia benefit from some of the same types of tourism draws the UAE has enjoyed UAE Perhaps the greatest example of tourism driving hotel business in the Middle East is Dubai. As the Gulf metropolis continues to expand its hotel inventory ahead of the 2020 Expo and beyond, we have seen demand rise to not only meet supply growth, but exceed it. In 2017, Dubai hotels recorded a 0.5 percent increase in occupancy to an actual level of 77 percent. While there are many hotel projects still in the pipeline, there are also several tourism projects in the works that should continue driving demand. New projects announced recently include the Marsa Al Arab project, with the creation of two new islands on either side of Burj Al Arab and Dubai Harbour, which will feature the Dubai Lighthouse and new cruise ship terminals. Supply growth has meant increased competition in Dubai, which has impacted average daily rate (ADR), driving it down



3.9 percent in 2017. However, this rate of decline does not only reflect the increased amount of supply that has entered the market, but also the type of supply. Over the past few years, much of Dubai’s hotel development has been in the midscale segment while, historically, the upper-tier classes were more prevalent. This will help the market continue to attract tourists across a greater range of travel budgets, further diversifying its hotel business mix. While Dubai’s hotel market has not traditionally been as reliant on oil prices as other GCC markets, the oil sector accounts for 49 percent of Abu Dhabi’s GDP, according to the Statistics Centre Abu Dhabi. In 2015, when oil prices plummeted, Abu Dhabi’s revenue per available room (RevPAR) dropped 14.1 percent. In 2017, RevPAR was down 4.4 percent, which marked a slowdown in the rate of decline compared with 2016. Abu Dhabi’s hotel supply has expanded considerably in recent years, and this growth is set to continue. However, the market has also seen significant investments in tourism attractions, with demand rising 3.7 percent in 2017. The Louvre Abu Dhabi, a 10-year, Stg 1 billion project finally opened its doors to the public in November. There are several additional projects set to be completed by 2020, including more museums.

Ras Al Khaimah is also establishing itself as a popular destination, tapping into the fastgrowing adventure tourism segment. The market is aiming for one million visitors by the end of 2018, and recent developments like the Jebel Jais Flight, the world’s longest zip-line, and other upcoming projects, should support the market’s efforts to reach this goal. Like Dubai and Abu Dhabi, but on a smaller scale, Ras Al Khaimah is expected to see substantial supply growth in the near future, which should help the market accommodate anticipated demand growth. According to AM:PM, STR’s digital hotel supply and pipeline platform, there are currently 16 hotel projects in the pipeline, accounting for 5,810 rooms.

Saudi Arabia Hotels in Saudi Arabia have a unique religious draw with Muslim pilgrimages every year to Mecca and Medina, so those markets benefit from a surge in hotel business every year during Ramadan and Hajj, while most other GCC markets post declines during these holiday periods. Mecca is currently undergoing a major supply expansion, which may impact hotel occupancy levels in the short-term, but this is an important long-term investment for the market to further develop its infrastructure to accommodate the millions of annual visitors it receives. In terms of leisure attractions, the Red

Sea beach resort project could help Saudi Arabia benefit from some of the same types of tourism draws the UAE has enjoyed. Part of the government’s Saudi Vision 2030 initiative to make the country less dependent on oil revenue, the Red Sea project will be a luxury resort destination along part of Saudi Arabia’s west coast, and there have been indications that some restrictions based on the country’s religious customs will be eased in this tourism zone, which would help attract international visitors.

About Robin Rossmann Robin Rossmann leads STR’s international operations and business development. He is focused on continually improving how STR provides the hotel industry with robust and insightful performance benchmarking that enables stakeholders to make better decisions. Prior to joining STR, Robin was a senior director in Deloitte’s Global Hospitality Advisory Team in London. During his 13 years with Deloitte, he advised leading hotel brands, operators, investors and lenders in major global markets.

Top Select Markets by Total Rooms in Pipeline






AN EMIRATE RICH IN OPPORTUNITIES With well-established hospitality markets and a world-class free trade zone, Ras Al Khaimah has seen returns on investment reaching double digits, to the extent that hotel development on the Marjan Island is surpassing returns achievable in key projects across both Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Filippo Sona, director, head of hotels, MENA region at Colliers, tells us more about the key tourism components in the emirate The emirate welcomed 820,772 visitors in 2016, up almost 11 percent on numbers the previous year, with growth for 2017 reaching double digits



A comprehensive offering Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) has achieved a place on the list of top 10 fastest-growing destinations worldwide, as a result of its ongoing efforts to develop world-class hotels and entertainment venues. With its mighty Hajar mountains dominating the landscape and rolling down to the shore, the emirate serves as a great base for sightseeing and exploring its expanses of rugged terrain. The region is also steeped in history, with archaeological excavations revealing that the area has been inhabited since the third millennium BC. For visitors interested in the historical aspect, the Ras Al Khaimah National Museum does an excellent job of explaining the region’s rich and fascinating past. Much of the city is modern. However, the atmospheric Jazirat Al Hamra area is a major tourist attraction, providing a taste of the peaceful emirati life of the pearl divers and fishermen before the mid-20thcentury oil boom. RAK is predominantly a leisure destination, driven by both the domestic and international markets. Leisure guests account for up to

90 percent of demand in beach and desert resorts, which make up the largest segment of supply. The emirate welcomed 820,772 visitors in 2016, up almost 11 percent on numbers the previous year, with growth for 2017 reaching double digits. Going by the pace of growth over the last three years, RAK looks likely to hit its target of welcoming one million tourists by the end of 2018.

Diverse lodging options The RAK hospitality market consists of a mixture of hotels and resorts, serviced apartments and guesthouses. The majority of guesthouses, serviced apartments and city hotels are located in or close to RAK City. Resorts, which dominate the market, are typically sited towards the south of the coastline as part of upcoming developments, while two desert resorts offer alternative options. The hotel market is led by Hilton Worldwide, which currently operates five properties. Key changes to supply in 2016 included the expansion of the DoubleTree by Hilton Al Marjan Island and the rebranding of Banyan Tree Al Wadi Desert Resort to a Ritz Carlton Partner hotel. New openings in 2016 included the three-

star Tulip Inn Ras Al Khaimah and five-star Jannah Resort & Villas.

Supportive initiatives RAK’s expansion plans will be instrumental in helping the emirate to meet its growth targets. Leading the way are several initiatives that are expected to raise the emirate’s tourism profile and further cement its position as a leading leisure destination. One of these high-profile initiatives is the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference, which takes place from April 14 to 17, 2018, within the grounds of the Al Hamra Village at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Due to RAK’s rising popularity, this year’s event looks set to welcome record numbers of visitors, with more than 800 investors and senior executives from across the globe expected to attend. In another key industry development, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) opened new representation offices in Shanghai (for China) and Riyadh (for Saudi Arabia) to support the emirate’s bid to reach its one-million-tourist milestone and tap new source markets.



According to Amit Arora, general manager of The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert and The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Hamra Beach, there are several reasons that travelers should have RAK on their must-visit list. Here are three:

1. A pristine emirate RAK offers a unique natural environment, with untouched desert and mountain landscapes, just one hour away from Dubai. This unspoilt setting is ideal for visitors looking to connect with nature within a short distance from the city.

2. The highest peak in the UAE At 1934 meters, Jebel Jais is the highest mountain in the UAE, offering spectacular trekking and vantage points. We have just introduced the world’s longest zipline and a brand-new observation deck; moves that highlight the focus and resources being placed in the emirate on adventure tourism.

3. A rich variety of landscapes and travel experiences RAK is truly unique in its variety of natural attractions, combining beautifully valleys (wadis), sand-dune deserts, mountains and a stunning beach coast. The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah Al Hamra Beach boasts 32 private pool villas to offer an ‘islandinspired’ experience on a private beachfront along the coast.





RAK, THE ADVENTURE IS JUST BEGINNING… It’s not every day that Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) makes international headlines, but earlier this year, the emirate was on the front pages everywhere. The launch of the 2.83km Jebel Jais Flight – the world’s longest zipline – propelled us into the news globally, with everyone from The Washington Post and CNN to the BBC talking about the thrilling new attraction.

Al Wadi Desert and Al Hamra Beach are great examples of high-end properties in stunning desert and beach locations that attract more discerning visitors, and we have plans to grow our luxury offering, including the development of a luxury camp in the mountains – something that will be truly unique to RAK.

The zipline is not just an incredible feat of engineering, but is also the summation of a strategy that aims to put RAK firmly on the tourism map as a leading destination for adventure seekers the world over. The unprecedented coverage is a vindication of this strategy: bold, innovative and exciting. Ultimately, we demonstrated that through providing clear differentiation in our tourism offerings, we can stand alongside the betterknown destinations of Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Adventure, luxury and culture promise to raise our international profile. Today, the UAE accounts for more than a third of the visitors to RAK, according to our figures for 2017. Visitors from international markets are growing, however, and this will be an important focus for us over the next few years. Germany, Russia, the UK and India are our largest source markets in that order, with visitors from Russia increasing a massive 79 percent versus 2016, and tourists from emerging markets, particularly Eastern Europe, showing great promise.

Authentic and accessible Arabia We like to think that RAK, as well as excelling as a destination in its own right, is the perfect complement to the Dubai experience and is just 45 minutes away from DXB Airport. While adrenaline activities are a big draw, especially those focused on Jebel Jais, the UAE’s highest mountain, these visitors are also increasingly looking for authentic cultural experiences. This is where our unique heritage as the homeland of three Arabian tribal traditions – spanning coast, mountain and desert – really differentiates us. We are well placed to offer these travelers a truly authentic and accessible Arabian experience and capitalize on this trend.

The launch of Jebel Jais Flight, the world’s longest zip-line, earlier this year, has pinned Ras Al Khaimah firmly on the bucket list for adrenaline junkies. Haitham Mattar, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA), says that’s just the first of an ambitious suite of offerings aimed at attracting discerning travelers to the emirate

Of course, adventure tourism and heritage aren’t our only promise. We’ve built our brand as a destination that offers a mix of authentic culture and heritage and modern vibrancy. With a combination of pristine beaches, rugged mountains, luxury resorts and desert wilderness, it’s important that our strategy breathes life into the complete experience RAK has to offer visitors, not just providing thrills for adrenaline junkies or culture adventurers looking for authentic and accessible Arabia. We won’t ignore the traditional sun and sand holidaymakers, a mainstay of our tourism sector for decades, but we want to complement that side of our offering with newer, exciting offerings that appeal to a new generation of traveler – those looking to indulge in luxury and wellness seekers. Our next target, after adventure, is to successfully grow and market our luxury proposition. For example, the Ritz Carlton



Capitalizing on a promise

This is where our unique heritage as the homeland of three Arabian tribal traditions – spanning coast, mountain and desert – really differentiates us Our successes come with challenges, however, not least of which is ensuring our infrastructure keeps up with demand, especially when it comes to quality accommodation. We have plans to almost double our hotel portfolio from 5,400 rooms to more than 10,000 by the end of 2020. Ensuring an ideal mix of offerings, in terms of experience and price point, is not easy, so we are working closely with hotel operators, investors, tour groups and other stakeholders to develop a range of accommodation options that appeal across every demographic. These are exciting times for our emirate, and we at RAKTDA are ready to capitalize on the increased exposure the Zipline has earned us in the international media. In RAK, the adventure is just beginning.

Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority is the host partner of the 14th edition of the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference 2018 (AHIC), which will be held in a purpose-built AHIC Village on the beach of the Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah, UAE, from April 17 to April 19, 2018.



Ralph Nader, C ‎ EO of Amber Consulting, offers a comprehensive analysis of business and investment opportunities in Tehran’s hospitality sector In 2016, the easing of sanctions brightened Tehran’s market-growth prospects, allowing it to build on the city’s other strengths, which include its status as Iran’s capital, a large population and a strong commercial sector. The tourism sector seems to be at the forefront of growth plans, with the Iranian government having unveiled an incentive plan granting years of tax exemption to both domestic and foreign investors in the hospitality industry. Likewise, the government’s national outlook plan aims to increase the number of tourist arrivals from 4.8 million in 2014 to 20 million in 2025. International hotels Due to a high inflow of business travelers visiting Iran over the past years, there has been an increase in demand for branded hotels, operated by international hotel chains. The French multinational AccorHotels Group was the first international chain to begin operating in Iran after the lifting of sanctions, opening a Novotel at Imam Khomeini Airport and an Ibis brand, with plans to develop across the different segments in Iran’s major cities, including Tehran. Similarly, Rotana Hotels & Resorts has signed management agreements for four hotels in Iran, with plans to open two in Tehran this year. Development of Iranian-owned hotels About 13 percent of hotels in Tehran categorize themselves as 4- and 5-star, despite not necessarily meeting internationally recognized standards for such classifications. Iranian-owned hotels have been opening in rapid succession in the past two years, upgrading their services and enhancing their managerial operations. The 84-room Aramis Boutique Hotel and the 550-room lavish Espinas Palace Hotel are two such examples. New segments For years, Tehran has been primarily sought out by business travelers. However, following the lifting of sanctions, the government is expanding Tehran’s tourism appeal by sharpening its focus on the development of other sectors, namely:




DAWN OF A NEW ERA • Leisure tourism – Supported by the city’s cultural attractions and rich heritage • Religious tourism – Building on Tehran’s position as the central point for religious tourists visiting pilgrimage sites in Iran • Health tourism – Capitalizing on the high quality of healthcare to attract growing numbers of medical tourists from the region The construction industry has therefore been working on renovating old buildings and transforming them into boutique hotels to accommodate all types of visitors, with a focus on modern, mid-range properties that will cater to young Iranians traveling domestically, as well as international tourists. F&B industry: new vision and extensions Iranian and international restaurant chains are entering Tehran and also expanding there. Western food franchises have started returning to the capital’s food market, with the French entrepreneur Amaury de la Serre, who has opened a high-end sushi chain, titled Sushi Shop, one name now operating in the city. Spain’s Telepizza, the largest non-US-based pizza delivery company in the world, opened its first outlet in July 2017 through an Iranian group, and is preparing to invest 100 million euros to expand nationwide. To invest or not to invest? Given Tehran’s large population of 8.7 million people, relatively high level of GDP per capita and large consumer market, it’s easy to see why the city would be a draw for foreign investors, alongside the country’s other populous hubs, such as Mashhad, which is home to 3 million people, Isfahan (1.9 million), and Karaj, Tabriz and Shiraz (1.5 million each). However, a degree of uncertainty continues to hang over Iran, and investors should act cautiously. Risk is priced in While international investors are considering Tehran for business and investment, many are still wary about investing straightaway. Besides the obvious geo-political risks, there

are other limitations to consider, including: • Limited advancement. Iran’s long-term detachment from the international banking system means the knowledge and expertise in modern financial services is restricted. • Separate standards. The banking sector is behind those of Iran’s peers and most firms do not yet adhere to international accounting standards. • Complex interactions. Iran lacks an efficient foreign exchange market which increases the complexity of moving money in and out of the country easily. • High rent scheme. The combination of a down payment and a monthly rent scheme in Tehran produces rents per-squaremeter that are often higher than those found in mature cities like Paris, London and New York China: number one foreign investor For many years, China has been a close ally of Iran, largely ignoring the West’s sanctions that were paralyzing the country, while European competitors struggled to convince banks to fund their Iranian projects. • Leading business partner. As a result, China is now Iran’s primary trade partner, contributing to over 40 percent of the country’s exports and imports. • Infrastructure investments. China’s One Belt One Road initiative promises more than USD 1 trillion in infrastructure investments, including bridges, rails, ports and energy projects across Europe, Asia and Africa in over 60 countries, including Iran, facilitating the tourism flow in and out of Tehran. • Oil exchange. With Iran cut off from global markets due to sanctions, China has been flooding Iran with consumer goods and services in exchange for oil, importing more than 441,000 barrels each day.




Traditionally a tourismreliant economy with a long-standing reputation as a favored destination, thanks to its iconic landmarks and dazzling attractions, Egypt has faced turbulent times in recent years. However, there are signs that it has now turned a corner. Karim Khalife, partner at Y2 Consulting, sheds light on the country’s muchanticipated revival



Egypt has transformed over time from a cultural and historic heritagecentered country to a more diversified and leisure-oriented, mass-tourism market. As such, it has become the country of choice for a diverse touristic experience, combining culture, adventure and relaxation, which has provided it with resilience to confront the significant challenges it has faced since 2011. Challenging headwinds Prior to 2011, Egypt was one of the world’s largest tourist destinations and the main draw for travelers visiting north Africa, welcoming 14.7 million visitors annually. In 2010, the sector employed about 12 percent of Egypt’s workforce, generated revenues of nearly USD 12.5 billion and contributed more than 10 percent of GDP. However, the political and economic instability following the 2011 Egyptian revolution and the military coup in 2013 shattered Egypt’s tourism sector, while also severely damaging the associated hotels, restaurants and related services. The economic ripples of this downward spiral were further exacerbated by a series of terrorist attacks and airline disasters, beginning with the downing of a Russian airliner in Sharm el-Sheikh in October 2015, killing all 224 passengers — most of them tourists — which led to Russian flight bans and flight restrictions from other countries. Although the country has been marred

by political turmoil and social unrest, the sector began to show signs of recovery at the end of 2016 following the devaluation of the Egyptian pound. It continued to bounce back through 2017, though performances remained below their peak levels of 2010.

A strong indicator of Egypt’s mature tourism industry and promising future is the upcoming pipeline of capital-intensive luxury hotel developments, driven by both government reforms and incentives Reversing Egypt’s fortunes Egypt was the second-fastest-growing tourism market in the world in 2017, according to a United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) report, with local officials reporting that industry revenues jumped by 170 percent in the first seven months of the year. Arrivals totaled 5.9 million between January and September, the Ministry of Tourism reported, up from 3.8 million over the same period in 2016. By the end of 2017, visitor numbers had risen to 7.263 million, with forecasts from BMI indicating that volumes could reach 9 million by 2021. The government has recently embarked on significant efforts to boost the sector, including devaluing the Egyptian pound, which has helped to attract tourists looking for a low-cost

banking on the market’s long-term growth potential, have maintained their development plans for Egypt, with a number of high-profile hotel openings expected by 2019. Egypt is the leader in new hotel developments in Africa with more than 50 hotel projects currently underway. It is in this context that Starwood decided to penetrate the Egyptian market by launching the ST. Regis hotel, set to open in March, a project representing a total investment of USD 1 billion. Hilton hotels worldwide has also announced recently that it aims to increase the number of hotel rooms it manages in Egypt by 40 percent by the end of 2022. Similarly, Emaar Hospitality Group has revealed plans to develop a hotel, Vida Marassi Marina, in Marrasi resort on the Mediterranean coast, as the first project under the company’s Vida Hotels and Resorts brand in Egypt.

destination. The country also issued a new investment law (no72 of 2017) as part of its endeavor to fulfil the needs of the local business community and attract foreign direct investment. Hallmarks of the law include incentives, investment guarantees, reduced bureaucracy and simplified processes and procedures. The General Authority for Investment and Free Zones (GAFI) is playing a key role by acting as a one-stop-shop for all investmentrelated licensing procedures. Egypt is also offering incentives and reducing levies for airlines and tour operators in order to draw more visitors to the country. On a separate, but equally important note, the security situation has improved and flight restrictions are easing, after the government spent millions of dollars tightening airport security procedures. Egypt has been working in particular on resuming air travel between Cairo and Moscow, while several agreements have been signed recently with China and Romania, paving the way for bilateral promotion of the tourism sector. An optimistic outlook A strong indicator of Egypt’s mature tourism industry and promising future is the upcoming pipeline of capitalintensive luxury hotel developments, driven by both government reforms and incentives, and the long standing, strong tourism fundamentals which are at the very base of the Egyptian economy. Global hotel operators,

Healthcare tourism is another niche area ripe for growth, driven forward by the development of medical centers at tourist resorts, as evidenced by Porto Ghalib in Marsa Alam and the Marassi project on the north-west coast Another key example of the commitment of international chains to continue their long-term development plans in the country is the signing of InterContinental Hotel Group for a 187room new hotel to be built in Cairo. BMI expects the number of hotels in Egypt to number around 930 by 2021, up from 730 in 2017. Egypt’s revitalized tourism sector is also considered to be diverse and dynamic, holding the potential to grow well beyond the traditional cultural and leisure segments. Among the highly promising niche areas witnessing investments are residential tourism, together with the eco, business, conference and religious segments. Healthcare tourism is another niche area ripe for growth, driven forward by the development of medical centers at tourist resorts, as evidenced by Porto Ghalib in Marsa Alam and the Marassi project on the north-west coast. The Egyptian government itself acknowledges the importance of the industry, with the Tourism Development Authority (TDA) supporting the state’s policy of a sharp focus on tourism development, recognizing it as the second-highest contributor to gross national income. Among its key roles, the TDA manages and develops desert lands to establish tourist regions, and guarantees a flexible and efficient interaction

Quick facts • The IMF expects an increase in tourism revenues from an estimated USD 4.4 billion by the end of fiscal year 2017/2018, rising to USD 6.2 billion in 2018/2019, USD 8 billion in 2019/2020, USD 10.3 billion in 2020/2021 and eventually reaching USD 13.3 billion in 2021/2022. • Egypt benefits from diversified source markets across Europe, Africa, the Middle East and North America. Some European countries have relaxed travel advisories, which should continue to boost tourist numbers. • Egypt was honored as the best luxurious tourist destination in 2017 by the committee organizing the awards distribution ceremony of the Pacific Area Travel Writers Association. • Egypt offers good potential for domestic tourism. The government is strongly supporting this segment, investing in programs such as ‘Egypt is in Our Hearts', aimed at increasing the number of domestic visitors to destinations such as Luxor and Aswan. • While the country is well served by global and local 5-star hotel chains, there is considerable scope for investment in the 3-to4 star hospitality segments to cater to the projected increase in the number of tourists visiting the country. • Core areas looking promising for investment include: hotels; residential tourism; therapeutic tours; nature/desert safari; ecotourism; and medical/health tourism.

with investors. Positive forecasts of increasing visitor numbers and higher levels of capital expenditure, as well as progressive reforms resulting in a raft of decision-making and laws, provide an optimistic outlook for a country that has endured a tumultuous few years and make for good investment opportunities in the long term, building on a strong tourism foundation.






The ups and downs that the Middle East has experienced in recent years have weighed heavily on tourism. Instability, conflict, travel bans and economic crisis in some areas have all taken their toll on inflows of visitors and their ability to travel around the region and abroad, prompting governments to look inward to compensate. Nada Alameddine, partner at Hodema, elaborates Lebanon’s locals tap best-kept secrets A case in point is Lebanon, where conflict in neighboring Syria, followed by the travel ban on GCC residents, dealt major blows to the industry. However, more recently, relative political stability has benefited local businesses, with Lebanese themselves going back on the road to tour their country. Domestic tourism has always been the first sector to bounce back when things calm down, for the obvious reason that locals have firsthand experience of the changing situation on the ground. Another reason in Lebanon’s case is that given the small size of the country, day or overnight trips are easy to organize, and



in only a couple of hours you can get out of town, enjoy a change of scenery and take a breath of genuinely fresh air. Figures are there to support the trend; according to a BlomInvest Bank report, the domestic tourism industry has grown from USD 1.17 billion in 2016 to USD 1.19 billion in 2017. The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) confirms current momentum, while also forecasting a 4.3 percent yearly rise until 2027, at which point it expects domestic tourism expenditure to reach USD 2.35 billion. Being an ‘inner tourist’ also implies that you know the ins and outs of your country and won’t necessarily only head for the obvious attractions, such as Jbeil, Baalback or Beiteddine, that foreign visitors favor when they arrive on a short trip, but rather explore much wider options. Some will opt for religious or historical sites, or go for a stroll in urban areas, where walking tours are now offered, while others will choose outdoor sports, such as hiking, skiing and trekking or simply indulging their love for local delicacies by visiting eateries and wineries from north to south of the country. However, the new kid on the block is definitely rural tourism, incorporating a broad range of segments that range from nature and community to eco and agrobased tourism, all offering a fresh take on the country and its unspoiled landscapes. This success, supported by traditional rural friendliness, relies on the setting up of guesthouses and Bed and Breakfast (B&B) facilities, many of which are enrolled in the Diyafa association, a network in the rural tourism and hospitality industry promoting guesthouses across Lebanon. It gathers together 30 establishments under one umbrella, offering 181 rooms across the country, from the snowy mountains of the Qadisha Valley to the coastline of Batroun down to Mount Lebanon, the

Bekaa Valley and Tyre. Their standards and prices vary, but all pride themselves on offering a unique take on tradition. The campaign ‘Live Love Lebanon’, launched in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism in 2014, has also been actively promoting local attractions, as well as the project Lebanon Industry Value Chain, supported by USAID. The drought in Gulf tourists, as well as the rise of middle class Western travelers, has shifted the hospitality offer from 5-star urban hotels to lower-cost and alternative establishments, both in and out of town. Lebanese visitors, who are seeking something different from the usual touristic offer, have proved to be instrumental in making these projects successful. Since they’re closer to home, local tourists are often looking for a different type of experience, in a price range that enables them to make more frequent trips. The fact

The main economic hub of Cairo is home to a growing middle class with rising purchasing power that tend to go to nearby areas for short stays on a regular basis that domestic tourists are not subject to costly flights and visa paperwork broadens the social spectrum, with local travelers varying in levels of disposable income. The hospitality and food and beverage offer thus needs to adjust to meet the requirements of this varied market. Supporting the common cause in Egypt In Egypt, domestic traveling now makes up 75 percent of the sector’s GDP, while foreign spending, which had been filling the coffers of the country for decades until the Arab Spring, is struggling to pick up, plagued by political instability which has also had a negative impact on the

Egyptian passport and left many locals struggling to get a visa to travel abroad. The main economic hub of Cairo is home to a growing middle class with rising purchasing power that tend to go to nearby areas for short stays on a regular basis. Many of them own an apartment, villa, or property within a mixed-use development compound, either outside Cairo or in a seaside resort, such as Marsa Alam on the Red Sea, or Porto Marina next to Alexandria. Flagship hotels that traditionally depend heavily on foreign visitors are also performing better, thanks to a change in strategy that has seen them shift their offer to local businesses hosting events for Egyptians, due to international traffic slowing down. The ‘My country is beautiful’ initiative launched in 2013 has also given a boost to the industry, with discounts offered to domestic travelers. In the aftermath of the Metrojet plane crash, the government also pledged USD 5 million to assist the initiative and President Sissi himself asked Egyptians to support local tourism. Cashing the bill in Jordan Jordan has been less successful in its efforts to boost hotel occupancy rates by enticing local travelers. While it continues to enjoy its status as a hotspot for foreigners, the country, renowned globally as a historical and beach destination, is seemingly being given the cold shoulder by its own residents. Almost 92 percent of travel spending comes from abroad, according to data from the WTTC. High fares and an expensive transportation system are cited as reasons for a poorly performing domestic travel market, with hotel owners pointing their fingers at hefty taxes and electricity fees that make it impossible for most Jordanians to afford overnight stays. Saudi Arabia’s charm If there is one example of a regional success story when it comes to local tourism, it has

to be Saudi Arabia, with the Kingdom representing the only country in which domestic traffic outpaces foreign visitor numbers. The authorities are betting big on the tourism sector in its entirety, by introducing a wide range of incentives and measures through the long-term strategy for the country - Vision 2030. By 2027, the industry is expected to contribute more than 11.1 percent of total GDP, according to the WTTC, in a boom that will also benefit local visitors. According to research by Euromonitor International, the country will see a 40 percent rise in the number of internal trips made between

Hotel owners pointing their fingers at hefty taxes and electricity fees that make it impossible for most Jordanians to afford overnight stays 2015 and 2020 in growth that will most likely outstrip the increase in foreign arrivals. Vision 2030 has outlined an ambitious plan to increase household spending on cultural and entertainment activities inside the country from 2.9 percent to six percent. Initiatives such as ‘Live Saudi Arabia’ and ‘Leave No Trace’ are encouraging locals to visit historical sites and preserve the environment. ‘The Colours of Saudi Arabia’ forum organizes photography events and thousands of visits each year to the popular Janadriyaha and Jeddah Ghair festivals. Numerous hospitality projects are also underway in the cities of Riyadh, Jeddah and Al Khobar. More than 60,000 new rooms are currently in the pipeline in the capital city alone, while a record 68 new hotels opened across the country in 2017. Several international brands, including Nobu Hospitality and Rocco Forte Hotels, have recently made their debut in the local market.

Spoiled for choice in the UAE The UAE remains eclipsed by neighboring Saudi Arabia when it comes to local tourism, with domestic spending reaching just 26 percent of the direct Travel & Tourism GDP in 2016, compared with 73.9 percent for foreign visitors. These figures can be attributed primarily to the difficulties involved in obtaining a visa to enter Saudi Arabia, while entering the UAE is a much easier process for foreigners, irrespective of whether their visit is for leisure or work. New attractions form part of broader efforts to encourage Emiratis to remain closer to home. In Dubai, diverse projects, ranging from a new extension to the Dubai Mall and the Dubai Design District (D3) to an opera house, the Etihad Museum and even a virtual reality park are springing up. Food-savvy residents will also find additional places of interest to tempt them, such as La Mer - a development by Meraas - and Marsa Al Seef. Abu Dhabi is also keeping pace with its peers, with new leisure hotspots, such as Saadiyat Island, which has made a name for itself with the opening of the Louvre Museum, Al Reem Island and Yas Island, attracting visitors in their droves. The northern emirates also have a lot to offer, including sandy beaches a stone’s throw from home and large hotels attracting more and more visitors. Ras al Khaimah has unveiled new attractions, such as an observatory and the world’s longest zipline in Jebel Jais, a whole range of food festivals and the largest aerial firework shell on Al Marjan Island. Moreover, the ‘no alcohol’ policy in some hotels, which can be a disincentive for foreigners, won’t deter residents who make up most of the clientele.






#TravelBrilliantly Photo by Bethany Marie | St Kitts

The hospitality industry has found itself in the midst of a changing environment, faced with the continuing rise of social media and the challenges of adjusting to this phenomenon. So what can hotels do to adapt and develop a strategy that ensures they engage the market effectively? Serge Chamelian, managing partner of h-hotelier, has some answers In this modern age of online presence and online bookings, the battle for hotels to maximize the benefits of direct bookings is never-ending. It is a fight that requires acrobatic balance, since hotels don’t want to burn their bridges with online travel agents, such as or Expedia. But with the help of online booking engines, hotels can increase their look-to-book ratios and convert more current and future bookings. It’s a fact that hotels are struggling to implement social media in the strategic and professional way needed to reap its benefits. Capturing new leads through social media can be challenging, but if hotels take the time to nurture their social media following, they have the ability to convert those followers into valued customers. So how should hotels start developing direct booking strategies?

opportunity to persuade them to return later. For this to work, the hotel’s social media strategy has to promote real and valuable benefits. Then, hotels can attract and encourage social media customers to book directly through their website, as follows: • Booking via social media platforms, such as Facebook Social media customers are spending a great deal of time on social channels. They turn to platforms like Facebook for research and information, especially during the booking process. Having an online booking engine that can integrate with Facebook is crucial for converting this group of travelers.

A hotel should first identify its social media strategy’s goals and choose the appropriate platform that best targets its current and prospective customers. Then, its focus needs to be maintaining a purposeful engagement with its customers through photos, videos and comments, alongside others.

• Loyalty incentives for booking direct Social media customers can easily become a property’s most loyal guests, since they love brands that deliver a great guest experience and remain loyal to hotels that acknowledge them and make them feel special. Be smart about attracting and converting this group of visitors by creating loyalty incentives for booking direct, such as having a bottle of wine ready for them on their arrival or following up post-stay with a next-booking discount.

Hotels need to begin by strengthening their marketing tools and growing their pool of prospects so potential guests are not lost forever. It’s about capturing leads via targeted marketing campaigns, such as email marketing, Facebook posts, paid advertisements, posts, videos and photos. The goal is to engage website visitors who are not ready to book now and use the

Hotels can also post videos of an event taking place in real time or photographs of something happening at the hotel, which helps to keep followers in the know about what’s going on. This generates interest and excitement among people who are just beginning to research their next trip, while also providing useful information for those currently staying at the hotel. In addition,



hotels can have an interactive concierge app linked to their social media pages, allowing guests to obtain the information they need wherever they are and at any time. For example, Marriott developed and implemented an effective social media strategy, titled #TravelBrilliantly, which encourages customers to submit their own recommendations for improving the travel experience. Users can vote for their favorite ideas, some of which could then be implemented. This successful campaign is used widely on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, making it a versatile and effective component of the brand’s broader social media strategy. It also helps to write down where direct bookings are today and where you want them to be next year and longer term. Once a hotel website has reached the stage of being well-designed, with quality content, is search-engine optimized and offers a ‘Book now’ button, remarketing is always the smart follow-up action to consider. Any hotel direct booking business plan should document technology solutions, search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, social media campaigns, advertising programs and email remarketing funnels. The average independent hotelier will not have the time, budget or ability to implement all of these solutions, so prioritization will be a key part of the business planning process.

Lions Bldg. First Floor Office 101 Maamary Street, Hamra Beirut-Lebanon


T:+961 1 747 009 M:+961 71 436 368




MAJOR SHIFT IN THE HOTEL DINING EXPERIENCE Gebran N. Bekhazi, managing partner of The Food Studio, offers practical solutions on how to radically reverse the downward trend of hotel F&B All day diner (ADD) concepts have always been the center of attention and the main element that hotel operators rely on to create that ‘wow’ factor in terms of offering overwhelming food offerings. However, in recent years, they have been under scrutiny. Hotel operators are more concerned about filling up their restaurants through the three main meals of the day without having to worry about huge wastage and low turnover resulting from the lunch and dinner buffets. Property owners and operators have been struggling to mitigate all the risks related to developing successful breakfast, lunch and dinner concepts. We have put most 5-star hotels and resorts in the MENA/GCC regions under the microscope in order to benchmark against global players and analyzed what they have come up with in terms of innovative offerings to replace the allday diner genre, but failed to identify even one successful transformation.

Six instead of three At Food Studio, we believe that it goes beyond the three main meals of the day and have identified six meals per day: breakfast; lunch; dinner; tea time; happy hour; and snacks. To tackle these challenges, we have noted the implementation of different hybrid strategies and approaches:



• Many operators are implementing grab-and-go concepts to complement their traditional room service and to cater for the quick service demand of the clients looking for a speedy, casual and inexpensive meal solution. • F&B experts have also highlighted in 2017/18 industry reports the major trend of marrying artisan craftsmanship to a restaurant. We have seen it in a couple of steakhouses that have gone global. Hotels are therefore becoming a destination. • Moreover, recent studies have shown that hotel clients expect a local experience rather than a ‘deja-vu’ look and feel when visiting a property. Operators are incorporating local products, such as farm-to-table dining. Guest can now enjoy locally handharvested, fresh produce in addition to adopting sustainable and environmentally friendly practices, which, significantly, is proving to be appealing to Millennials. Over-and-above operators are now deeply involved in organizing local activities to differentiate their property from others. • Breakfast is the next big thing and should be the new brunch. Forbes Magazine calls it ‘brunchfast’. Breakfast buffet items should be ramped up to include non-traditional morning items, like chicken, chorizo and other crunchy stuff, rather than the old-style soft items. This trend will also make space to have all day breakfast items.

Health-food aficionados; fitness and environment-conscious diners need to be catered for • The role of vegetables in food and drinks is expanding at a rapid pace. As per Mintel’s 2017 Global Food and Drink Report, plantbased food is expected to explode into the mainstream this year. According to new figures from the Vegan Society, the number of vegans in the UK has risen 350 percent

over the past 10 years, with 42 percent aged between 15 and 34 (the generation of Millennials). In the US alone, the annual meat consumption per person has fallen 15 percent from 2014 to 2015. With that in mind, most hotels are trying their best to have an exhaustive vegan offering available. • Everyone wants a better deal: that was the motto of 2017 and it seems to be spilling over into 2018. People are going out of their way to find vouchers, coupons and customer loyalty programs that can help them redeem an immediate reward. Hotel programs have been offering major instant discounts for cardholders at their restaurants. • Social multipurpose space is starting to take much of the importance from the traditional restaurant confinements and an open-seating concept can be expanded to other, larger areas of a hotel. • Entertaining the guest: this trend is in growing demand as most clients enjoy some inter-activity and live stations, along with the resulting creations. We are seeing more and more chefs come out of the comfort of their kitchen to mingle with clients. A new ‘modus operandi’ needs to be implemented, taking into consideration the afore-mentioned trends, which would allow clients to engage in a large display of food and cooking-station activity, while minimizing wastage and optimizing occupancy, with enough attractions to win market share. Making this shift has also proved to be challenging for interior designers, with whom we are working closely to morph the traditional ADD into interesting and unique concepts.

EuropEan dairy products The tastiest moments of your day!



SUNSET BEIRUT THE CAPITAL’S MOST GLOWING CLUSTER Venture Group, the specialty leisure, tourism and real estate development company joined forces with CTD Development, landowner and investor of the project, to embark on its biggest project to date that promises to take the F&B sector on a ‘tour de force’ for the coming years The cluster will introduce the inhabitants of Beirut to the next real estate wave soon to wash onto the Mediterranean coastline of Ramlet el Bayda. The area, which features high consumer spending power, will host this all-year round community project constituting Beirut’s only sea-view cluster where the sun rises and sets, in style. The plot of land was previously selected by the US government to become the American Embassy in Lebanon. The developers believe that a project of this kind reflects the current market’s maturity in the F&B industry, which saw restaurants moving from a single free-standing model to a cluster-based one. This has become the dominant model in light of the everincreasing land prices, overhead and potential financial risks involved. Double the size of The Backyard in Hazmieh, the development will however feature about the same number of outlets thereby making room for bigger public spaces simply because the entire outing experience has taken on a different kind of dynamic based on a diverse range of services. The number of limited outlets will not only offer variety, but also a kind of exclusivity. Sunset Beirut has a one-of-a-kind location, a breath-taking view, great accessibility and high visibility. To make full use of this feature, the terraces built will allow visitors to see and be seen. At night, the inner court will be the vibrant center and will welcome different kinds of clientele thereby offering multi-purpose functionality in the existing space. In other words, it is a time-based project catering to families as well as couples and adults. Furthermore, all the outlets operating there will enjoy a similar view. The space is being designed to operate on an all-year-round basis despite being right next to the sea, which usually implies seasonal functionality. The main consideration to take away from this project is that it falls into the casual outing category that is quite moderately priced making it affordable to most. The external layer of shops to the passersby offer



a laid-back positioning. Yet the deeper you go into that space, the more that positioning changes and is elevated to offer a more sophisticated kind of experience. Another noteworthy landmark feature in-line with the project’s positioning is the incorporation of a discernable, visible and legible design that airplane passengers flying into Beirut can identify. Central to the project’s selling points is that it fully complies with the requirements set by the Investment Development Authority of Lebanon (IDAL). More importantly, the government has officially recognized this investment as a project that enhances the quality and lifestyle of the people in that area and creates 400 new jobs. It therefore complies with the existing rules and regulations set for touristic destinations making it eligible for exemption on some governmental fees and income tax for a 10-year period.

The area, which features high consumer spending power, will host this all-year round community project constituting Beirut’s only sea-view cluster where the sun rises and sets, in style With IDAL’s support on lowering some costs, it will allow the developer to price the rent at an unusually affordable level, especially considering the location, land value and sea view. Furthermore, Beirut’s municipality plans the revamping of the public park on a plot of land adjoining the project thereby further extending the value proposition on offer. The cluster will offer visitors a calendar of seasonal events making the destination quite lively while providing an added value for repeated visitors. To further that proposition, strategically–placed kiosks will be made available for rent to third parties as a way of introducing an additional layer of novelty to the entire experience. This constitutes another reason to revisit the site, which will constantly offer something new all year round.

Project facts and figures • Size of land: 10,000 m² • Footprint: 3,600 m² • Landscape area: 6,400 m² • Parking basement: 10,000 m² • Jobs created: 400 Outlets • F&B outlets: 16 (14 restaurants/cafés and 2 pubs) • Kids entertainment area (1,500 m²) • A gourmet food area and a beauty care facility APR-MAY 2018 | HOSPITALITY NEWS ME





“The first step before entering any new jurisdiction is to undertake broad legal due diligence of the laws and regulations applying to the franchise relationship you are about to enter,” according to Scott Antel, partner at the international law firm, Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP. Here are 10 key issues regional franchisors must take account of when considering franchising their businesses to the US or to Europe 1. Legal status of the franchise relationship Many countries (the US, most EU counties and China) have specific franchise laws, whereas other countries variously treat the franchise relationship under their civil codes as a commercial agency, a license of rights or a personal services contract. Knowing the contractual status will significantly impact how you draft your franchise agreement to protect your rights and limit your exposure. 2. Disclosure and registration requirements Many countries have disclosure obligations, which the franchisor must provide to the hotel owner seeking to franchise the brand and system. Penalties for failure to comply can be severe. Other countries require that the franchise contract is registered to make it valid. This can be in addition to the obligation to register the brand marks and name with the local trademark authority. These registrations can be time consuming, so addressing this early will prevent delays in implementing your franchise. 3. Secondary liability of franchisor In some jurisdictions, a franchisor can be held secondarily liable for the wrongful third-party actions of the franchisee under the agency doctrine of ‘respondeat superior’. Franchisors need to structure their franchise agreement (FA) relationships to minimize their business exposure in such cases as well



as ensuring that the franchisee is adequately insured for such events and provides indemnity guaranties to the franchisor in the event of a secondary liability claim.

franchisor to have approval over the hotel operator, if third party, for example, at least over the appointed general manager and other executive personnel.

4. Termination rights/rights of renewal In many jurisdictions, a franchisee will have automatic rights of renewal of the FA unless the franchisor can establish ‘justifiable grounds’ for early termination or nonrenewal. This can often be difficult to prove. Franchisors need to have clear standards and measures to establish whether a franchisee is in violation of the FA and they need to document and notify the franchisee of violations in order to support any later claim for termination.

8. Choice of law and arbitration Given the varied legal status of franchise relationships noted above and the fact that the franchisor will be the ‘foreign invader party’ in the relationship, select a governing law that you are comfortable with and which protect your rights to the brand and system. Although local mandatory legal provisions may override certain FA provisions under a foreign law contract, at least you will have greater control over the relationship. The use of a neutral foreign arbitration venue can protect against any local court bias where local law is used.

5. Territorial and exclusivity limits Franchisees will frequently seek to have certain territorial exclusivity for use of the franchised brand and system. These can often conflict with local competition laws and need to be checked and modified so as to be enforceable. 6. Taxes Most MENA countries have relatively limited double-tax treaty relationships with other countries, given the historical absence – or limited application of – profits taxation in the region. However, franchise fees payable from most countries to a MENA-based franchisor will be subject to a withholding tax which can range from 10 to 30 percent. Make sure you either structure the relationship in a way that can avail of an applicable tax treaty or provide language in the FA (e.g., ‘gross up’ provisions) as to who bears any withholding tax on the franchise fees. 7. Approval of operator A hotel franchise will only be successful if the hotel is operated by someone with experience of running a property to the level of an international hotel and to the brand’s standards. Make sure the FA allows for the

9. Key money structure It is increasingly common for the franchisor to pay the franchisee a certain amount of ‘key money’ as an inducement to enter into the FA. Often, this is applied to convert the hotel to the brand standards. Make sure that any key money advanced has specific restrictions on what it is used for. Review how such payments are structured as they can have potentially negative profits, tax and VAT consequences for the franchisee. 10. Owner guaranty In a foreign market, the franchisor is likely to have less knowledge about the business reputation and soundness of the counterparty. Apart from undertaking the obvious counterparty commercial and reputational due diligence, make sure that any personal or parent company guarantees offered are structured in a way that means they can be enforceable and collected. This is particularly important when dealing with new or individual franchisee counterparties as opposed to larger institutional parties.





Manal Syriani, senior consultant at N4TC, explores the trap of organized chaos which is a business model adopted by some hospitality organizations that are often small in size or individual operators As consultants for hospitality businesses, we have noticed certain patterns emerging in business strategies that we apply strictly to the Middle East. By reflecting on those patterns, we aim to understand the aspects of the local hospitality industry.

What is organized chaos? This is a system or process that appears chaotic to an outsider, while having just enough order to achieve positive results. Usually, such systems depend primarily on one individual that has the key to the matrix. Changing any component of the matrix without addressing the entire process will likely result in negative outcomes. Often, such instances are linked to limited support from administration functions.

Why not? While such a system appears to be working just fine, it could become a challenge if expansion is being considered. Owners will likely be stuck in a business module that cannot be transmitted or duplicated, hence limiting the potential for growth.



How to untangle

Check points

1. Identify the starting point in each layer of the matrix. Think of the critical points that the business will need to operate efficiently and independently. You want your business to rely on systems that allow traceability and accountability, and not on people.

Conditioning can be hard to break. While your efforts will be well placed, you might find yourself falling back into old traps. You will need a support system to keep on track.

2. Returning to the core values, vision and the end-in-mind when you began the business would be a good starting point.

1. Communication is key. Your employees are your main asset. Always listen to your key staff and involve them in the decision-making process. Managing through committees could be a good strategy.

3. Follow cycles. Work within cycles that have a clear beginning and end, namely: i. Product cycle (i.e. raw materials and resources, processing and the final product) ii. Guest cycle (i.e. communication, engagement, the experience and aftersales follow-up) iii. Employee cycle (i.e. engagement, job requirements, learning and development, benefits, and motivation) iv. Financial cycle (i.e. cash inflows, cash outflows, control and red flags)

2. As owner, you are part of the system, therefore keeping yourself organized is essential. The framework for your involvement in the company should be set. A system should be in place to support you and provide you with the tools needed to maintain your current status quo.

4. Think within the box and step back to basics. While thinking outside the box has its benefits and will help differentiate your business, this should only be considered after the main policies and procedures have been laid out and implemented. At this stage, you might want to go back to basics to ensure the organization is in place.

Manal Syriani holds a bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management from the Lebanese University. She joined N4TC in 2008, after gaining five years of experience in hotels. Syriani has contributed to the development of feasibility studies and financial restructuring for concepts in hospitality, and to the strategic restructuring of restaurant brands. She has also developed hotel and restaurant concepts in Lebanon and other MENA countries, including implementing a customer relationship management (CRM) module for restaurants.

5. A second set of eyes always helps. Involve experts that can help you identify where things went wrong. A consultant or coach will help you identify how to break patterns and think of new connections that are within the acknowledged hospitality standards, while keeping your specific identity intact.

About N4TC




"MINOS" Soft Nougat with Greek Yogurt Soft nougat in long-cases 150gm available in four unique combinations: Soft nougat with lemon & peanuts, cranberries & almonds, blueberries & almonds, and with pecan & caramel. CANDIA NUTS S.A

Invest in the right products and equipment to make cooking easier. Here’s a good place to start

New Diet Coke Flavors Elle & Vire Desserts Coca-Cola is launching four new Patissiers flavors of Diet Coke - Ginger Lime, Feisty Cherry, Zesty Blood Orange and Twisted Mango. The new flavors hit the stores shelves in the US in a new skinny 12-ounce can. The Coca-Cola Company

A new line of innovative and indulgent desserts that called on the talent and creativity of a renowned pastry chef: Nicolas Boussin. Two classic desserts with a modern twist. ELLE & VIRE

Goat Labneh, Kechek, Shanklish, Goat Cheese Wild forage organic milk of goats and ewes from the Lebanese mountains and without any additives or preservatives. GO BALADI


The Dyson Airblade Wash+Dry The hand dryer combines in a single touch-less unit a tap and a hand dryer that dries hands in 14 seconds with HEPA-filtered air. DYSON

Stouff A new take on the traditional Lebanese stove, designed by MAD architecture and design, a firm located in Amchit, Lebanon. Stouff won the best Object Design 2017 at Beirut Design Fair. MAD ARCHITECTURE & DESIGN OFFICE

Combi-Planet from Zanolli is a combination of ovens set as one modular unit, perfect in bakery and/or pastry shops, or in hotel kitchens with a highly diversified production, and where every food product has the need of a different type of cooking treatment. Combi-Planet is a combination of convection oven(s), deck oven(s), proofer and built-in hood. EQUIP’HOTEL

‘Bela Opes’ for Kettal Objects

Corvaglia Creazioni

A range of outdoor decoration products, which includes rope puffs and planters designed by Emiliana Design Studio. The new puff and the ‘Bela Ropes’ 17-color rope range are designed by Doshi Levien. KETTAL

'Buffet' display for fish, refrigerated and self-emptying products. The basic model, equipped with a capacious tank (self-draining) for ice and a car powered by 12V, is flanked by the more sophisticated 'DANIELA' model, more powerful and with a greater amount of accessories. CORVAGLIA CREAZIONI






Some of the most innovative breadmaking and baking machines currently on offer on the market

KARAKI FOR INDUSTRY AND TRADING SARL Wood-Fired Oven This newly-introduced oven merges tradition with technology and is an authentic hybrid of the original wood/gas version. The oven is available in five different sizes including the 110 and 140 cm baking space, is hand crafted, has customizable tiles, is delivered preassembled with external covering, can be supplied with or without a tubular iron stand and is primarily used to bake pizza, mankeesh and Arabic bread.

SALTEK Pita and Flatbread Lines Founded in 1978, SALTEK, a leading Middle Eastern manufacturer of bakery equipment, has successfully combined past tradition and experience with the latest technology to offer its clients who are based in more than 90 countries worldwide the best in modern equipment for the production of excellent pita (Arabic) bread and various types of flatbread, including chapati and tortilla varieties. The firm’s core manufacturing activity includes the design and production of equipment and production lines for these and other products. SALTEK is also a trusted partner in consulting, decision-making, implementing and after-sales operational support for many successful international pita bread producers. SALTEK’S lines are produced in accordance with the requirements of the European Directive under 2006/42/EC (CE Marking), fulfilling safety and hygiene standards for both operators and products, as stipulated by the European Community. The producer is also an ISO: 9001:2008 Quality Management System certified company.

FARHAT BAKERY EQUIPMENT LTD. CO Direct-Fired Gas Infrared Ribbon Pipes Tunnel Oven Is suitable for fast cooking at high temperatures above 350 °C. The baking band can be firestone, natural stone, steel base or mesh depending on intended use. The dough is cooked over the belt itself. It has independent top and bottom multi zone heat controls and a built-in program for managing recipes, as well as cooking speeds.



EXTRA FOUR SARL Stacker and Counter for Pita, Lebanese and Arabic Bread This fully-automated smart machine has the ability to work with a variety of breads. It automatically counts and stacks the freshly-baked loaves based on a preassigned number and recipe. Its various functions can easily be controlled using an LCD touch screen. This product has also been designed to ensure that no hand comes into contact with the bread, further securing a previously unavailable level of cleanliness and hygiene.



ALTO-SHAAM Convection and Combi-Ovens

BIMATIC SARL Automatic Arabic Bread Production Line

A world class producer of commercial kitchen equipment for over 60 years, Alto-Shaam’s foodservice solutions include its Platinum Series gas and electric convection ovens that offer quick baking and roasting with easy-to-use controls. The gas option also features a unique, transverse-flow burner system that produces rapid heat recovery for uniform flow, resulting in even cooking without the need to rotate pans. The line’s Combitherm Combi Ovens, meanwhile, are all-inone solutions for efficient and consistent volume food production, doing the job of a convection oven, kettle, steamer, fryer, smoker and dehydrator. Voted top in the Foodservice Equipment & Supplies’ Best in Class survey, alongside the line’s Cook & Hold oven, the combi oven provides excellent performance, precision and quality and is available in a variety of models to suit all kitchens.

This full stainless steel Arabic bread machine produces loafs ranging between 15-38 cm in diameter, has a production capacity of 500–1000 loaves/hr., requires 60-70 m2 of floor space and can be assembled into three different configurations. It has low electricity consumption, is easily-maintainable, can be customized based on clients' demands and is ideal for restaurants, super markets and small bakeries.





OUR DAILY BREAD Nicolas Tsikis

Joanna Chang

Tastes might be changing, but baked fresh, using healthy, innovative, top quality ingredients, this centuries-old staple still has a bright future

Browse through most health and fitness advice and chances are you’ll find bread listed in the category of foods to cut down on or consume with caution, grouped in the carb-heavy bracket with fellow offenders, rice and pasta. Yet research suggests that bread in some forms is enjoying a new lease of life, buoyed by demand from today’s adventurous consumers who are keen to experiment and enjoy more unusual versions of this centuriesold staple. In fact, creative, healthier delicacies, such as multigrain sourdough and rye bread, for example, are flying off the shelves, especially those of smaller, artisan bakeries.

So what’s really going on in the bread market?

Greg Nercessian



Are we turning away from this foodstuff, so long a part and parcel of our daily diet, or

embracing it? It would seem the answer is yes on both accounts, according to industry experts. Consumers, it would appear, have lost their appetite for overly processed bread, but are increasingly gravitating toward fresh, good quality, tasty, healthier options. Inspired by global travel, TV food programs, social media and the fitness/wellbeing drive, they are looking for bread that’s cleanly/ clearly labeled, creative and made with firstclass, natural, organic ingredients, research suggests. As Phyllis Enloe, vice-chair of the Board of Directors, Bread Bakers Guild of America, put it, “Consumers may not know why some bread taste better, but they recognize it when it does.” According to Euromonitor International’s Country Report, titled Baked Goods in the USA and published in December 2017, “Increasingly health-conscious US consumers have demonstrably moved away from highlyprocessed products containing artificial ingredients and flavors in recent years in favor of food perceived to be more natural due to shorter ingredient lists and less reliance on preservation methods.” The push to create, fresh, free-from products

in bringing new flavors and textures to both staples and novelties. “True ancient grains and specialty grains are hot,” Enloe told HN. “These include einkorn, emmer, khorasan, barley, spelt, buckwheat and more.” Chang agreed that grains such as teff, amaranth and khorasan were not only becoming as common as wheat and rye, but looked likely to hold their own going forward. “We're continuing to see all of these esoteric grains becoming more mainstream,” she said. “I think wholegrains are here to stay! The flavor and nutritional benefits are hard to deny.” While wholegrains might be in, other elements, such as gluten, are out for a growing number of foodies.

No gluten and a surge in flatbread In its overview for a separate report, published in January 2018 and titled Baked Goods in Western Europe, Euromonitor International highlighted this trend, noting, “Many consumers are opting to purchase gluten-free baked breads and cakes, and are also decreasing their consumption of standard bread.” Nicolas Tsikis, corporate executive chef at Alto-Shaam, renowned manufacturers of cook and hold ovens and hot-holding solutions, believes the trend is part of a broader return to heartier, traditional baking. “We’re getting away from the modern approach of lots of yeast and air and returning to plain, sometimes heavier baking, using top quality, natural ingredients. Gluten is among the items that customers don’t want,” he said.

is certainly gaining momentum among bakers as the industry moves to meet demand for products whose ingredients can be traced across the entire supply chain and are made with minimal processing.

Nutritional and flavor advantages to eating healthy Joanna Chang, US chef, owner of the Flour Bakery + Cafe, and James Beard Foundation Award winner for Outstanding Baker in 2016, believes that current trends, driven forward by a more savvy and discerning market, signal good news for artisan bakers. “I think people are much more aware and informed of their choices in what to put in their bodies,” she told HN. “We introduced a wholegrain campaign this year and the response has been tremendous. People are realizing the nutritional and flavor advantages of eating items made with wholegrains. We’re capitalizing on this by continuing to add more wholegrains to our foods and breads and pastries.” Ancient grains are proving especially popular, and were a key talking point at WheatStalk, the major US artisan baking event held recently, with spelt, sours, rye and kamut, along with others, playing a key part

Perhaps because of the shift away from gluten and move towards plain baking, unleavened and other ethnic flatbreads, such as roti, chapati, pita and tannour, the traditional Lebanese bread, are all enjoying a surge in popularity outside of their markets of origin.

help bakers get that extra crispiness they’re after, while other equipment, like modern mixers make it easier to work at the exact right speed,” he said. “The machines are cutting down on the work, making life easier and enabling bakers, some of whom are still following the old style of baking, to cook smart.” Enloe believes that over the years, engineers have learned how to design equipment geared toward better meeting the needs of the artisan baker, whose loaves tend to be softer, stickier and more fermented. “This equipment preserves the integrity of the loaf in a way that older technology does not,” she said, but added, “It is still important for the baker to make consistent dough that gets sent to the machines every day in order to get consistent results.” Nercessian agrees that consistency is crucial, especially for professionals working on a large scale. “Bakers making tannour bread require consistency and quality throughout the entire process, from the cutting stage, which ensures the exact thickness of the dough, to the cooking process; the entire process is interrelated,” he told HN. “Our ovens always give the same results, that’s our line’s guarantee. Users also have the reassurance that the ovens comply fully with European Community safety and hygiene standards.” Chang is perhaps the typical artisan baker, using a still deck oven for some of her artisan loaves, and rotating rack ovens and a combi for her bread. “The combi oven is new to us,” she explained. “It allows us to regulate steam and temperature in a very controlled environment that helps with our ciabatta which can be fickle.”


Greg Nercessian, marketing manager at Saltek, a leading Lebanese manufacturer in the production of pita bread and flatbread ovens, points out that tannour bread is not only gluten free, but is also made without sugar, another bonus for the health conscious. In fact, flatbreads have become so popular that even packaged varieties are selling well in western Europe, according to Euromonitor’s findings. “Bread types such as pitta, naan, tortilla and rote have increased their presence in supermarkets, and consumers are now exposed to a wider range of products,” it noted in its January report.

Whole Grain Einka - The Bejkr

Cooking smart Producing top quality bread time after time comes down to both the baker and the equipment, as top artisans acknowledge. Tsikis agrees that while there is plenty of equipment around now, bakers still need to be exceptional at what they do. “Today’s ovens cook more evenly and give the exact injection of water required to

Blacksmith's Breads APR-MAY 2018 | HOSPITALITY NEWS ME





Bassam Rizk Considered one of Lebanon’s most reputed makers of ancient and rustic breads, Prunelle SAL has been in operation since 1995, specifically serving the HORECA sector on a B2B basis. Since starting out with that original mission, the company’s original DNA has evolved to capture the attention of an ever-increasing audience, which values taste and quality above all else. Commenting, Bassam Rizk, CEO of Prunelle SAL said, “We have always insisted on using a selection of the finest ingredients and best raw materials available to us. Alongside our top manufacturing scheme, and with dedication and passion thrown into the mix too, Prunelle has managed to produce and offer its clients a product that today carries its own highly-distinct signature.” Equally renowned for its outstanding customer service, the company has successfully accommodated its clients’ changing tastes with a rich range of custommade products uniquely-tailored to their satisfaction. “However, despite these efforts, the local market faces a decrease in client purchasing power, which is seriously affecting daily average restaurant check-ins,” Rizk acknowledged. “Given that reality, and ensuring no compromise is made on raw materials used, we decided to further support



all customers by offering them appropriate products and services through a detailed and genuinely worthwhile loyalty program.” With the aim of furthering that proposition, Prunelle joined forces with M.H. Alshaya Co., a leading international franchise operator for some of the world’s most recognized brands, by co-establishing a new joint venture in Dubai under the name, Best Artisan Bakery (‘B.A.B’). The latter will operate in the service of Alshaya’s F&B division throughout the UAE with plans for regional expansion in the future. Elaborating on this exciting new collaboration, Rizk revealed, “The newly-built factory will combine traditional authentic bread-making know-how with innovative technologies, using automated production lines in a state-of-the-art facility in Dubai Industrial Park.”

The facility’s equipment abides by the industry’s most stringent international standards for bread processing, setting it in good stead to extend its reach even further, as Rizk explained. “The principal objective would be to introduce a Lebanese company’s products that produces unsurpassed quality breads by balancing tradition and innovation,” he said. “This may require some doing, but we hope it will eventually elevate our offering to a topof-mind positioning. Bear in mind that regional markets, especially the UAE, hold great promise and we are looking forward to making a difference by seducing a variety of taste buds with our high-end, mouth-watering products.”



INSPIRATION FROM THE PLANT KINGDOM Mike Di Tota, photo credit Sam Ortiz

HN had the opportunity to speak to Mike Di Tota, the renowned ‘Botanical Bartender’, and cocktail director of The Bonnie in Astoria, New York, to discuss the latest trends for using herbs in infusions, mocktails and cocktails.

Experimenting with greens, beans, and more

Tess Posthumus

According to Think with Google’s Beverages Trends Report 2017, earthy flavors, such as matcha, ginger and turmeric, are top of mind for consumers. Bartenders and drink creators around the world are giving herbs, roots and spices more of their attention than ever before 100


Syrups are one of my favorite ways to incorporate plant notes into a cocktail. Steeping soft herbs like tarragon, thyme or cilantro, in a slightly cooled 1:1 simple syrup releases their bright flavors, while heating hard spices like caraway seeds and allspice berries, activates their aromatic oils. Pureeing fresh mint into a simple syrup is a terrific way to extract its flavor without the hassle of muddling. It’s important to remember that soft herbs work best when chopped, pureed or steeped in warm syrup, but not cooked. (Heating mint over a flame will produce a rancid flavor.) Barks, roots and dried spices like cinnamon, whole cloves and coriander seeds, can be boiled to infuse a simple syrup; exposing them to heat releases their flavors. I think a perfect drink stimulates multiple senses, so the garnish is an important opportunity to create a visual preview of the cocktail’s flavors, as well as an aroma to precede each sip. Delicate wild honeysuckle blossoms, scented geranium leaves and fennel fronds are lovely atop a glass; fresh bay leaves and thyme can add great savory aromas. Liquor infusions are another simple way to introduce complexity to a drink. Dried herbs and flowers, like lavender, chamomile, and bay leaves are better suited to infusing liquors than fresh herbs and flowers: they impart maximum flavor in minimum time. Infusing chamomile into gin is a personal favorite pairing: the flowers give the spirit a beautiful golden hue, and the floral flavor is an unexpected counterpoint to the spirit’s juniper notes. Lavender is a lovely aromatic match for vermouth blanc; dried hibiscus flowers add both a tannic astringency and a vibrant ruby color to tequila. There’s a whole botanical world for both home bartenders and seasoned bar professionals to explore, and you don’t have to be a bitters geek to incorporate herbs and flowers into your drinks. The light bulb moment for me was when I realized that every liquor comes from a plant, in some way: roots, bark, stems, seeds, flowers, fruit and vegetables. My two paths converged when horticulture and mixology collided, and I continue to learn more from their interaction every day.

BAKER’S DOZEN MOCKTAIL Ingredients • 1 ounce blackberry fig syrup (recipe follows) • 1/2 ounce Haber’s Tonic syrup • 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice • Soda water • Dried Lebanese Style Aphrodisiac Tea, for garnish Blackberry fig syrup • 1 quart turbinado sugar simple syrup • 13 ounces fig preserves • 13 ounces blackberry preserves • 1 cinnamon stick, crushed • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns • 5 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar Add all ingredients to Vitamix blender. Blend until smooth. Strain and discard pulpy solids. Store in a covered container, refrigerated, for up to one week. Preparation Combine the first three ingredients in a highball glass and fill with ice. Top with soda water. Stir to mix. Garnish with a sprinkle of dried tea leaves and buds.

Ginger is still in Tess Posthumus, is co-owner of the Flying Dutchmen Cocktails, a hot new destination in Amsterdam. “At the Flying Dutchmen Cocktails, we focus on classic cocktails but we do have three signatures on the menu, including the Flying Dutchmen Cocktail. This drink is very spice forward.” She believes that bartenders and consumers are increasingly looking for real flavors. “Using fresh herbs and spices will give your drink a quick boost. It adds depth and complexity to cocktails, without having to add sugars.” She told HN that ginger is still very popular (Moscow Mule and twists on it) and that they always have thyme, mint, rosemary and basil in stock at the bar. FLYING DUTCHMEN COCKTAIL Ingredients • 45 ml Bols Barrel Aged genever • 30 ml fresh lemon juice • 15 ml speculaas gum syrup (recipe follows) • 2 dashes Orange Bitters • 1 dash Orange Flower Water Preparation Shake and strain into a pre-chilled coupe glass. Garnish with orange zest and edible flower. Speculaas gum syrup The speculaas gum syrup is made with gum Arabica so the drink gets a thicker viscosity and coating mouth feel. Speculaas spice mix is made with fresh ginger, cinnamon, green cardamom, white pepper, cloves and nutmeg.



GOLDEN EASTER The Golden egg in your Easter basket? Create it with Callebaut Gold. Get inspired with Callebaut’s latest three Easter egg creations that will amaze your customers



Ingredients • 250g syrup • 130g egg yolks • 500g Callebaut - Finest Belgian Milk Chocolate - Recipe N° 823 • 900g whipped cream 35% • Q.S. Callebaut - Caramels - Caramel Fill

Ingredients • 150g sugar • 125g egg whites • 80g almond powder • 40g crushed hazelnuts • Q.S. Callebaut - Crispearls™ Crispearls™ Milk

Preparation • Bring to the boil. • Add and prepare a bombe mixture. • Coat the mousse with a layer of Caramel Fill.

Preparation • Beat together. • Add the almonds • Sprinkle the meringue with a fine layer of pearls. • Finishing and assembly • Bake the meringue for two hours at 90°C. • Leave to cool down and assemble.

Easter Golden Egg Pipe the Callebaut® Finest Belgian Caramel Chocolate Gold on the outside edges of the mould and let it drip in. Shape it to your liking.

Geometric Egg Pipe geometrical lines in Callebaut® Finest Belgian Dark Chocolate Recipe N°811. Fill up the spaces with Callebaut® Finest Belgian Milk Chocolate Recipe N°823 and Callebaut® Finest Belgian White Chocolate Recipe N°W2. Mould in Callebaut® Finest Belgian Caramel Chocolate Gold.

Nutty Egg Apply Callebaut® Finest Belgian Dark Chocolate Recipe N°811 in lines. Add nuts before it sets.

EMF Middle East t. +961 9 938732 |





• Bill holder

• Directory of services

• Napkin holder

• Organizer desktop

• Table set

• Remote control holder • Wardrobe organizer • Tissue box cover • Note pad holder • Tea & coffee tray • Ice bucket • Waste Bin RECEPTION

• Desktop • Brochure holder • Check in folder CONFERENCE & BANQUETS

• Blotter • Pen holder • Stationary box • Name holder

CORPORATE GIFT • Visit card holder • Credit card holder • Money clip • Luggage tag • Passport holder • Folder bag • A5 note book

Dora District / Beirut P.O.Box : 165714 Tel : 00961 1 256 916 Fax : 00961 1 256 916 Mob : 00961 3 29 17 17

1 N o be 0


der r a h try




January 10

Pitchers Bar Lounge official opening night at The Village Dbayeh, Lebanon

February 1

Zomato Lebanon’s third anniversary Zomato, Lebanon’s leading restaurant discovery platform, celebrated its third anniversary at O1NE, Beirut: a fully-booked venue with over 1,700 attendees.

March 15

Exclusive Dalmore experience at Marfa’ Gallery in Beirut Shauna Jennens, The Dalmore Distillery brand ambassador, took attendees through the various aromas, flavors and finish of every bottle.

January 11

Le Gastronome International Cuisine Byblos Le Gastronome International Cuisine Byblos and talented executive chef Ghiwa Mouhasseb invited the press for an unforgettable dining experience on the rooftop of Maximus Hotel.

February 19

Valrhona extends the Inspiration range with two new flavors More than 145 guests were present at the Address Boulevard Hotel in Dubai to celebrate Valrhona’s new products and taste the latest creations by local chefs.

March 16

Le Cordon Bleu Hosts workshop with Chef Eric Briffard Le Cordon Bleu Lebanon hosted Chef Eric Briffard – Executive Chef & Culinary Arts Director at Le Cordon Bleu Paris for a workshop in its brand new campus in Lebanon.

January 17

Phoenicia transforms iconic Grand Stairs In a new initiative that delighted movie buffs, Phoenicia Hotel Beirut recently took an avant-garde approach to the world of cinema by completely transforming the iconic Grand Stairs at its entrance to screen a favorite blockbuster, Casablanca.

February 19 March 16

Lactalis Gulfood Show Cocktail Dinner Lactalis Group invited guests to embark on a cheese journey across Europe during Gulfood 2018 in Dubai.

March 7 January 18-19

A gastronomic dinner at L’Atelier Chef Hanna Tawil hosted the dinner in Beirut, in collaboration with Chef Philippe Marc, a renowned executive chef based in France at Hotel Plaza Athénée, Paris.



Italian wine workshop at the Four Seasons Hotel Beirut The Italian Trade Agency in Beirut, in collaboration with the Italian Embassy, organized a workshop to promote Italian wine and spirits.

Saint Patrick's Day at the Backroom More than 14 brands of craft beer and spirits were on offer, at the Backroom, a bar dedicated to craft beer and spirits and houses the biggest collection of craft beer in the country.

March 28

iba Eyes Egypt In a bid to introduce and invite Egypt’s most prominent brands in the bakery, confectionery and snacks industries, iba held a one-day seminar-packed event at Cairo’s Semiramis Intercontinental Hotel.



Hospitality News ME is powered by:




























































































Hospitality News Middle East - Apr/May 2018 (Issue 117)  

The go-to source for the latest news, trends and developments in the hospitality and foodservice industries throughout the MENA and beyond....

Hospitality News Middle East - Apr/May 2018 (Issue 117)  

The go-to source for the latest news, trends and developments in the hospitality and foodservice industries throughout the MENA and beyond....