Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Hospitality school to welcome its first class by late next year

The Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority plans to set up a hospitality school next year as part of its effort to become the Middle East's regional centre for tourism education and training.

The Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) plans to set up a hospitality school next year as part of its effort to become the Middle East's regional centre for tourism education and training. The tourism authority has "met and held exploratory talks with seven of the world's largest and most prominent hospitality institutions", said Nasser al Reyami, the ADTA tourism standards director. "We are currently assessing their proposals and hope to make an appointment early in the new year."

The school would be open by the end of next year, he said. Abu Dhabi wants to welcome 2.3 million hotel guests a year by 2012 compared with about 1.5 million this year. Next year, the capital plans to add about 5,000 hotel rooms to its supply of 17,500. It added 4,500 rooms this year. A four-month study conducted for the ADTA this year found that a number of staff in hotels and tourism attractions who deal directly with the public lacked product knowledge and needed further training in service and sales techniques.

That issue is frequently identified as a problem by customers and employers across the Middle East. "From a service aspect much still needs to be improved," said Mr al Reyami. Most employees in the capital's tourism industry are not from Abu Dhabi and often have limited knowledge of its culture. Just 1 per cent of the capital's tourism workforce is Emirati, although the ADTA is targeting an increase to 5 per cent by 2012.

In the meantime, the ADTA will launch training courses for the industry in the first quarter of next year. They are aimed at "ensuring that all who work in the industry are fully equipped to provide the highest standards", the ADTA said. The programme includes a marketing management course, which will be held in association with the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, targeting hospitality executives and entrepreneurs to provide a basic understanding of hospitality marketing.

The ADTA last month signed a memorandum of understanding with Hong Kong Polytechnic University to help Abu Dhabi prepare for the expected surge in the number of Chinese visitors. In September, the authority began holding workshops to "enhance the guest experience" in response to the shortcomings identified in the study. They will continue next year. The ADTA will also introduce mandatory short-term training focused on front-line employees.

"We've got at least 10 more workshops during January and February alone," said Paul Ram Prakash, the ADTA industry professional development manager. "The response to this training has been overwhelming. It really shows our partners' commitment to ensuring Abu Dhabi creates the right impression on our guests." Service standards play an important role in the Abu Dhabi hotel classification system that was launched this year.

The quality of the people working in Abu Dhabi's tourism sector is what will make the capital stand out, Mr al Reyami said. rbundhun@thenational.ae

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 The Greens, villas: Q1 no change. 3BR - Dh210-250,000. 4BR - Dh210-260,000. 5BR - Dh220-300,000. Q1 2013-Q1 2014 5% rise. Pawan Singh / The National

In pictures: Where Dubai rents have risen and fallen, Q1 2014

Find out how rental prices in the prime locations in Dubai have altered during the first three months of the year and the current rates you will pay according to data provided by Asteco.

 Above, the private pool of Ocean Heights' five-bedroom penthouse flat. Courtesy Christie’s International Real Estate

In pictures: Penthouse flat is height of Dubai luxury living

A five-bedroom penthouse in Ocean Heights in Dubai Marina is on sale for Dh25 million and comes with a private pool and an unparalleled view of Dubai.

 The cooling towers of the Temelin nuclear power plant near the Tyn nad Vltavou in Czech Republic. The country wants to continue expanding nuclear energy capacity despite cancelling a tender to build two new units. David W Cerny / Reuters

In pictures: Best business images for the week to April 17, 2014

Here are some of the best business images for the week to April 17, 2014.

 A sign points the way to an outdoor market popular with German visitors on the Polish side of the German-Polish border. Sean Gallup / Getty Images

In pictures: A decade since the European Union went east

May 1 will mark 10 years since the European Union expanded east, taking in countries like Poland, the Czech Republic and the Baltic states as new members. And though the border region between Germany and Poland is flourishing with trade and cultural exchange, the open border has also brought a sharp rise in crime.

 The Wind, Energy, Technology and Environment Exhibition takes place from April 14 to April 16. Above, the Dewa showroom during last year’s Wetex. Jaime Puebla / The National

April corporate and economic calendar for the UAE and overseas

From Cityscape to Wetex to stock-market holidays to nations reporting first-quarter GDP figures, here is our helpful calendar of April's business events in the UAE and internationally.

 Get the latest information on credit cards, bank accounts and loan products in the UAE. Mark Lennihan / AP Photo

Rates report: Latest on UAE loans, accounts and credit cards

Souqamal.com brings you the latest interest rates on banking products in the UAE.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National