Fairmont to hire near 3,000 staff for new hotels

Canadian hospitality chain to hire more than 800 recruits for two UAE properties
Fairmont to hire near 3,000 staff for new hotels
The Fairmont Bab Al Bahr in Abu Dhabi. The company has a further two hotels planned in the UAE
By Elizabeth Broomhall
Sun 18 Dec 2011 02:12 PM

Luxury hotelier Fairmont Hotels and Resorts will hire close to 3,000 staff for its regional hotels opening between now and 2013, a spokesperson from the company has said.

The Fairmont Palm Jumeirah, opening at the end of 2012, and the Fairmont Fujairah, launching in 2013, will require more than 800 new recruits between them, the group’s area director of sales and marketing said.

The Toronto-based hotel operator also plans to hire up to 2,000 workers for its up and coming properties in Riyadh and Baku, both of which will open within the next two years.

“For the new UAE properties we will be looking at over 800 new positions. For the other projects in the region, I’m sure it will be close to 2,000 new positions,” Raki Philips told Arabian Business.

“The objective is to identify top talent who are passively looking for jobs and then tap into that demographic. We are also exploring new markets and developing relationships with schools so that when the time comes to start filling positions, we have a large database to select from.

“We have no shortage of resumes - our hotels in the UAE receive hundreds a day.” 

Between now and 2016, the group is eyeing a string of new properties across the region requiring thousands of staff.

Hotels in Jordan and Oman will be the next on the cards, Phillips said; the group having recently broken ground in Amman and entered its early design phase in the Gulf state.

It is also eyeing projects in Doha, Beirut, the rest of the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

In May, the chain’s vice president for the Kingdom told Arabian Business the group was looking at 12 new hotels in all the major cities, requiring 10,000 staff.

“It is our plan to expand in all major cities in Saudi Arabia,” said Mohammed Hassan Arkobi, vice president for Fairmont in Saudi Arabia.

“Each major city can accommodate all three brands but it depends on the market. In my opinion within three to four years we’ll have around 12 hotels. Maybe we’ll need another 10,000 staff.”

Fairmont is operated by Fairmont Raffles Hotels International, a holding company owned by Colony Capital and Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Hotels International.

The US hotelier is ramping up its expansion outside of its home market in a bid to capitalize on the lucrative Middle Eastern travel sector, with ten properties under operation in the MENA region and four under construction.

In Abu Dhabi and Dubai business has grown 11 percent this year, officials have said, as the UAE won tourists from protest-hit travel hotspots such as Egypt, Tunisia and Syria.

According to data from TRI Hospitality Consulting, occupancy rates in Dubai touched the pre-crisis levels of 2007 in October, whilst in Abu Dhabi they jumped to 82.8 percent, a rise of nine percent on the year-earlier period.

But despite increasing the optimism in the GCC hotel sector, the firm was unable to escape the effects of Dubai’s real estate crash.

Projects scheduled for Fujairah and the Palm Jumeirah have both been subject to delays due to financial issues, whilst the Fairmont’s second Abu Dhabi property, to be built on a breakwater overlooking the Corniche, has failed to even start construction after being announced in 2004.

It is now being designed for the third time, as the hotelier aims to adapt its hospitality offering in line with the current economic realities.

In Egypt, where Fairmont operates two hotels, experts say occupancy levels are unlikely to return to 2010 levels for some time, but are starting to show some signs of recovery.

Fairmont Raffles Hotels International operates more than 88 hotels in 27 countries.

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