Hotel Online  Special Report



UAE Nationals Currently Make Up Only 0.2 per cent
of the Tourism and Hospitality Workforce
Commitment and investment required to increase 0.2 per cent
Emirati participation in the hospitality sector

Dubai, UAE, October 2003:  Tourism and hospitality leaders in the UAE have been urged to spearhead a nationalisation drive in their industry by a human resources expert, who cited the 0.2 per cent rate of Emirati participation in the sector as a serious cause for concern.

Abdulqader al Khaja, CEO of the Dubai-based training and learning consultancy knowledgenetwork (knet), was addressing the Dubai chapter of Skal, the international organisation of tourism leaders.

He said: “We all have a responsibility to pave the way for nationalisation, and industry leaders need to pave the way for a drive to increase the participation of nationals in the workforce.

“The UAE tourism sector faces challenging times in this regard, not least because nationals currently make up only 0.2 per cent of the workforce. This is a serious 

Abdulqader al Khaja
CEO of knowledgenetwork, the Dubai-based
training and learning consultancy
cause for concern, not least because nationals are naturally suited as the face of a country’s hospitality sector.

“By 2006, there will be another 150,000 nationals entering looking for employment – increasing the size of the total workforce by 20 per cent. So, if we are to absorb these increasing numbers, we must invest in customised training to take the needs of both the employer and the job-seeker into account.”

Al Khaja pointed out that women are a largely untapped resource for employment, and the rate of unemployment for UAE national women is the highest among all groups in the UAE labour market at 8.3 per cent.

He added: “The tourism and hospitality sector can lead a nationalisation drive, not least because the industry is perfect for Arabs thanks to this region’s natural lean towards hospitality. But this drive requires both investment and commitment.

“National women especially can be trained to play a pivotal role in niche areas such as banqueting departments for weddings, outside catering, or children’s events – in fact, any activities that allow them to be away from the ‘shop floor’.” 

The Dubai chapter of Skal, the international organisation of tourism leaders, was launched in September 2002 with the support of Dubai Tourism & Commerce Marketing (DTCM), and 20 founding members. Membership is on target to reach 100 by year end.

Registered as Dubai Chapter 672 through the Skal headquarters in Torremolinos, Spain, the Dubai members join more than 25,000 tourism professionals in more than 525 clubs in 80 countries in their pursuit for the sound development of tourism worldwide.

Susan Furness / Kirstie Hepburn
Strategic Solutions for Skal
tel +971 4 3915390
Also See: Abu Dhabi Grand’s Francesco Borrello Calls for Marketing Drive to Promote Abu Dhabi Rregionally and Internationally / Jan 2003
Middle East Hotels - Trends and Opportunities / HVS International / October 2001

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