Oman Magazine meets with hotelier Frank Naboulsi, Regional Vice President , Egypt – AccorHotels and General Manager – Fairmont Nile City, Cairo, to hear his thoughts on today’s luxury traveller.
IN YOUR OPINION, WHAT DOES LUXURY MEAN TO TODAY’S TRAVELERS?
Luxury is first and foremost, a seamless experience where expectations are exceeded and needs are anticipated which makes your moments memorable. Within a Fairmont experience, every guest is offered a warm welcome and is made feel special, valued, and appreciated with our service, quality, and professionalism displayed.
2- WHY DO YOU THINK ACCORHOTELS CHOSE EGYPT AS THE NEXT DESTINATION TO PLAN FURTHER EXPANSION IN THE NEAR FUTURE? WHY DOES THE COMPANY THINK THE COUNTRY IS OF INTEREST?
Egypt is rich in culture and history holding one third of the world’s monuments making it a highly touristic country specially that it offers several types of tourism such as cultural, beaches, religious, and medical.
3- TELL US A BIT MORE ABOUT ONE CURRENT PROJECT YOU ARE EXTREMELY EXCITED ABOUT?
We have a lot of exciting projects in the pipeline, one of the biggest would be the first tri-brand complex in Egypt featuring Fairmont, Swissôtel, and Raffles; it is the first project of its magnitude which provides the opportunity to transform Sharm El Sheikh into a new sought after destination. Another two new projects include a Fairmont hotel in Soma Bay and a Swissôtel property in Katameyah, Cairo, which are both scheduled to open before 2020. Soma Bay is an exclusive holiday destination on the Red Sea coast while Katameyah is aptly referred to as the ‘New Cairo’, a prominent and up-and-coming residential, commercial, and lifestyle development.
As far as Fairmont Nile City is concerned, we are constantly investing in providing our guests with new experiences. Part of this expansion project is a boat on the Nile across the hotel with several food & beverage concepts and two ballrooms connected to the hotel by a bridge creating new nightlife and venues for the guests to experience.
4- HOW DO YOU SEE THE FUTURE OF THE TRAVEL INDUS- TRY IN EGYPT FOLLOWING TO THE CHALLENGING PAST FEW YEARS?
Challenges are everywhere. The Egyptians are resilient and we, as a private sector, are responsible to drive business with the support of the government. Egypt has been a major attraction to many around the world, nostalgic to our Arab sibling countries, and the dream of many Europeans, Asians, and Americans. Even foreign direct invest- ment in Egypt increased by 3156.10 USD Million in the fourth quarter of 2015.
5- IN THE EYES OF YOUR COLLEAGUES, WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT QUALITY YOU SHOULD HAVE?
From the team, I learned that being modest, attentive to the needs of others, and a good listener always draws people in like a magnet. Employees want to feel that their leader supports their efforts in order to respect and trust the decisions. When looking at the companies that did well the past few challenging years, it is those whose leader has led by example that succeeded. It is crucial because you have to stand up to what you believe in and for the vision and mission of your company.
6- WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO WORK IN HOTELS?
The hospitality industry is a very unique one. I always enjoyed and admired it since I started 40 years ago. I love being around people and creating memorable guest experiences and the challenge of developing colleagues and turning them around into something very successful is addictive.
“Within a Fairmont experience, every guest is offered a warm welcome and is made feel special, valued, and appreciated with our service, quality, and professionalism displayed.”