Dubai companies including Emaar and Emirates re-hire as Covid crisis eases

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What may have been the Gulf region’s biggest demographic decline is giving way to the fastest growing job market Dubai has seen since China detected its first case of the coronavirus in December 2019.

A pickup in employment set in this summer and spread as looser travel restrictions revived business. But as the workforce grows with freshly recruited cooks and cabin crew, the Middle East mall economy faces a difficult path to normalcy.

“We bring people back, but we handle it with care and the way we see the changing occupation,” said Mark Kirby, COO of Emaar Hospitality Group, in an interview. “Now we are ramping up because the fourth quarter is an important time of the year for us. “

Owned by the builder of the world’s tallest tower, the hotel company is looking to employ 200 to 300 people for a range of positions and is hiring both in the United Arab Emirates and in Asian countries that have been slow to reopen due to longer closures.

As Dubai prepares to kick off the World Expo next month, the city’s flagship airline, Emirates, plans to recruit 3,000 cabin crew and 500 airport services employees to join its hub over the next six months. next months. Amazon is seeking to create 1,500 jobs in the United Arab Emirates this year.

Read: Emirates recruits 3,000 cabin crew as part of Dubai hub expansion

The lifting of the sidewalks between Dubai and countries like the UK, US and Saudi Arabia will have a “massive impact”, with around 27 million people passing through this year alone, said CEO of Dubai Airports , Paul Griffiths. Bloomberg Television Last week.

Companies in Dubai’s travel and tourism industry saw the biggest increases in activity and new jobs in more than two years in August, according to a purchasing managers index compiled by IHS Markit.

‘Good summer’

In the Middle East, “we have had a very good summer, well above expectations” as travel lanes gradually opened up amid rising vaccination rates, said Mark Willis, CEO of Accor for the ‘India, the Middle East, Africa and Turkey.

The hospitality industry “has rehired at all levels over the past three months,” Guy Hutchinson, chairman and CEO of Abu Dhabi-based hotel operator Rotana, said in an interview.

In the past three months, Rotana has hired around 400 people across the UAE and will continue to recruit as it opens new hotels, he said. Rotana was forced to lay off less than 5% of its workforce at the start of the pandemic and at the end of February it rehired 70% of those who had been made redundant.

Research firm STR Global estimated last year that around 30% of jobs in Dubai’s hotel industry are likely to be lost until demand recovers from the pandemic.

The occupancy rate of Emaar hotels hovers around 54% while the average daily rate has remained at over Dhs 1,000 per night, Kirby said.

Emaar is opening six hotels this year, including its first establishment in Istanbul and another in Bahrain. It opened three beach hotels in the United Arab Emirates last year and will open five more in 2022.

It has “active discussions” to open three to four Armani hotels in a number of key cities in Saudi Arabia and Europe, Kirby said, declining to elaborate as the deals have yet to be signed. Emaar Hospitality operates two Armani hotels, one in the tallest tower in the world in Dubai and the other in Milan.

Although Emaar is not currently in talks to sell any of its properties, the company “is considering a light asset model strategy” for its hotel division, Kirby said. In 2018, Emaar Hospitality Group sold five hotels, including the flagship brands Address Dubai Mall and Address Boulevard to Abu Dhabi National Hotels.

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