15 November 2016
By Laila Azzeh
AMMAN — A hospitality and tourism expert believes Jordan has what it takes to assume a better position on the international tourism map.
Furthermore, Omer Kaddouri, Rotana president and CEO, is confident that the Kingdom has the potential to attract "plenty of opportunities" in the hospitality sector, provided that more efforts are exerted by all stakeholders.
"Amman is a city that can achieve, and needs to achieve, an 80 per cent [hotel] occupancy rate instead of the current average of 55 per cent," he told The Jordan Times in an exclusive interview on the sidelines of the Rotana Hotel opening ceremony.
On the reasons for Rotana Group's decision to invest in Jordan, Kaddouri noted that investors have decided to move to Jordan many years ago believing that the country is "in need of more hotels of great calibre".
"This country attracts corporates, it attracts medical tourism, it attracts tourism because of the culture [and the] availability of beautiful places… There are many good reasons to do business in Amman," he highlighted.
While citing the difficult situation in the Middle East, which made countries with high hotel occupancy rates lose in that department, he underlined the importance of the Rotana Hotel as a project with long-term benefits.
"It is not a great time right now, but you do not build a hotel for right now; you build a hotel for the next 20, 30 and 50 years," Kaddouri noted.
Around 99.9 per cent of Rotana Amman employees are Jordanians, he said, because "there are a lot of Jordanians who have plenty of experience in the hotel business".
"If there is one thing that stands out to me, it is the calibre, the quality, the look and the friendliness of our Jordanian colleagues. They want to make a difference. They all speak English pretty well and they are all excited," said Kaddouri, a graduate of Les Roches International School of Hotel Management.
He underlined the need for young Jordanians to understand how "good this industry is for them", but called for instilling "some more loyalty" among them to understand that they join a company for the future and their career, rather than for a few additional dinars.
"Rotana can give a lot of Jordanians great careers, not just in Jordan, but they can also transfer to our hotels in the UAE, Turkey, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and to Africa when we open there next year," he said.
Kaddouri believes that Jordan can do more in familiarising the world with its uniqueness, especially in cooperation with the private sector and Royal Jordanian.
"There are efforts to reach the world and they are great, but there have to be continuous delegations going from Jordan to all source markets like the UK, Germany and Asia," he said.
© Jordan Times 2016