Written by: Arlene Ramirez
There are many reasons why HFTP has begun to have a bigger presence globally and why the organization has seen such great acceptance outside of its original U.S. base… no matter where you are, finance and technology professionals face the same challenges. Albeit some of the challenges may appear different at first glance; but when you dig deeper, fundamentally they are the same. Our visit to Dubai only solidified what HFTP can do for professionals globally. So it was, that on Monday, May 9, 2016 we had the first organizational meeting of what we hope will soon be our HFTP Dubai chapter.
A special thanks to Amirul Islam, income auditor for the Ritz Carlton Financial Center Dubai, for providing such a great location for everyone to meet and hear about all HFTP has to offer. We already had many members in this region; they have met informally, but want to have a better format for networking and educating themselves and others on pertinent issues affecting the hospitality industry in Dubai. Many of the topics of interest are familiar: taxes, labor, working with vendors and the USALI among others. When asked who would be willing to help with organizing a chapter, everyone raised their hands.
With HFTP headquartered in the United States, one would wonder what value there is for HFTP chapters in other parts of the world? I think the better question is why have we waited so long? Not only are challenges similar worldwide, but the approach to solutions oftentimes are different and provide great learning opportunities for HFTP members globally. Addressing challenges from a different perspective is not the only benefit; networking with individuals across the globe is invaluable. Many of those attending the informational session were expats or had worked in the United States and other countries before taking on roles in Dubai. In today’s global economy one never knows from where the next opportunity will arise.
While in Dubai, HTNG was hosting its Mideast conference and so we ran into a couple of HFTP members who were attending this event: Lyle Worthington, CHTP, HFTP Global Vice President and HFTP Global Director Ted Horner. It just so happened Ted was going to speak to a class at the Emirates Academy, a college specializing in hospitality. So we of course invited ourselves and crashed Ted’s party. The Academy got stuck with Ted, Lyle, Frank and yours truly. We were treated like royalty by the entire team at the Academy. Special thanks to Dr. Stuart Jancey, dean of the school; Judy Hou, managing director; and Dr. Sanjay Nadkarni, director of research and innovation for hosting us and sharing what the Academy has to offer to the industry. We met several students and were quite impressed with them and all the facilities. A great place to perhaps facilitate more HFTP research for the industry.
Dubai has some of the most luxurious hotels in the world and we, through our HFTP members there, were fortunate enough to get some great behind the scenes tours and history of these hotels. Special thanks to Mohammed Rizwan, director of IT at the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai and also to Dr. Sanjay Nadkarni for the tour of the Burj Al Arab Hotel. We felt so welcome everywhere we went. HFTP is that connection, which you as members will experience no matter where you go.
Stay tuned for more announcements about the outcome to our trip to Dubai, perhaps you will see some of our new connections presenting at educational sessions or a webinar in the near future.
Arlene Ramirez, CHAE, CHE, CHIA, MBA (@) is the 2015-2016 HFTP Global president. She is principal at ADR Hospitality Consulting and on the faculty at the C.N. Hilton College, University of Houston. Ramirez is also a frequent speaker at HFTP Global events.