- About your start “you’re studies, qualifications and why you chose to work in the field of tourism?
I have had many starts. I started my professional career after secondary school summer holidays, in a variety of different fields. However, the hospitality journey started directly after my graduation from the Faculty of Arts. The real start of my hotel career was during my military service period, when I worked as a night shift receptionist at small 3-star hotel. Following this, I was promoted through several positions, and ended as the Sales & Reservation Manager. At that time, I realized this is the field that I want to continue my career in. Therefore, I decided to re-start this career as a Sales Executive in one of the International 5-star hotels, followed by several positions in different chains. I ended up joining Hilton Worldwide Hotels at its Regional Sales Office in Egypt, beginning my Hilton journey. Following this, I was appointed Regional Director of Sales, continuing my career path by joining the Revenue Management field as a Director of Business Development at The Nile Hilton Hotel, followed by Cluster Director of Business Development of the 5 Hilton Resorts in Sharm El Shiekh, before moving to Ramses Hilton. My first appointment as General Manager was in 2012 at Hilton Cairo Zamalek Residences for 6 years, followed by Hilton Alexandria Corniche, before coming on board as General Manager to open the newly renovated Hilton Hurghada Plaza.
- What about your vision for developing and boosting tourism in Egypt?
Actually, it is well known that Egypt has all the needed elements to be number one destination of the whole world. The variety of attractions and the geographical location are unique and should put Egypt at the forefront of tourism. To achieve this target, we should be ready with trained and well qualified hospitable teams in all tourism sectors. This, in addition to the needed preparation and training for each and every one, will be at the front line in communication with tourists to be able showcase our beautiful country in both professional and hospitable way. Security and safety are always number one requirement for tourism, especially under the current worldwide pandemic situation of COVID19. Egypt succeeded to show the world how far we are committed to control and set the extra measure to contain this serious danger. It was obvious that the number of tourists was increasing prior to this crisis slowly but surely.
- What are your professional ambitions for tourism?
Egypt should compete with the tourism key player destinations such as Spain, France, and Turkey and others since it is enjoying many key selling points and attractions which are not available in most of those destinations. Egypt is easily providing all types of Tourism whether Cultural, leisure, medical retreats, sports etc.
- How do you see the competition?
Having competitors in all fields or industry’s is only enhancing and encouraging each party to excel in its own product or service. The more competitors we have, the more tourists we attract, which will lead to develop this sensitive industry and will benefit all tourism organizations, as well as the country and the people. While competition does not mean under cutting prices, because our ultimate goal is to attract the highest spending tourists which will complement our economies efforts and strategies.
5- What about Hilton Hurghada Plaza?
The newest addition to Hilton Egypt portfolio, and one of the most luxurious resorts of the Hilton brand, Hilton Hurghada Plaza has now been re-opened after total renovation and expansion plan. The hotel, located in the heart of Hurghada down town and adjacent to Hurghada City Center Mall, is situated only 15 minutes from Hurghada International Airport, ideal for the international tourists. The contemporary renovation of the hotel provides modern comfort and breathtaking views of the Red Sea. The hotel offers a range of options for every guest, from plush guest rooms to Presidential Suites and Royal Villas. Guests can enjoy a wide variety of restaurants and bars with stunning sea views, including Asian, Seafood and Turkish speciality cuisines. Afternoons can be spent indulging in refreshing cocktails or a cool beer at the swim-up Pool Bar, or simply take in the views with a drink at sunset at Sands Beach Bar. State-of-the-art fitness centre, tennis courts and Spa and wellness centre are all located on site, with high-speed Wi-Fi available for all guests across the entire premises.
- What does the administration of Hilton Hurghada Plaza provide for the staff to make everyone feel comfortable and increase their sense of belonging to the hotel?
Our team members are considered as one big family, we are always celebrating with them in many occasions such as collective birthdays of the month, whilst Hilton as a worldwide company is providing an appreciation week for every department across the year calendar. These appreciation weeks include a wide range of fun activities for the staff to enjoy, including team outings, special dining services and guest experiences for each team member. We have a weekly family gathering with the GM and a number of team members from different departments to discuss openly any issues or concerns. This is in addition to “Go Hilton” programs, which entitles each team member to be accommodated in any worldwide property in different brands under Hilton at a highly reduced rate, while enjoying collecting points in our loyalty program Hilton Honors similar to our guests.
- Away from work ( talk about your hobby)
Outside of work, my passion is for electronics and all things with the new digital age. Keeping up to date with the latest gadgets, and furthering my knowledge of the intricacies of how electronic devices operate and can be fixed is something that has always been of interest to me. To be able to take apart and re-devise electronic devices is a skill I have keenly developed through my spare time.
- If you were not working in the field of hotels, what would you have preferred
From a young age I had a keen interest in the aviation field, so had often considered a career as a pilot. Of course still in the tourism field, but as a pilot the focus would be on the operation and safety of the flights, rather than the hospitality side of tourism.
- What are your expectations for tourism with Egypt in 2021?
Tourism in Egypt for 2020 began fantastically, with a clear rise in international tourists choosing Egypt as their preferred destination. However, of course since COVID-19 we, as the rest of the world, will greatly feel the impact of a large decrease in tourism whilst this pandemic continues. By 2021, after some time has passed and hotels and destinations are more knowledgeable in virus spread prevention, I believe the tourism industry in Egypt will slowly start to recover. As a country, we have shown clear organization and control of the pandemic so far, and speaking for Hilton Plaza, we have strong and effective measures in place to allow guests to feel both safe and comfortable whilst staying with us. It will be a tough start to 2021, but with determination and consistent and safe service, I believe we will recover and tourism slowly will begin to return.