Michel Noblet, the Executive Chairman of ATECA Holding and a renowned French hospitality expert from Dubai, announced today the group’s first hotel ‘ATECA Hotel Suites’ in Tashkent (opening in May 2021) during a special presentation on the recovery of the hospitality sector in Uzbekistan following the COVID-19 at the Hotel Business Forum. Michel’s vast experience spans across five continents including Europe with some of the world’s leading brands such as the Le Meridien Hotels & Resorts where he enjoyed three glorious decades being a founding member and regional managing director.
Organised by the Hotelier’s Association of Uzbekistan in Tashkent, the high profile summit opened with a keynote speech by H.E. Aziz A. Abdukhakimov, Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan and Chairman of the State Committee for Tourism Development. Addressing the conference, attended by top tourism experts and hoteliers from the country, was also Alessandra Priante, Director of the UNWTO Regional Department.
Opening his speech at the forum Michel said, “Tourism is known for its ability to overcome crises and downturns and Uzbekistan is a country full of potential and unique opportunities. H.E. Aziz A. Abdukhakimov’s dynamic leadership serves as a great inspiration for all of us to generate fresh ideas and solutions to our common challenges. We are proud to announce our first hotel ATECA Hotel Suites set to open in May 2021 in the heart of Tashkent. For ATECA Hotels CRS we have signed a strategic agreement with Sabre Hospitality Solutions GmbH, the world’s leading travel technology provider, to power our global distribution with SynXis Cenral Reservations. In addition, we have just opened ATECA Hotel Academy Hub in collaboration with The American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI), to provide world-class hotel training programs in Uzbekistan. We are the first and only one to offer these prestigious courses by AHLEI in the Republic.”
Michel stressed, “With a solid national collaboration, Uzbekistan can double the revenue of domestic market while creating new opportunities across the country. To overcome the challenges posed by the pandemic, Dubai is a great learning example. The emirate has done a fantastic job of developing domestic tourism that jumped nearly 107 per cent in 2020 and continues to grow while maintaining stringent health and safety protocols. People going on staycation have realized the great benefits of travelling domestically when it comes to saving transportation costs which leaves a bigger budget to spend on what matters more: the hotel, dining & shopping.”
The hospitality sector has been the hardest hit by the covid-19. Border closures and travel restrictions brought global travel and tourism to a virtual standstill. So what is it that hotels in Uzbekistan need to get right in 2021 and beyond to bring back business?
According to Michel, “It is important to think out of the box”. He stated, “With a population of nearly 34 million people, Uzbekistan has great potential to grow domestic tourism. The pandemic has shown the significant role the domestic market can play in driving the recovery of the tourism and hospitality industry.
Essential to recovery is understanding and responding to consumers’ changing behaviours.
Michel said, “Hotels need to reimagine the customer experience and re-engage with guests to build and maintain their trust. Safety protocols at hotels will have to be extended beyond fire safety and other standards to be ‘hygienically safe’. Offering COVID 19 PCR testing service to guests , free of charge can be a plus to attract guests. Be open to repurposing spaces and creating new revenue streams with segments like ‘Work-ation’.
Last but not the least, Michel added, “We have always been a people’s business and great service is more important than ever now. It is the right time for owners and management to implement a strong retention strategy and training that sets a foundation for the future.”
He lauded Chairman of the Hoteliers Association of Uzbekistan Ms. Abdullaeva Farangiz’s ongoing efforts and support to the development and growth of hotel industry in the country. Michel stressed, “Continued dialogue and the sharing of knowledge and ideas is crucial to the success of the hospitality business. Together we will win.”