Hos­pi­tal­ity and tourism on the boom in Er­bil

Dede­man Er­bil GM sees Kur­dis­tan a fu­ture tourist desti­na­tion

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS -

As part of the busi­ness boom in Kur­dis­tan Re­gion, and its cap­i­tal city Er­bil in par­tic­u­lar, more for­eign busi­ness peo­ple, diplo­mats and tourists are vis­it­ing the re­gion and the city. This has led to a fast growth of hos­pi­tal­ity and tourism sec­tor.

A num­ber of in­ter­na­tional chain ho­tels are al­ready open in Er­bil and Suleimaniya, another city in Kur­dis­tan Re­gion. Dozen oth­ers are un­der con­struc­tion and ex­pected to of­fer their in­ter­na­tion­ally renowned hos­pi­tal­ity to this new hos­pi­tal­ity front of the world.

Rotana, Di­van, Dede­man, Copthorn and Ra­mada are al­ready open and Mar­riott, Hil­ton,Dou­bleTree by Hil­ton, Kempin­ski, Sher­a­ton, Best Western, and many other names are on the way and will opne in the com­ing years.

Ah­met Doĝangün, Gen­eral Man­ager of Dede­man Er­bil, mem­ber of the Turk­ish Dede­man Chain Ho­tels opened around four months ago, says in cou­ple years as the new ho­tels open, the com­pe­ti­tion will grow and” the one who pro­vide most per­son­al­ized ser­vice to their cus­tomers will win.

”In the fu­ture who fol­lows the new trends and takes ac­tions im­me­di­ately wıll win.

“At Dede­man we don’t use the word cus­tomers, we be­lieve they are “our guests, and we treat them like this,” Doĝan­gun said in an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view with the Kur­dish Globe, while his staff was of­fer­ing high­est qual­ity of Turk­ish de­light next to a hot cup of per­fect Turk­ish cof­fee. All of th­ese came with a hot smile from the waiter. “We want our guests to feel at home. We have dec­o­rated our ho­tel and our rooms with that in mind. They have a home-like at­mos­phere. Our mis­sion to show au­then­tic Turk­ish hos­pi­tal­ity to Er­bil.”

Talk­ing about com­pe­ti­tion, Dede­man GM said their com­pe­ti­tion is them­selves. “You ei­ther de­liver high qual­ity ser­vice and win the com­pe­ti­tion or the other way around.”

Al­though the num­ber of ho­tels are in­creas­ing very fast in Kur­dis­tan, how­ever, many, among them Doĝan­gun, be­lieve that there are still a lot of things to be done be­fore this re­gion be­come a tourist area.

“It is right that we have a lot of ho­tels and oth­ers are com­ing to the mar­ket, but this does not by it­self at­tract tourists, es­pe­cially Western tourists,” Doĝan­gun ar­gues. “Kur­dis­tan needs to cre­ate more tourist at­trac­tions, like health tourism, his­tor­i­cal tourism, shop­ping, etc. Cur­rently there are not much ac­tiv­i­ties for tourists to do here. Just a nice ho­tel is not enough.”

Doĝan­gun was talk­ing about the his­tory of tour- ism in his coun­try, Tur­key. It took a long time to reach to­day, when it brings bil­lions of dol­lars to this coun­try ev­ery year.

“Twenty years ago, Tur­key only had sea, sand and sun, now it has vir­tu­ally any­thing tourists think of,” stated Doĝan­gun. “I know you don’t have sea, but you have a lot of other things, you have a wealth of his­tory and arche­ol­ogy. You can work on th­ese and de­velop your tourism sec­tor.”

Among the other chal­lenges in tourism sec­tor in Kur­dis­tan, Doĝan­gun, be­lieves that start­ing a ho­tel is a chal­lenge and con­struc­tion com­pa­nies, sup­pli­ers, work­force, com­mu­nity and in­fra­struc­ture are among the fac­tors.

How­ever, he claims they have al­most over­come all the chal­lenges and their busi­ness is very good com­pared to the short pe­riod they have been open.

“Two and a half years ago this area was empty. Even 4 months ago, when I came here, a lot of work was still to be done. But now it is a proper ho­tel, and even though we are dur­ing the soft open­ing pe­riod.”

He also added that it was not easy to cre­ate the team, es­pe­cially the lo­cal team mem­bers, since one can­not eas­ily find the skills and qual­i­fi­ca­tions lo­cally.

“But now, I have an amaz­ing team, 20% of whom are lo­cal, 20% from Syria and the rest in­ter­na­tional. We have 14 dif­fer­ent na­tion­al­i­ties work­ing in this ho­tel, all in a per­fect har­mony.”

Doĝan­gun also

talked about his ho­tel’s re­la­tion­ship with the en­vi­ron­ment, the au­thor­i­ties and the neigh­bor­hood. He said he has tried to make ev­ery­one around a friend and has also taught his team to be the same.

“We have to have a very good re­la­tion­ship with our neigh­bors, and I visit them and lis­ten to their com­plaints in case there have been any con­cerns about our ho­tel. We have good com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the au­thor­i­ties and we are fol­low­ing and re­spect all the laws and reg­u­la­tions and try to be as friendly busi­ness as pos­si­ble.” Dede­man man­age­ment has been do­ing some so­cial ac­tiv­i­ties such as of­fer­ing free If­tar for peo­ple dur­ing Ra­madan, help­ing out refugees, and try­ing to keep en­vi­ron­ment clean by plant­ing trees in­side and around the area in the fu­ture and keep­ing the sur­round­ing cleaned all the time.

“Al­though th­ese have been on a very low scale, we are plan­ning to have a ded­i­cated So­cial Re­spon­si­bil­ity Pol­icy and con­trib­ute more to the so­ci­ety we are liv­ing in and do­ing busi­ness in.”

“Dede­man own­ers and man­age­ment have taught us to be like this and we want to spread this cul­ture among our team. We want to stand out in the mar­ket by what we of­fer to our cus­tomers and third par­ties as well. I think this is the key to suc­cess.”

Dede­man Er­bil's GM Ah­met Do­gan­gun takes pride of be­ing part of the open­ing team of the "suc­cess­ful project" of his ho­tel in the Kur­dish cap­i­tal city of Er­bil. Sun­day, Septem­ber 29, 2013.

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