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Frederic Bouchon Academic Dean, Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management

UAE - Health & Education

Frederic Bouchon

Academic Dean, Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management

Bio

Frederic Bouchon brings over 15 years of higher education management experience across Asia and Europe. Before joining academia, he held various tourism and hospitality roles in the UK, Australia, France, Italy, China, and Southeast Asia before moving to the UAE in 2021. His areas of specialization include all aspects of higher education management in the field of hospitality and tourism. Dr Bouchon holds a PhD and master’s degree from the University of Toulouse. As an academic, he is recognized for his research focusing on issues related to mobility, destination sustainability, tourism management, and hospitality higher education. He is also a visiting scholar to various academic institutions in Europe and Asia.

"Sustainability is an increasingly crucial consideration. It was often seen as entailing a reduction of operational costs such as electricity or water."
Providing degrees in hospital management, the Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management is the first hospitality management university created in the Middle East.
What does the Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management offer its students?

The Emirates Academy was founded in 2001 for multiple reasons. The first reason was to address the shortage of qualified management in the field whereby most of those positions were filled by guest workers while in the past 20 years, hospitality has grown rapidly in Dubai. Indeed, there are 143 five-star hotels within a 40-km radius, making for a unique concentration of hospitality infrastructure. The second reason is because of the nature of this ecosystem, the rationale for creating an academy was already in the mind of visionary people who mandated Jumeirah Hotel Group with this project. The specific purpose of the academy is to produce hospitality managers capable of working in respected companies in Dubai and globally. We were the first hospitality management university created in the Middle East and recognized and accredited by the Ministry of Education in the UAE. We do not run vocational programs, but rather, a bachelor’s degree and an MBA in hospitality management. Many of our graduates chose to work in Dubai, which is a good stepping stone and career accelerator. Because of this environment, the academy has grown into the premier hospitality school in the Middle East. This is where we position ourselves. We want to be a global hospitality school that serves hospitality businesses and beyond. That said, we want to not only be a provider of graduates, but also drive the reflection on the evolution of the hospitality and tourism industry overall.

How has Dubai’s hospitality sector successfully remained resilient to the pandemic?

Dubai has around a 30-year pedigree in the hospitality industry. Moreover, I would say that over the past 15-20 years, Dubai has become both a tourist destination and an innovation hub. Furthermore, we can see a major shift in our resident population perceptions on hospitality as a career. Many locals have seen Dubai growing into a leading tourism and leisure destination and understand the importance and relevance of the service industry. It, therefore, marks a major change and makes hospitality an industry of choice for many locals. Another strength of Dubai is its openness combined with strict health protocols that made it resilient. Dubai sends a clear message to the world that we are open but at the same time strict in adhering to sanitary protocols. There is a clear way of monitoring cases. This gives people a sense of confidence that if they come to Dubai, they are safe, both due to medical capabilities and the inherent safety enjoyed by the community. This sentiment makes it an open society with a secure mindset.

How are hoteliers in the UAE working toward sustainability?

Sustainability is an increasingly crucial consideration. It was often seen as entailing a reduction of operational costs such as electricity or water. It remains a large concern, but today it is also seen in construction. New properties are much closer to sustainability goals when it comes to use of materials and design. They seek to maximize the climatic resources of their location. There is also an evolution of the market, where more sophisticated and knowledgeable people will look at these hotels to see if they are sourcing sustainably and to gauge their sustainability goals. This occurs from the bottom-up with the property owners keen to go in that direction. Those hotels and tourism operators who have started to anticipate by implementing innovations will have a competitive advantage because they will not be required to make changes to their facilities later. They also need to understand that local sustainability initiatives cannot merely be lip service or green washing. We observe a convergence of sustainability understanding and the use of technology to meet these goals. There are so many applications for technology, especially smart equipment, to reduce cost and environmental impact. That is where we are headed: a marriage of technology and sustainability.

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