Laurent A. Voivenel, Senior Vice President – Operations & Development, EMEA & India; Senior Vice President – Group Human Resources & Talent Development, Swiss-Belhotel International, participated today in a panel discussion at the Middle East Tourism Investment Summit that took place at the Arabian Travel Market Global Stage.
The panel was moderated by Gerald Lawless, Director of International Tourism & Investment Conference (ITIC) and World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Ambassador. Others on the panel included Sandeep Walia, Chief Operating Officer, Middle East, Marriott International; Badr Alherbish, Executive Director of Strategy Tourism Development Fund, Saudi Arabia; and Dinky Puri, Founding Partner, Eaglewing Group.
Speaking on how the Middle East is reinventing the financing of future tourism projects, Laurent stressed, “Investors are seeking assets that can generate income as well as serve as a powerful hedge against inflation. The hospitality industry is fulfilling that need being a stable and lucrative asset class with demand recovering at a quicker pace than expected. Therefore, there is adequate capital available for investment in the sector.”
Elaborating on the possibility of Metaverse influencing investments, Laurent emphasised, “Metaverse has opened new channels of profit and investment and is no doubt the next frontier of technology. Virtual hotels powered by blockchain are beginning to take shape and will lead our industry in a new direction.”
Laurent further stated, “The ever-expanding digital asset universe is creating a whole new ecosystem with new opportunities and new applications. Blockchain holds immense potential for the travel industry because of its unique ability to share information instantly, securely, and privately between dozens of stakeholders. Loyalty programmes can benefit tremendously from blockchain technology with a fundamentally new way to transact and maintain records. It can also reduce costs while significantly improving customer experience with a single digital wallet.”
Sustainability holds the power to offer better returns due to improved use of resources. Laurent said, “Given an ever-growing impetus for sustainable choices, the hospitality industry will continue to evolve to become more responsible. The abolition of single use plastics by many countries will significantly reduce use of plastics worldwide by 2030. In 2018 as part of the Swiss-Belhotel International’s global initiative to enhance the sustainability of our operations and reduce plastic consumption, we had eliminated the use of disposable plastic straws from our existing and upcoming properties across the Middle East and Africa region.”
Visitors to ATM Dubai can find Swiss-Belhotel International on stand: HC0930 in the Sheikh Saeed Hall 1 at the Dubai World Trade Centre.