Mohamed Najia
The Regional Master Of Hospitality

 

An industry leader in Kuwait and in the MENA region, with over three decades of experience, Mohamed Najia has a repertoire that includes a variety of successes recognized on a regional and global scale

 



As a hospitality and food industry veteran, how do you assess the F&B and hotel market in the Middle East?
There are a few ways we measure the F&B and hotels market. One is to check hotels’ occupancy rates, which, at the moment, are pretty average. Another is to measure the number of hotels that have opened in the past few years, and that is currently increasing. The political status of a market is also taken into consideration when it is being assessed: the more stable the government is, the better the market, and vice versa. The number of companies in the F&B sector is increasing every year, showing us that this sector is performing much better when compared to others. The expansion of HORECA Kuwait over the years, which has seen the number of participating companies double, is further proof of the growth in F&B and the hotel sector in the country.

What have been the milestones along your career path that proved to be turning points?
One of the biggest milestones of my career was the idea of setting up HORECA Kuwait, a franchise taken from Hospitality Services in Lebanon. Over time, HORECA Kuwait has become the biggest B2B hospitality exhibition in the country, with over 80 brands exhibiting their latest products, 300 chefs participating in exciting culinary art shows and well over 6,000 ‘strictly’ hospitality visitors.



Tell us more about your key role with Chaîne des Rôtisseurs in Kuwait.
Chaîne des Rôtisseurs is an organization dedicated to fine cuisine, gastronomy and table arts. Headquartered in Paris, it is present in 70 countries with over 25,000 members. What distinguishes our association from others is the fact that we bring together amateurs and professionals from all over the world, whether they are hoteliers, restaurateurs, executive chefs or sommeliers, just to celebrate the appreciation of fine cuisine. As Conseil Magistral at the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, I make sure its activities are well organized, in addition to overseeing the invitations to its selected personnel. Chaîne des Rôtisseurs was established in 1982 in Kuwait and is slowly, but steadily becoming a recognized community. At its helm, it is gathering various top notables, including ambassadors, leaders and Class A personalities.

How important is the role HORECA Kuwait plays as a key economic driver in the F&B and hospitality industry?
The inaugural edition of HORECA Kuwait in 2012 featured only 20 companies. Just six years later, that number has quadrupled, while the participation of chefs in the Culinary Art show has tripled from 100 to 300. Almost all of the top hospitality companies in Kuwait now participate and new participants continue to join us, driven by the success of the show and the business opportunities it





offers. The increasing importance of HORECA Kuwait as a platform to exhibit the latest food products and non-food technologies is granting participants maximum exposure and access to top industry stakeholders.

What are your plans for the future?
I plan to continue highlighting and promoting the hospitality sector in Kuwait. Many hotels and openings are in the pipeline, in addition to remarkable chains that have just launched, including Four Seasons. Additionally, plans to further HORECA Kuwait’s growth with every new edition are on track. Our other new plans include organizing the Kuwaiti version of Salon du Chocolat. We aim to attract all the companies in Kuwait involved in chocolate, while also enticing chocolate lovers from all over the country.

About Mohamed Najia

  • General Secretary of the Kuwait Hotel Owners Association, an active board member of the International Hotels & Restaurants Association and hospitality arbitrator at the Arbitration Center in Bahrain
  • The industry veteran is the co-organizer of the HORECA exhibition in Kuwait and has been the Bailli Délégué of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs in Kuwait for the past 32 years.
  • He was also the hospitality advisor for the Kuwaiti government and the project coordinator in charge of the Kuwait Tourism Strategy with the UNWTO and UNDP.
  • Najia's accolades include the Kuwait government’s Tourism Excellence Award, the Academie Française de Cuisine’s Hospitality Award and Hospitality Services’ Hospitality Award.

 

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