France is seeking multiple opportunities in the hospitality sector in the UAE and the Middle East

France is seeking multiple opportunities in the hospitality sector in the UAE and the Middle East


Bpifrance, the French public investment bank partnered with Business France, the national agency in charge of the international development of the French economy, to develop a mission to explore market opportunities, financial associations and operational leadership in the hotel and restaurant services sectors in the UAE.

On the occasion of the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) trade show that took place at the end of April 2018, delegates and representatives from the industry took part in the mission to develop partnerships and business associations. The mission included a series of meetings with local partners, promoters, investors and franchisees to discuss French hospitality innovative offering and how it can be applied to the industry at large.

The UAE’s strong economic diversification and its hub position in the Middle East lend itself to being one of the most favorable countries for the hospitality sector, with growth at exponential rates. French businesses in the hotel, restaurant and catering services brought their renowned expertise to the discussion tables with their Emirati counterparts, further bridging and reinforcing the strong bonds shared by the two nations.

With more than 700 hotels and 138,000 hotel rooms; representing a minimum of USD 7.3 billion investment, Dubai alone, is one of the strategic cities of focus for the mission. By Expo 2020, the numbers are set to increase by an estimated at 40,000 additional rooms and although the hotel market is very competitive and pre-empted by large operators, the French delegation foresees prosperous opportunities for new concepts.

For Pedro Novo, head of export finance at Bpifrance: “This mission is perfectly in line with the DNA of Bpifrance, identify the leading companies in their sector and facilitate their international acceleration by providing specific funding and support services. The United Arab Emirates (UAE), real hub of the Middle East, Asia and Africa, which has made tourism a priority in terms of investment, constitutes an ideal destination for French hospitality and catering companies, who were able to highlight the French Touch”.

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Key French hospitality entrepreneurs who participated across the dedicated mission include B&B Hotels, Louvre Hotels Group, Oceania Hotels, Maison Albar Hotel, Dumas Paris, École Supérieure D’hôtellerie De Paris (ESH Paris), Grand Luxury Group, Epicure Corporate, And Potel Et Chabot. The sectors studied for professional opportunities ranged from hotels, restorations & catering services, hospitality training institutes.

Marc Cagnard, french trade commissioner in the UAE and managing director at Business France Middle East added: “As a leading tourist destination, France welcomes more than 83 million international tourists yearly across + 20 000 hotels – more than 1,700 four-star and 320 five-star. Within the frame of the hospitality week in Dubai, we wanted to organize a French Hospitality Mission to support 10 french entrepreneurs that we carefully selected to fit with local demand in the UAE. French experts wanted to show their expertise, know how and create synergies with local counterparts in order to highlight the local offer in the lead up to Expo 2020 and beyond it.”

In addition to the preparations and competing on tenders for Expo 2020, the French delegation also worked toward future hospitality goals taking into consideration the plans for the Vision 2030 and the Dubai Plan 2021 defining it as the preferred place to live, work and visit.

During this week, Bpifrance Excellence, corporate network of 4,000 businesses organized a half a day immersion in the desert of Dubai to offer a collective experience to the delegation, provide a real-life experience and help them discover the most admirable natural spots of Dubai. The program included round tables with the participation of Olivier Granet, CEO Middle East & Africa, AccorHotels, Gaelle Doré, managing director, Cent Degrés Middle East, Stéphanie Danial, and Nara Escape and Yann Mrazek, Partner M-HQ.

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