Having spent 24 years with IHG, Fady Najib Sawaya has vast experience and expertise in the hotel industry, especially in Saudi Arabia. We spoke to Sawaya, area GM at IHG Riyadh Central Hotels and GM of Crowne Plaza Riyadh RDC Hotel & Convention Center, to learn more about what’s happening in the local market.
What are the challenges of being an area and general manager during these critical times?
I am excited to be working for IHG and, in particular, Crowne Plaza Riyadh RDC Hotel & Convention Center. I want to talk about an important initiative IHG has introduced, which is IHG Clean Promise. This initiative includes making sure each guest is impressed by the safety and cleanliness of our rooms and public spaces. We go to great lengths and diligently ensure that all Covid-19 protocols are implemented as per local law and IHG policies. We have an outstanding team leading this process across all departments, and I take immense pride in the achievement of this hotel.
What are the particularities of the hotel sector in KSA?
Hotel and tourism is at the heart of Vision 2030. Enabling young local talent to explore this industry is important, and we are aiming to have an experienced generation of Saudi hospitality professionals. We will do this by launching training courses for students from select, well-known local universities like King Saud and Princess Noura Universities to create new, exciting, long-term opportunities for Saudi citizens.
What does the path to recovery look like?
I believe that the only way forward is to look to the future with optimism and ingenuity and embrace the challenges that lie ahead with energy and enthusiasm. We know what precautions need to be taken, and we will adapt to the new norm of conducting business virtually. Working closely with the Ministry of Tourism will be something the hotel sector will aim to do.
Do you have any new projects in the pipeline?
Our goal is to more closely linked to the Saudi market and capture the best business deals for our hotels, as we hosted Riyadh Season last year and currently hosting the Virtual G20. Future plans are to have Formula-e and the Riyadh Season as regular features on our calendar.
What is your motto?
Never stop being creative.