'Working together on sustainability' best for hospitality industry, says Accor CEO

Speaking virtually at AHIC 2021, Accor chairman and CEO, Sebastien Bazin, says sustainability, vaccine rollout, return of business travel are key factors driving the hospitality industry’s recovery

Sébastien Bazin, chairman and CEO of Accor.

As regional market players continue to eye opportunities in sustainable tourism and hospitality as part of their economic diversification efforts, investors are taking notice, Accor chairman and CEO, Sébastien Bazin, said at the Arabian and African Hospitality Investment Conference (AHIC).

The hospitality giant’s CEO revealed that Accor will be joining the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance to further strengthen its sustainability and ESG efforts.

The alliance, whose members make up 25 percent of the global hotel industry by rooms and includes 14 world-leading hotel companies, aims to use the industry’s collective power to address and tackle key challenges affecting the sector and its people.

Commenting on the key to the sector’s recovery, Accor’s CEO said: “Vaccination rollout is the solution for all of us to get back on our feet.”

Following a successful coronavirus vaccination-drive, with 81.55 percent of the population now doubly vaccinated, hotel occupancies in the UAE reached 62 percent in the first six months of 2021, according to state news agency WAM.

Sharing his outlook on the recovery of business travel, Bazin said: “I am very optimistic about domestic, intra-regional business travelers making a return – they will be back in pre-pandemic rates. However, the international business travelers, we stand to lose at least 25 percent of them.”

Accor also announced yesterday that it is growing its portfolio in Saudi Arabia, penning a deal with Taiba Investments, one of the largest real estate companies in the kingdom, to open the first Novotel hotel in Madinah.

Accor, with more than 5,200 properties and 10,000 food and beverage venues throughout 110 countries, currently operate 34 properties (13,517 keys) in Saudi Arabia with another 25 properties (7,948 keys) in the pipeline.

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