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Credit crunch implications for tourism highlighted at Orion Congress

United Arab Emirates: Thursday, October 16 - 2008 @ 14:14

The Congress, which focused on the future of tourism showcased topics including the current global economic crisis and the anticipated effects on tourism worldwide.

The ORION Congress attracted a bevy of the tourism sector’s acclaimed speakers including Mr Max Hitchins, also known as the Hospitality Doctor, Virgin Galactic Astronaut Brian Binnie, international academics and local hoteliers.

“We are delighted with the turn-up today with more than 200 delegates comprising media, hoteliers, tour operators, travel agents, airlines and some members of the general public”

said Mr Fritz Gubler, Chairman, ORION Hotel Schools.

“I received an overwhelming number of comments today about the presentation by Mr John McGaw, CEO of Killik & Co about The State of the Economy. It was captivating and well received by all involved and the inclusion of the segment in the programme was certainly appropriate given the current economic climate and speculation.” said Gubler.

The one day Congress which addressed What’s Next in Marketing, Operations and Resourcing, provided attendees with insights into the growth and future prospects for tourism as we approach 2020.

Visiting Dubai specifically to attend the Congress, Mr Richard Rosebery, Founder of Select Hotels and Resorts and Director of The Profit Motif, Sydney Australia outlined global trends and the future of travel and hotel marketing, offering new perspectives and in some ways offering a wake-up call to hoteliers who continue to use traditional methods.

Max Hitchins also known as the Hospitality Doctor who was easily recognised by the bright red stethoscope around his neck, offered a fascinating presentation about space age marketing tools as well as what he referred to as Cloud Computing for futuristic collaborative marketing.

Planting the seed of ideas in the minds of all who attended was Professor Keith Johnson, a leading academic in the field of Tourism & Hospitality at Leeds Metropolitan University, UK who talked about concepts which he concluded will develop and influence the future of the industry.

“Hot on the lips of most hoteliers that I come into contact with here in the UAE, is the challenge of recruitment. Many people are eagerly awaiting the opening of our ORION Hotel School in Dubai which will train not only the region’s future hoteliers but also international students, thereby providing a new source of talent for the industry.” said Mr Gubler.

According to Mr Gubler, the session on Resourcing was a highlight for many attendees.

“Hearing about the Atlantis quest for 4,000 plus employees as a case study as well as insights from the world’s leading educators and academics about the future outlook was invaluable for General Managers and Human Resources professionals.” he added.

Following a delicious lunch at Saffron, Virgin Galactic’s Astronaut Test Pilot Brian Binnie took to the stage.

“You could have heard a pin drop. Brian gave a true to life account of his experience going to space as the test pilot for SpaceShipOne and everyone was completely mesmerized particularly by the footage shown. I’m convinced after his compelling address, Virgin Galactic’s Dubai office will receive several phone calls tomorrow.”

According to Brian Binnie, Dubai is the perfect location for a spaceport in the future, although there are currently no plans in place. His presentation explored the flight path and potential views of the Gulf.

“Because of the desert location and weather conditions Dubai is the perfect location for space launch.” said Binnie.

The event concluded with the handing back of the Waka to Mr Fritz Gubler who proudly announced venue for the 2009 ORION Congress as Montreux, Switzerland.

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Thursday, October 16- 2008 @ 14:14 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.

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