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05 July, 2003

Arabic hospitality

Exasperating to hear Tanmia whingeing about the lack of nationals employed in the hospitality sector. Apparently there are only fifteen Emiratis employed in hotels in the entire Emirates. Human resource managers attribute this scarcity to long hours, shift work, low pay, and hospitality seen as "low grade" by locals.

Quite why anyone could imagine the average Emirati graduate getting up in the morning to a breakfast cooked by their Sri Lankan cook, dishdash nicely ironed by the Filipino maid, 4WD freshly washed by the Bangla houseboy and driven by the Keralite driver, to arrive at a hotel, put on overalls, and start cooking and cleaning for less money and longer hours than they pay their own servants, is anyone's guess.

The answer according to senior bureaucrats in goverment employment offices is for hotels to change working conditions and raise salaries.

This will of course result in the average hotel having a room rate ten times that of the Burj, and an occupancy ten times lower. (Which probably makes negative guests, perhaps there will be a form of dark-matter vacuum in every bed?) The one blessing will be the Torremolinos Trash never again returning to these shores, and an end to the road-blocking construction stretching from the Jumeirah Beach Hotel to the Sheraton as Dubai's tourism sector implodes.

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