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DCT Abu Dhabi and Les Roches’ Hospitality Academy to open in Zayed Sports City this September

The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) and Les Roches Global Hospitality Education have revealed the location of the upcoming Abu Dhabi Hospitality Academy – Les Roches, set to launch in Zayed Sports City in September 2024.

The innovative new educational institution will be housed in a historic building which seamlessly blends tradition with modernity, creating a vibrant atmosphere that complements the rich history of the space and sets the stage for an inspiring learning journey.

A popular destination for athletic events, Zayed Sports City has recently emerged as a hub for a growing number of lifestyle, entertainment and community experiences. The arrival of Abu Dhabi Hospitality Academy – Les Roches in the district will add to the area’s cultural development.

Les Roches’ inaugural campus in the region builds on its legacy since its establishment in Switzerland in 1954, ranking fifth globally in hospitality and leisure management (QS World University Rankings by Subject, 2024). The academy aims to attract UAE Nationals as well as global talent to the industry, situated strategically in the heart of Abu Dhabi. 

The hospitality industry in the emirate is witnessing exponential growth, solidifying Abu Dhabi’s position as one of the world’s premier tourism destinations. In 2023, Abu Dhabi’s tourism sector saw a remarkable surge, welcoming nearly 24 million visitors. The 27% rise in hotel guests and 54% increase in international guests bolstered the economy with an approximate AED 49 billion contribution to the UAE’s GDP.

HE Saood Abdulaziz Al Hosani, Undersecretary of DCT Abu Dhabi, said:

“The enhancement of Abu Dhabi’s hospitality landscape is a key pillar of our roadmap for future growth. With our Tourism Strategy 2030 having set ambitious targets for increasing visitation to the emirate, we aim to further elevate Abu Dhabi’s world-renowned hospitality offering and ensure its wide appeal to travellers from around the globe. Building the sector and talent in hospitality is crucial to these ambitions; the innovative curriculum of Abu Dhabi Hospitality Academy – Les Roches will guarantee the industry access to a steady stream of homegrown talent and a wealth of expertise, enabling a sustainable hospitality ecosystem.”

Carlos Díez de la Lastra, CEO of Les Roches Global Hospitality Education, added:

“We are thrilled by this new step forward for this ambitious project that will bring our legacy of excellence in hospitality education to the heart of the UAE. Our mission is to prepare students to thrive in a hospitality sector that is future-proof, authentic, and uniquely Emirati.”

The institution will initially offer a Bachelor’s degree and introduce two Master’s degrees in 2025. These programmes will combine traditional hospitality education with specialised Emirati-centric courses to deliver tailored training to students. Undergraduate students will be introduced to Emirati hospitality in their first semester through courses such as Hospitality Discovery Experience in the Emirates, Emirati Hospitality Culture, and Emirati Cuisine and Pastry.

Newly-appointed Abu Dhabi Hospitality Academy – Les Roches Managing Director, Georgette Davey, commented:

“Abu Dhabi Hospitality Academy – Les Roches will be training and preparing the next generation of industry leaders that uphold the values and authenticity of Emirati hospitality. We are very honoured to be part of this unique journey and contribute to raise the talents of tomorrow for the country.”

The Academy’s state-of-the-art facilities are designed to meet the highest standards of hospitality education, enhancing the learning experience for students and effectively preparing them for real-world scenarios.

The first floor will feature the hotel lab and demo room that will include a mock reception area. Positioned at the heart of the school, the cafeteria serves a dual purpose, functioning not only as a dining space but also housing a barista and mocktail lab. Additionally, a training kitchen, an extensive pastry lab and a 30-seat demonstration lab are equipped to host students, professionals, and enthusiasts. These facilities will also be available for rental.

The elevation and expansion of the emirate’s hospitality offering is key to strategic plans to meet the targets set out in the Tourism Strategy 2030, which includes welcoming 39.9 million visitors to Abu Dhabi each year, and increasing the travel and tourism sector’s contribution to GDP to AED 90 billion by 2030. To support this, various development programs have been introduced to attract top brands to the capital. These initiatives also include establishing training and education facilities, in addition to offering new degree programs in key sectors such as culinary, maritime sustainability and food security.

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