One cannot enjoy the beauty of a place if it is not secure. Fortunately, Imran Khan is well aware of the significance of tourism in Pakistan and he is promoting it already.
by Fraaz Mahmud Kasuri
Tell us something about yourself.
Basically I am a Swiss citizen. I have been living in Copenhagen Denmark for more than thirty years. I have spent nine years in Switzerland and eight years in Germany. In Germany and Denmark, I have been working for the same company Radisson Group as a general manager. After spending sixteen years in Copenhagen, I moved to Marriot Islamabad where I was a general manager for eighteen months and, in November 2018, I moved here in Pearl-Continental Lahore as a general manager.
How was your experience working here in Pakistan?
Well! I knew it already that working here in Pakistan would be completely different from the western world. So I was not surprised to see that difference. The thing that surprised me the most was the genuine hospitality and friendliness of the people of Pakistan. The only difference I witnessed here was that the things are not digitized the way they are in the western world. To talk of the lovability of the people, there is no difference between the people of Lahore and Islamabad.
What is your contribution to the hospitality industry in Pakistan?
Well! Besides focusing mainly on sales, marketing and operations excellence, what is very important is that all the staff member s, all the people and all the associates are treated with respect and it goes with everybody from top to bottom. I have seen here so many times that people are not treated so nicely. It also includes how you talk to people. You do not have to be rude or yell at anybody. Even if you are disappointed, you can convey the message in a decent manner. Then there is another thing that I am trying to fight here is that I am not a fan of politics and grouping within the hotel. So they there is no bully. You tell me what you want to tell me and you can tell me frankly anything in a decent manner. I believe this is one of important means of creating loyalty and trust.
Is hospitality education necessary to join this field?
It is good to have knowledge about the field you are going to join as your profession but the most important thing is your attitude. The first thing is that you need right people with right attitude and then there comes education if you want to achieve higher posts.
How do you see the future of hospitality in Pakistan?
It’s splendid. Before anything, we need peace and stability in Pakistan and Prime Imran Khan is the right guy for sorting out the things as he is a peace-minded man.
What type of attitude one should have in the field of hospitality?
If you want to be in the hospitality business, you need to be friendly, you need to be presentable, you need to like people. If you don’t like people, hospitality is not for you.
How do you rate Pakistani food?
I have tasted the typical Pakistani village food a couple of times and it is amazing. Here at PC, we also have different varieties of food other than Pakistani dishes. I personally like Pakistani Chicken Jalfrezi a lot.
Is there any competition going on among hotels in Pakistan?
For the time being, everybody is having good business in Pakistan actually. There is a balance between the number of hotels and the customers. As soon as the stability gets better, I am sure there will be more hotels coming up.
How do you see hospitality as a profession?
I know there are families in Pakistan which do not consider hospitality business prestigious enough especially for girls and that I am sure will change with the passage of time.
Does advertising your business have any impact?
It does have if you are showing up with some message. I find social media marketing quite effective in this regard. PC is going to sponsor a Tennis Tournament of 150 participants in Lawrence Garden soon to encourage young people to play sports.
What are the future plans of PC Lahore?
No big plans so far. Our plan is just to remain strong and maintain our position as a market leader.
Is current government doing well for tourism?
Prime Minister Imran Khan knows well about the importance of tourism in Pakistan. Only a stable and peaceful country can attract tourists. One cannot enjoy the beauty of a place if it is not secure. Fortunately, Imran Khan is well aware of the significance of tourism and he is promoting it already.
How do you see COTHM playing its role in hospitality?
It’s very important to train the youth of a nation especially for a professional cause and COTHM is playing its role very efficiently and diligently in this regard.
Any message for hospitality aspirants?
Whatever you do, be passionate about it. There are many possibilities and opportunities in this business as it is for everyone. All you need to do is work hard and be positive.