Hilton hosts first people of determination panel

Jochem-Jan Sleiffer, President, Middle East, Africa and Türkiye, Hilton, hosts inclusive panel at Hilton Dubai Palm Jumeirah

Hosted and organised by Hilton in partnership with the Dubai Executive Council, the Department of Economy & Tourism, and other major hospitality companies, the inaugural People of Determination in the Hospitality Industry panel event took place at Hilton Dubai Palm Jumeirah on Saturday, February 4.

Accor, InterContinental Hotels Group, Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts, Marriott International, Radisson, and Rotana Hotels & Resorts were among the international hospitality companies that Hilton partnered with for this event.

A first-of-its-kind initiative in the UAE for the hospitality industry, the event comprised 100 participants including people of determination, human resources professionals, employers, families, caregivers, and representatives from community organisations such as Al Noor Special Needs, Emirates Down Syndrome Association, ImInclusive, and SEDRA.

Issam Kazim, CEO of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing, commented: “We are excited to partner with Hilton and other hospitality leaders to launch the inaugural edition of this important event for the industry, which is in line with our visionary leadership’s goal to make Dubai the friendliest destination for all and the most liveable city in the world.” 

“As momentum continues to accelerate across travel and tourism in Dubai and the UAE, it is crucial that industry leaders engage in meaningful conversations around diversity and inclusion in the workplace, paving the way for new initiatives that will further enhance the quality of life for People of Determination and create suitable career opportunities within the tourism ecosystem. With the continued support of our stakeholders and partners, Dubai remains committed to providing an enabling environment to ensure inclusivity in all aspects of our destination offering.”

The World Health Organisation has identified that an estimated 1.3 billion people (16 per cent of the global population) – or one in six people worldwide experience significant disability and have twice the risk of developing health conditions such as depression, asthma, diabetes, stroke, obesity, or poor oral health. According to figures from the United Nations, between 50 per cent and 70 per cent of persons with disabilities who are of working age in industrialised countries are unemployed – that figure rises to a staggering 80 per cent – 90 per cent in countries that are still developing.

The consensus from panellists and attendees at the event was that organisations need to stop viewing the support of People of Determination as a ‘privilege’ but shift their perception towards making this a necessity and a way of life by developing inclusive recruitment policies, eliminating stereotypes, and sensitising Team Members in the workplace through regular trainings.