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It’s Time To Give Meaning To Our Lives: Praveen Shetty

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Staff Writer, TLR

Published on July 14, 2023, 17:41:00


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Welcoming 2022 with Hope

By Srinivasan Nandagopal

The impending Pandemic that struck as a jolt from the blue almost a couple of years ago, has truly taught a lesson or more to the mankind. It has left an indelible imprint in the minds of each of the six billion plus beings without leaving anyone in isolation. From the rich and famous business tycoons to the high and mighty Governments the world over, had to bear the brunt of this invisible enemy. 
Optimism is in the air as we welcome the new year, but the threats of this biological aggression is far from over. Caution is the key word as we move ahead. One of the worst affected sectors of the industry during the first and second waves of the Covid widespread, has been the tourism and hospitality industry which is just crawling back in its recovery path. 

Catching up with successful hotelier and a key player in the food and retail sector, Praveen Shetty, Chairman & Managing Director, Fortune Group of Hotels, Dubai (A Praveen Shetty Enterprise), The Law Reporters could open up his mind as the businessman went philosophical stating “How terrible it is not to give our lives meaning – Every Hour of Every Day”. 

Excerpts from the Virtual Interview with Praveen Shetty.

The Law Reporters : Looking back for almost two years, how do you assess the present scenario?
Praveen Shetty : After months of COVID-related mayhem that’s touched every aspect of our industry, there’s finally a bright spot in the form of vaccines being approved and rolled out all across the world. We understand getting a jab is yet another important step in fighting the virus. And may be with the new emerging variants, a booster may take us closer to ending this pandemic. 

Even though our team leaders have already navigated a number of pandemic-related trials over the last two years, the new threat of Omicron spreading fast, is keeping us on our toes. It is not just that we need to protect the business interests, but we also need to prioritize the health and safety of our staff members more than ever. 

TLR : With a string of people-friendly measures and Legal provisions accorded by the rulers of UAE, how do you see the growth prospects in the economy as we enter into the new year.
PS : We have full faith in the leadership of Dubai & UAE.  Having said that, I completely agree and understand the dilemma policy makers may have in such uncertain times. But I am certain, Dubai is always ready to take on the challenges and with the lessons learnt from the crisis, Dubai has taken various initiative to return to its former numbers of 2019. 
Dubai has been one among the first destinations that successfully opened to international tourists, months before hosting the Expo 2020. Merging its economic and tourism departments, I see Dubai indeed pushing efforts to enhance the city’s competitiveness and expand foreign trade. This will certainly help drive Dubai as one of the top cities in major economic indicators and attracting thousands of new companies in the coming years. 

TLR : With the global focus on UAE which is at its Golden Year, what is in-store in 2022?
Well, it is our constant endeavour to incorporate the very latest in design, facility and service trends at all our hotels that suits both business and leisure travellers. We are looking to grow further in UAE.
PS : At Fortune Group of Hotels, we have experienced a significant boost in the last four months. Dubai Investment Park (DIP) has a significantly smaller pool of inventory, and with the advent of DIP Metro station opening right outside our Fortune Park Hotel, it has given a huge locational advantage to this 4-star hotel. Expo has definitely impacted the hotel asset value. Besides the short-term benefits for the hospitality industry, this Expo will give a major exposure to Dubai and the United Arab Emirates on a huge scale. The whole world is watching. And I am so proud to be living here and witnessing the Dubai success story unfold. The hotels in Bur Dubai and Deira have also seen a positive uptick in terms of occupancy and ARRs. We are optimistic as always, but now a bit realistic approach with caution is the need of the hour and I am taking every day as it comes. 
In 2022, not just hotels, we are looking to take our popular FnB brands like Freddy`s, Desi Dhaba, Rasa, Ascent – The Roof Top Lounge to standalone retail format and expand our offerings to reach newer locations within Dubai and whole of UAE.  

TLR : Your message to the general populous.
PS : We are currently in the middle of a worldwide crisis that has changed our lives beyond recognition. We are confronted with the truth of human life. The Covid-19 pandemic shows us how venerable we are.  We are brought face to face with the most basic questions of life. What have we done with our lives? The pandemic leads us to some painful insights. How terrible it is not to give our lives meaning – every hour of every day.
The time has come to re-evaluate the appropriate goal of business; our personal goals. The pandemic shows us that the goals of both domains must always be the same: contributing to the fulfilment of human needs and purposes. This requires us to cooperate locally when we face local challenges, nationally when we face national challenges, and globally when we face global challenges.