Hotel chain owner Accor has trimmed its workforce in the Middle East and Africa as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to impact the hospitality industry.
According to a Bloomberg report, the French multinational hospitality company has axed around 800 jobs. Accor has nearly 25,000 employees in the region, most of whom were either furloughed or assigned reduced working hours.
However, in an interview to the Bloomberg TV, Accor Middle East & Africa CEO Mark Willis said that the demand has been recovering in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. He also unveiled plans to make further investments in new technology to regain customer confidence.
Accor plans to emphasise on contactless check-in and checkout operations as well as use Whatsapp for communication and providing online menus.
Willis was quoted by the publication as saying: “The environment has changed dramatically but that’s something we just need to deal with and not be afraid of.”
The move comes when several Gulf nations are taking steps to reduce lockdown measures.
Saudi Arabia plans to withdraw restrictions and return to normalcy by June 21. Dubai has allowed several businesses to reopen, while Kuwait will also withdraw 24-hour curfew.
Willis further noted that the company does not plan to increase prices, despite the impact on its businesses.
Accor operates around 5,000 hotels in 110 countries. It furloughed nearly three-quarters of its 220,000 workforce after it closed its locations following Covid-19 outbreak.