72 spa workers to join summit in Russia-A A +A
Saturday, September 8, 2012
SOME 72 hospitality workers of Mövenpick Resort & Spa Cebu were sent to Vladivostok, Russia to showcase Filipino hospitality for this year’s gathering of 21 Asia Pacific economies.
Russian Federation Honorary Consul Armi Lopez-Garcia said the hotel’s participation in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Summit 2012, will bring joy and pride to Cebu.
“This is something Cebu should be proud of because we were able to deliver. This whole thing is a blessing for Cebu,” Garcia told Sun.Star Cebu yesterday.
The Apec Summit is a forum for 21 Pacific Rim countries. It sees to promote free trade and economic cooperation throughout the Asia Pacific Region.
This year’s Apec Summit will run from Sept. 2 to Sept. 9.
Mövenpick Resort & Spa Cebu general manager Knuth Kiefer said their employees will handle front hotel services of three of the larger buildings at Russky Island.
Prior to the delegation’s departure to Russia last month, Kiefer said they underwent various operational trainings in communication, luggage handling and telephone
Garcia said the delegation also had a one-month preparation upon their arrival in Russia under the management of Russia’s five-star luxury hotels- President Hotel of Moscow and Golden Ring Hotel Moscow.
Last May, Garcia received a communication from the Office of the Business Administration of the Office of the Russian President asking her to help scout hotel staff in the Philippines for the Apec Summit.
“They wanted Filipino hospitality workers because of our excellent English communication skills,” she said.
Although interest from various hotels to send some of their hotel staff was overwhelming, Garcia said the Russian government wanted to sign a contract with only one hotel.
“And no hotel in Cebu, even in Manila, can provide at least 15 to 25 personnel for the event. It’s such a huge number at a very limited time,” said Garcia.
But Mövenpick Cebu’s renovation program came in at the opportune time.
“They (management) called me and said their renovation program was approved and that they have available manpower to send to Russia while the resort is undergoing renovation,” she said.
Russian officials visited Mövenpick Cebu for the contract signing. Last July, Garcia and Kiefer visited Vladivostok and checked the buildings where the hotel employees will be working and staying.
“The staff has a good place to stay in. This is really a great opportunity for cultural exchange between the Philippines, particularly Cebu, and Russia,” said Garcia.
She noted Cebu could have deployed more staff if given enough time.
She said she has tapped the universities here to send their hotel and management students to fill in vacancies for food and beverages (F&B) and housekeeping.
However, Russia’s stringent medical requirements for F&B and housekeeping prevented the students from joining.
Aside from Mövenpick Cebu, Garcia said the Russian government also tapped the hotel employees of Lotte Hotel of Korea.
“Had it not been for the support of Mövenpick Cebu, this opportunity might be given to other countries,” Garcia said.
The delegation is expected to arrive in Cebu on Sept.10.
“It is certainly an honor for our hotel that we were selected, as it is a reflection of the positive reputation as regards service standards our brand and specifically our employees have gained,” Kiefer said.
Kiefer believes the participation of the hotel in the Apec Summit will have a positive impact for Cebu as a destination.
“Participants in the Apec summit can experience the warm hospitality and service culture the Cebuano people are known for,” he said.
Garcia said the cooperation between Cebu and Russia will renew the sisterhood ties between Vladivostok City and Cebu City, which was established in 1996.
“Cebuanos’ presence in Russia with their charm, smile and hospitality will lighten up the Apec Summit,” said Garcia.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 08, 2012.