MBI International News & Press: 07/11/2005
French Government honours businessman Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber
The French Government honours businessman Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber with Gold Medal for services to Tourism and Culture
At a ceremony in Paris on the 9th November, Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber was awarded a gold medal in recognition of his contribution to the French Tourist Industry.
Mr Al Jaber, who owns hotels throughout France, was presented with the award by Monsieur Leon Bertrand, Minister of Tourism. In his congratulatory speech Monsieur Bertrand said:
Tourism, education, and culture have always had very close ties to one another. In fact, it would not be too much to say that they are all correlated.
When taking a close look to history, one realizes that the very first 'tourists' were the young descendants of English aristocracy. In fact, most of them went along a journey called 'the big tour' that lead them in Italy, considered as the root of antique culture and civilisation.
Hence, it is not surprising for our ministry of tourism and my office to be located here, neighbouring the UNESCO, veritable temple of culture.
It is also not a coincidence if I am about to honour and distinguish today, a man who is a major actor in the tourism industry and a passionate supporter of UNESCO's program throughout the Arab world.
Tourism is not only sun seeking, it is also a wonderful opportunity in discovering new cultures. It gives the possibility for people to exchange and communicate, and thus, enrich themselves with a better understanding of the people. It fosters the capacity of every human to insert himself into the world community.
These are all the values we share, your Excellency, and I am proud to celebrate them by offering you the golden medal of tourism.
Far beyond your generosity toward future generations, which you help through all your charity and educational foundations, you are a successful and wise businessman.
You are the founder and executive president of MBI international, a holding that operates in 3 distinct sectors: - Construction & Development Industry; building luxury compounds in your natal country, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia - Food Industry; in the Arabic Peninsula and North Africa - Hotel Industry; throughout Europe and the Middle East.
This international implementation does not hinder you from keeping very close relationships to your Saudi roots.
You created and founded 'JJ Worldwide' in 1989, in order to manage your assets in the tourism industry. Well, your group owns today 45 hotels and resorts in Europe and the Middle East. These hotels range range from the ultimate luxurious category to economy hotels.
One of the jewels of your collection is certainly the Grand Hotel Wien, a member of the prestigious 'Leading Hotels of the World', without forgetting the Pinheiros Altos Golf Resort in Portugal.
However, it is in France that is concentrated most of your acquisitions: 35 hotels, 13 of which are in Paris. Paris, city of light, city of romance, where two of the most important vessels of this naval fleet are present: the Balzac and the 'Hotel de Vigny', only 'Relais Chateau' in Paris. The Balzac is currently under renovation, in order to offer the finest decoration and the best quality service.
These investments are essential in view of embellishing and modernising France's hotel industry and this ceremony is an initiative to show you our gratefulness and thanking you for all of your contribution to France's position as a luxurious destination.
It is also in France where you have made good friendships and good friends, among them is Xavier Bonnel whom I salute.
Your group continues to grow and prosper on the emerging markets of the Middle East. Two projects are currently under process: the construction of an Amarante four stars hotel in Cairo and the renovation of two leisure cruising ships on the Nile.
The expansion of your hotel activities clearly shows the overall dynamic in worldwide tourism. The growth of international tourists flows raised by 10% in 2004 as it already rose by 5.9% for the January-July 2005 period.
Tourism and the hotel industry are inherently, in their very essence, global industries. The majority of Parisian palaces belong to foreigner investors, and inversely, our hotel groups pursue their expansion abroad. We are therefore in a win-win situation where the nationality of a hotel owner is less important than the occupancy rate of his hotel, considering that it favours employment and economic activity.
Let me remind you that it is in the hotel and restaurant industry that employment have been the more created in 2004 (+2.8%).
France has always occupied a special place in the tourist's heart and it is our responsibility and duty to offer to our hosts a real sense of hospitality and a quality of service at the height of our reputation.
The hotels that you are running, your Excellency, highly contribute to the development of our economy. It was therefore natural to thank you with this golden medal of tourism, in this highly symbolic place, the UNESCO.
You are one of the most generous contributors and, since March 2005, the personal envoy of the Director-General Mr Koïchiro Matsuura 'for education, human rights, tolerance and culture in order to build peace and democracy'
It is our honour and pleasure to associate this distinction to your commitment toward peace, as tourism could be one of its vectors.