Congratulations to our Alumni of the Month for October: Haris Aftab (1995) who was recently promoted to the Regional Manager Saskatchewan, Heritage Inn Hotels, Canada. Haris also regularly assists the school with placement and graduate opportunities.
Haris shares a little about his career journey and some advice in a special Q&A below.
What do you love most about the hospitality industry?
Every day is a new day in the hotel industry. When I was asked 32 years ago what I wanted to become, I had three options: joining the military, joining my family business or going into the hotel industry. I opted for hotels and I have learnt a lot during my journey. I have seen many ups and downs, travelled all around the world, worked in Europe, Australia, Asia, Gulf countries and North America. I have opened and managed hotels and closed some of them as well but that is part of the game. But when I sit back and think, I feel happy that I chose this path.
What’s the most valuable lesson you have learned throughout your years as a hotelier?
Never judge a book by its cover. Always wait for details and then make decisions. Adapt, Improvise, Overcome, Dream It, Build it, Celebrate: these six words are my key takeaways from my hospitality career.
What is your prediction for tourism numbers in Canada for the next 12-24 months?
It will improve and prosper. It has taken a great hit during COVID-19 but will recover. Canada is a popular destination, it has a lot to offer for every traveler: cosmopolitan cities, mountains, ski resorts and beaches. So, Canada serves everyone’s appetite. You name it, Canada has it.
Belonging to professional networks can be powerful for career development. How do you build or maintain yours?
Stay in touch with your peers and professional friends; connect to different professional groups and actively take part in processes for the betterment of the industry. Listen to new ideas and learn from others’ experience. As a wise man once said, “If you have an idea, share it with someone as then his idea will be shared and at the end you will both have two ideas.” A win-win situation.
How do you achieve work/life balance?
The concept of working Monday to Friday is changing, so you need to balance your life according to scheduling. If your schedule is good then you can easily have all your ducks in the row, in both your professional or personal life.
When international borders start to open again, where is the first place you would like to visit and why?
When things are normal, I would like to go to Europe, as in one trip you can visit many countries. I also want to refresh my memories when I was studying in IHTTI Switzerland. From there I would travel to Australia and meet old friends and refresh my memories of BMIHMS.