Saudi Arabia Hospitality Investment Conference

14-16 April 2020 | Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, U.A.E

Speaker profile

David Thomson
The First Group

A Scot with an outrageous English accent, I joined The First Group in July 2018, to establish the TFG Hotel Management Company, which now operates 4 hotels and hotel apartments with another 7 under development, two of which will open later this year..

Prior to joining The First Group, I spent 17 years with JA Resorts & Hotels, initially as their Director of Sales & Marketing, becoming their Chief Operating Officer a position, I held for five years, before I left.

I have a hands-on management style which is focused on helping people to be the best they can be. I believe that hospitality is about creating memories and leaving lasting impressions. Never one for airs and graces I live by the phrase ‘no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care’. Caring and being curious is the approach I instill in all my teams at all levels.

However, I am also passionate and driven, with an entrepreneurial spirit and my goal is to deliver, whether it is to owners, shareholders, guests, the associates I work with or the community I live in.

I have been very actively involved in fund raising for charities such as the Dubai Autism, Al Noor Centre for Special Needs, Rashid Centre for the Disabled and the All As One Orphanage in Sierra Leone,

I publicly shaved my head on the JA stand at Arabian Travel Market in 2014 raising US$ 30,000 and walked 145 kilometers to Hatta (the long way round) in 44 hours in 2015, raising more than US$ 55,000.

I am a great believer in sustainability and protecting the environment and I believe our hotels are some of the most environmentally friendly hotels in the UAE.

When not delivering at work or to the community, I am a father of two and very proud father to six great young adults, through a blended family I share with my wife Deborah, who is herself a very successful Hotel General Manager.

The now largely empty nest does leave me more time to pursue my other passions which are diving, golf, alpine skiing, motorcycle riding and keeping fit. I really do believe in ‘healthy body healthy mind’. I am also well-travelled; indeed, South America is the only continent I have not visited.

I am a qualified Coaches Training Institute Coactive Coach and it is a skill I have been able to use inside and outside the work place. I have also completed several courses in transpersonal therapy which I studied over a period of four years.