Toast to the hosts | Monocle

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How can you get your country to have hospitality as part of its dna and (almost) effortlessly make outsiders feel welcomed and ready to engage?

Treat migrants with generosity but ensure they abide by the house rules.
Treat tourists as nice people; make them feel welcome the very second they arrive. Also: remember to give them a warm send-off.
Encourage your population to speak other people’s languages.
Teach children how to do things for others – and how to cook a meal.
Use your embassies for good bashes and appoint ambassadors who can also do the fun stuff.

The job of a hotel general manager is never easy. There’s the gentleman in 1204 who has not paid his bill and keeps slipping past the front desk and the woman in 1611 who seems to have packed the towels into her capacious suitcase. But some GMs have rather more testing concerns: gunmen, assassins and bombers. These are the GMs who, against all the odds, keep hotels up and running in Mogadishu, Kabul and Tripoli. They are the GMs who will not only organise your choice of morning paper but an armed bodyguard, too.

The teams who run these outposts of clean sheets and (mostly) safe nights are interviewed in our feature on hotels in danger spots around the globe (see page 27). And this theme of hospitality also runs like a housemaid’s duster across all of the sections in this month’s magazine, buffing a nice report here and polishing a series of briefings there.

While we cover the world of hotels and restaurants we also look at the bigger meaning of hospitality and what doing it well can mean for your company or nation. Because, done with skill and grace, hospitality is a powerful thing. In our Expo (page 167) this month we investigate the role of the embassy bash and how astute ambassadors serve up tempting diplomacy disguised as a miniature vol-au-vent. Not suprisingly it turns out the Poles, Swedes and Brazilians are all rather good at the game.

Yet hospitality is not just a cultural blessing: it can also be learnt. For our business pages we dispatched our associate editor Matt Alagiah to Finland to see how for decades that nation has trained its children to be self-reliant, ready for anything and able to cook a nice meal via a series of lessons that even include how to clean an oven. It’s why a teen Finn would be a good person to turn to for help and a dose of hospitality. Make sure you also head over to our design pages, where we have a stellar line-up of hospitality leaders including Ilse Crawford who has created one of the best airport lounges we’ve ever seen. This month it’s all about hospitality in its many guises; it’s monocle in a pinny.

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