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Classes are key

Tom Fitzgibbon, director of enrolment, Kendall College, Chicago, talks about emerging opportunities in hospitality.reports Rahat Bano

education Updated: Mar 24, 2010 09:12 IST
Rahat Bano
Rahat Bano
Hindustan Times

There are a variety of study courses in hospitality, and travel and tourism? What should an aspirant look for in a good programme?
The area of highest importance is the actual classes in the programme. For example, in Delhi I discussed the growing investment that the Indian government is making in the hotel industry, specifically. Given that fact, it would be highly beneficial for students to focus on coursework that involves the operations within a hotel (hotel management, convention and meeting management, or food and beverage operations). In some cases (not necessarily in India), I have seen an increase in the number of schools offering “tourism” programmes that focus more on tourist-related activities. While helpful, the scope of these areas is nowhere near the breadth of the hotel industry.

Which hospitality-related areas/courses do you think are more suitable for India, i.e. where does Indian industry need more expertise?
I think the most applicable areas for classes would be those where the growth is expected to occur. The highest investment appears to be in the development of more hotels to address guest demand. As such, any courses on hotel administration, management, etc. would be helpful. In addition, a programme should also have a strong business component.

Is there any specific part or aspect of work in the global hospitality industry that is taking centre stage and which aspirants might like to explore?
Considering the efficient efforts made by the Indian government to promote tourism, there is high demand for professional employees in India’s travel and hotel industry. Also, other areas in Indian hospitality and tourism like eco tourism, wellness, themes parks, and religious places need efficient and professional employees.
Today, in India and other developing countries, there is a huge rise in well-travelled, sophisticated and savvy consumers. Along with business traffic, many middle class families can afford to travel by air. Keeping this in mind, a person in hospitality is expected to know the entire breadth of this sector.

Are there any new skills or traits that the hospitality industry demands from prospective professionals?
There are two: a significant business understanding, and a keen ability to provide great service. While the service component isn’t necessarily new, it’s becoming more relevant given the highly competitive nature of the industry.

With prevalent security threats from militants in many countries, including India, has there been change in the kind of preparation entrants require? What’s the training school’s response, if any, been to this challenge?
Clearly, this is a continuing issue throughout the world. I can’t say that there has been a drastic recent change in how these issues are addressed in the classroom. Since we are preparing students who could (and do) work in several countries outside of the United States, this subject is covered in several of the hotel management operations courses. We do not currently offer a stand-alone course in hotel security per se, but it is covered in several of our current courses.