Monday, September 16, 2013

Hospitality Management Education in Nepal-A bright future in hospitality management

Increasing number hotels and resorts across the country is making the hospitality industry full of opportunities.

With tourist arrivals maintaining an upward trend since mid-2009, the sector is going through an interesting phase, with massive investment pouring in from domestic as well as foreign investors.

Travel trade entrepreneurs say one of the major reasons for increased confidence of investors in the sector is the increasing demand for hotel rooms, which they say is expected to grow significantly over the next couple of years.

Moreover, a number of world-class brands are entering Nepal in the near future, and there would be a rise in demand, particularly for high-level, skilled professionals. Besides, hotels and world-class resorts will be hiring people in different departments like kitchen, service, housekeeping, food and beverage, sales and marketing.

Hospitality leaders say Nepal will have to produce more than 1,5000 skilled manpower over the next five years to cater to the growing demand from the sector.

People’s perception towards hotel and hospitality management education has been changing. The programme is not merely about culinary skills, but hotel management courses could groom students for success in ever-expanding hospitality sector. Moreover, the opportunities are not limited to domestic boundaries.

“Skilled manpower is in greater demand in the global arena,” says Khem Raj Lakai, founder and CEO of Global Academy of Tourism and Hospitality Education (GATE). As investors confidence picks up in the hospitality sector, Lakai estimates that Nepal will have at least five new five-star hotels in the next five years.

Official figures investors, including domestic and foreign, have committed investment in 65 hotel projects that will add 3,036 beds to the country’s tourist accommodation capacity.

Non-resident Nepali Shesh Ghale is also building a five-star hotel in Kathmandu. The property will be known as Sheraton Kathmandu Hotel. Ghale’s MIT Group Holding Nepal has signed an agreement with Starwood Hotels and Resort Worldwide Inc and has set the project rolling. Slated to open in February 2018, the 225-room hotel will be managed by Starwood Hotels & Resorts.

Likewise, Nepal Hospitality Group has signed a management agreement with a subsidiary of Marriott International to open a four-star property dubbed Fairfield by Marriott Kathmandu. The international brand, Marriott, will look after the management of the hotel. The proposed 10-storey hotel under construction in Thamel will have 108 rooms and is spread over two-and-a-half ropanies of land and is slated to open by the beginning of 2016.

Besides, the country’s established business houses are increasingly getting involved in tourism. Some of the country’s well-known conglomerates such as Golyan Group, TM Dugar Group and Chaudhary Group are pouring billions in the hotel sector.

“As domestic and global market demand for skilled manpower is increasing, the tourism schools are attracting more and more students,” says Lakai. The collages are also expending accordingly, he said. “In additional, Nepal’s hotel management colleges are gradually attracting foreign students and this reflects Nepal can become a prominent education hub too.”

Established seven years ago, GATE, a Swiss-affiliated college, offers a three-year Higher Diploma in Hotel and Restaurant Management accredited by the Swiss School of Tourism & Hospitality. Around 90 percent students are sent as interns abroad in different star hotels.

Presently, there are an estimated 26-30 colleges in the country under the affiliation of Tribhuvan University, Pokhara University, Kathmandu University and Purbanchal University. There are also a number of hotel management schools under international affiliation.

These institutions are providing degrees such as four-year Bachelor in Hotel Management, or two-year Master in Hotel Management, besides vocational training.

These also come attached with eventual overseas internships in countries like Malaysia, Singapore, Dubai, Hong Kong, Switzerland, and India, as well as job placements for the deserving.

Institutes like Nepal Academy of Tourism and Hotel Management, Global Institute of Hotel Management and Tourism Technical Centre, Bagmati Hotel Training Centre, Mahalaxmi Chef Associates, Basematics Hotel and Catering Training Centre and Shangri La Tourism and Hotel Training offer training in different areas related to the hotel business. These include both short-and long-term programmes.

Nepal has witnessed improved tourist arrivals since mid-2009 due to the improvements in the peace process. At present, Nepal attracts 800,000 tourists every year and the government has envisaged an ambitious plan, Vision 20-20, that aims to attract two million tourists by 2020 every year. The private sector has realised that tourism could be a long-term industry if long-lasting peace prevails.

Kashi Nath Khanal, principal of Quest International College, explains more opportunities would be available in the hospitality industry if the country sees a sustained peace. “There are a number of colleges providing quality, world-class education,” he said, adding the country is now producing around 400 hospitality graduates annually.

The hotel industry also has tremendous growth potential. Nepal is an ideal destination for tourists as it is the only country with the most diverse topography, religion and culture.

As investors have committed investment in 65 hotels and resorts, Khanal said Nepal’s hospitality sector needs at least 15,000 to 18,000 skilled individuals within next five years.

In addition, the demand for skilled manpower is on the rise globally. “Our sole motto is to groom students with both local and international exposure by providing internship facilities in and out of the country,” Khanal said. “We provide both knowledge- and training-based education so that it helps our graduates compete in the global market,” Khanal added. For example, Quest International College fresh graduates have been offered more than Rs 75,000 monthly salary abroad.

When it comes to students’ choice, the pioneer Nepal Academy of Tourism and Hotel Management is at the forefront. NATHM has a four-decade history in tourism and hotel management education.

Shiva Prasad Jaishi, senior officer at NATHM, says the college more than 33,000 graduates in both academic and training courses. “NATHM’s academic graduates are well received in the global hospitality sector in higher positions,” says Jaishi, adding the college was working to develop itself as a centre for excellence in the South Asian region to help it gain global exposure and even attract international students. NATHM will next year launching an 80-room four-star hotel on its premises in a bid to provide skill-oriented education to its students. The proposed hotel will also have four apartment, four suites and two penthouses.

Nepal’s travel and tourism sector accounted for 3.6 percent of the total employment in the country in 2012, according to Travel and Tourism Economic Impact 2012 Nepal published by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).

The report shows that the travel trade provided 553,500 jobs directly in 2012. The contribution was 412,500 in 2011. The WTTC report has projected that the travel trade sector’s contribution to the country’s total employment will rise by 7 percent in 2013. Direct employment provided by the sector includes employment by hotels, travel agents and airlines and other passenger transportation services. It also includes the activities of restaurants and leisure industries directly supported by tourists.

source:The Kathmandu Post,15 Sep 2013