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Hospitality: scope, challenges and opportunities

Hospitality is one of the fastest growing industries in the world today. According to the Ernst & Young report, Global Hospitality Industry Insights 2016, the hospitality industry is going to be the single largest employer globally, contributing 1 among 11 jobs generated. The World Travel & Tourism Council calculated that tourism generated 8.31 lakh crore (US$120 billion) or 6.3 percent of the nation’s GDP in 2015 and supported 37.315 million jobs, 8.7 percent of its total employment. The sector is predicted to grow at an average annual rate of 7.5 percent to 18.36 lakh crore (US$270 billion) by 2025 (7.2 percent of GDP). This makes India one of the fastest growing tourism industries over the next decade.

With the Ministry of Tourism (MoT), Government of India targeting over 12 percent growth rate in inbound as well as domestic tourists, it has beenprojected that the tourism sector will generate additional jobs for about 2.5 crore people,both directly and indirectly, during the period 2010-16 (12thPlan). And this number is going to increase with new hotels and resorts cropping up every year as a result of India creating a big name for itself on the tourism map. It is no wonder then that enterprising youngsters have been lining up for hospitality and hotel management related courses at institutes across the country. And the need for a world-class institute in India has never been stronger. Professional hospitality institutes are churning out well qualified professionals every year. Trained professionals, of course, have an advantage over untrained graduates as hotels would rather not invest in training of new recruits.

The hospitality arena in India is not only growing rapidly, but it has developed into a multi-faceted industry. There has been a rapid growth in the development of Indias airline sector. Indians are travelling more as compared to the past because of better connectivity and ease of flying. There has also been an increase in foreign tourist arrivals. With an advancement in technology, hotel rooms can now be booked with a click of a button. From budget hotels to five star properties and home stays to boutique resorts, there is something for every traveller. There is a growing awareness of international hospitality standards and people are demanding high quality services in hotels and restaurants. Social and digital media also gives them a platform to review offerings and express their dissatisfaction. There are several international brands and chains that have entered the local market. And with competition being high, customers are spoiled for choice.

In terms of human resources, this industry experiences a high turnover of skilled people. Moreover, trained hospitality professionals are absorbed by many multi-national companies including banks and IT firms.

Embarking on a career in hospitality can be hugely rewarding. Being a service based industry; an aspirant needs to possess great people skills and the willingness to work hard in order to build a successful career in the hospitality sector. Being a people intensive sector, the hospitality industry is in constant need of people. However candidates opting for this sector have to go through a rigorous training programme to be able to cope with the exacting standards and its growing demands. One particular institute that offers several short term courses and a degree course in hospitality is the V. M. Salgaocar Institute of International Hospitality Education (VMSIIHE), Raia. The Bachelors of Science in International Hospitality Management is an intensive three year programme designed to equip students with all the necessary technical, operational and management skills required by the international hospitality industry.

Candidates who have passed standard 10 from a recognised board in India or any other country are eligible to apply for the three year degree course at VMSIIHE. The programme includes financial management, event management, an internship, research methods and mock interviews. All the courses offered at VMSIIHE are affiliated to the Goa University and the curriculum is focused on the demands of the industry. The state-of-the-art campus features a training kitchen, restaurant, and an attached training hotel, which ensures students are equipped with the right set of skills demanded by the industry. VMSIIHE places their students in starred hotels in India and abroad.

While the opportunities are ample, students need to evaluate their aptitude for a career in hospitality before jumping right in. Candidate must be willing to work in various areas of operation as the profession may require that an employee be asked to work in management, food and beverage service, housekeeping, front office operation, sales and marketing, accounting or any other department depending upon the specific requirement.

Depending on their areas of interest and training, students can work in the areas of hotel and restaurant management, airline catering and cabin service, club management, cruise ship hotel management, hotel and tourism associations, forest lodges and guest houses, catering institutes and even set up an entrepreneurial venture of their own. With ample opportunities for advancement in this field, students that start careers in cafes, bars and lounges will soon find themselves on the fast track towards managerial levels which include taking up the position of a General Manager, Rooms Division Manager, Food & Beverage Manager, Sales & Marketing Manager, Chef and Restaurant Manager. Hospitality students also have an opportunity to build careers in various other sectors including the banking industry, IT industry, food chains, institutions, hospitals and industries that have their own cafeteria facilities and require hospitality professionals.

The hospitality industry overall provides a diverse range of experiences. It is often considered as one of the most exciting career avenues, but there is a lot of work and effort involved behind the scenes. However, with the positive growth of this industry, students with an inclination towards this career have a bright future ahead.

The author is Professor Irfan S. Mirza, CHE, director and principal, V.M. Salgaocar Institute of International Hospitality Education (VMSIIHE)-Goa.

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