Travel. Experience. Culture. Insight.Broadening horizons. Satiating the need for the perfect selfie. Travel has become an aspirational good,an opportunity to break away from the grind of work and find both calm and exhilaration. A stairway to one’s best life, which is, for many, no longer out of reach. With favorable economic conditions a decade on from America’s emergence from the depths of recession and global emerging markets taking their seat at the table, the travel industry is experiencing what Deloittecalls “a historic burst in travel demand”.
Against this backdrop, competition among travel destinations is acute and contemporary challenges are aplenty. Trusty tourism hotspots now have to reckon with the likes of Vietnam, rising stars promising holidays off the beaten track.Traditional hotels are going up against homestays, facilitated by a plethora of apps. It seems digital strategies have become as integral a part of the industry as the turndown service. All the while, artificial intelligence lurks ominously, waiting for its potential to be tapped into by professionals with “hybrid” skills – a solid footing in hotelier expertise as well as knowledge of all things technical.
An abundance of color and potential
Where, then, does a country like India come in?For those travelling from afar, there is something distinctly alluring about a country that indulges in unapologetic color, joyful dance, and swathes of lavish, intricate fabric. Where textural cuisine plays on spice as if it were a fine-tuned instrument. Where time is a malleable concept, and family valuesand religion takecenter-stage. For domestic travelers – a rising middle class with increasing disposable incomes according to the India Brand Equity Foundation – event-based tourism spanning sites of spiritual interest, wedding tourism and the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) segment harbors potential. As does wellness tourism, with SRI International projecting that India will be the fastest-growing nation in thisindustry in the next five years.
In contrast, the upscale segment of India’s hotel industry has long since been highly organized. It is clustered around a few key cities, while the budget segment is more prevalent in tier-two and tier-three cities.Room supply is on the up, thanks to the signing of 201 hotels containing 19128 keys in 2018. The unorganized sector is also experiencing rapid growth and striving for greater structure through the advent of room aggregator giants such as OYO Rooms.
Advances in the hospitality sector are clearly stirring. If India is to best exploit its scope for growth, it will need to evolve and adapt, keeping up with changing trends. According to Forbes India, this is a matter of targeting, reaching out to new audiences and new sectors in the domestic and international travel industry. Recent government investment in rural and semi-rural locations, set to improve connectivity and access to popular spiritual destinations, should tie in nicely. The same goes for progress in visa policymaking. But if it is to truly flourish, the sector will require skilledhuman resources to channel its potential.
The missing link: qualified professionals
Plugging this gap with individuals certified with world-class skills has the potential to propel the organized sector to fulfilment. Assuming its role as a source of global hospitality manpower supply, India is set to experience a constant churn, giving rise to the requirement for both entry-level staff and future supervisors and junior managers.
Bringing Swiss excellence to India
It seems the Indian hospitality job market requires an injection of excellence. Who better to deliver this than the hospitality management school that put Switzerland on the map? Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL), the first hotel school in the world and the first to receive dual accreditation (NECHE and HES-SO) for its undergraduate program, has to date created a unique professional community of over 25,000 global industry executives and leaders whose shared values have been developed on EHL’s distinctive heritage. Excellence is simply what EHL does.
EHL’s degree programs have a reputation for delivering the right mix of industry know-how, creativity, emotional intelligence, critical thinking and entrepreneurial spirit. These are the prerequisites for meeting the expectations of today’s travelers. These are the experts to employ to both attract the Instagram generation and excel in meeting the needs of seasoned holiday-goers. In addition, EHL embraces the digital age, recognizing how the likes of virtual personal assistants, machine learning and predictive data analysis are changing the face of the hospitality industry and tapping into their potential to take service provision to the next, customized level.
Alongside a 4-year Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management and three formats of Master’s degree level (post-graduate) programs, EHL offers an intensive five-month Culinary & Restaurant Management Certificate program. Short online courses catering to working professionals looking for training on specific topics as well as customized programs for executives seeking to further their skills in specific domains within the hospitality business round off its portfolio of offerings.2019 will also see the EHL Group launch its Swiss Vocational Education and Training (VET) system-based certificate-level hospitality programs, setting up a network of licensed training centers across India and South Asia.
Striding toward success
VET by EHL is entering the Indian market at a highly opportune time. It has set the cogs in motion to train over 20,000 people in the next five years and put them on the fast track to take up their roles in this expanding market.
In June 2019, EHL received the EduTrust certification to deliver its Bachelor course in Singapore. The island city would be EHL’s first international campus. The first cohort of students will begin their Preparatory Year in EHL’s Lausanne campus in September 2020, then continue their Bachelor semesters in Singapore from September 2021 onwards.
The demand is there. The potential is there. EHL has the power to draw upon over 100 years of experience to tie up the wave of attrition and accompany the Indian hospitality sector as it strides toward success.