The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Hotel boom spurs degree school spree

Realising that the hospitality industry is headed for a boom in the years ahead, the state government has two institutes of hotel management and seven institutes of foodcraft in the pipeline for raising human resources for big and medium hotels.

Besides, plans are all but finalised for a separate institute that will train tourist guides, tour operators and travel agents.

One institute of hotel management will be located in the city, the other will be at Siliguri. Of the seven foodcraft institutes, two will be in Calcutta and others at Burdwan, Malda, Siliguri, Darjeeling and South 24-Parganas.

The institutes will be the first of its kind run by the state government. At present, there is only one such institute in the city, run by the Centre — the Institute of Hotel Management and Catering Technology. The only foodcraft institute is located in Darjeeling. Though several private-sector hotel management institutes have come up recently in and around the city, officials said most of them were not up to the mark. The proposed institutes will be set up and run by the tourism department, in association with the technical education department.

“The government has imparted a major thrust to the tourism industry and, accordingly, has adopted several plans and programmes. As many big and medium hotels and restaurants are coming up in the city and at different tourist spots, there will be a huge requirement of manpower, in both the management and general categories in those hotels. Our move is aimed at producing manpower for these hotels and restaurants. We want to build up a modern institute, where the best of education in the field of hotel management will be imparted,’’ explained Mihir Sengupta, director of tourism.

Apart from managerial staff, Sengupta said, a large number of employees are needed in all the big hotels in the medium and lower categories. The institutes can feed that demand. There is also scope for the tourist guides and tour operators, the director of tourism pointed out.

Though the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management offers a post-graduate diploma in travel and tourism management, it is too sketchy to meet the demand, officials said.

According to the state government plan, a three-year degree course in hotel management will be introduced at the new institutes, for which the syllabus will be drawn up in parity with other reputed institutions in the country. There will also be an arrangement for higher degree and research work. Besides, the students will be imparted hands-on training in big hotels.

In the foodcraft institutes, training will be provided in four parts — cookery, catering, dining and servicing. Youths passing from the foodcraft institute can pick up jobs at medium hotels, tourist resorts and restaurants, or can even be self-employed.

Managing director of West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation Sourin Bhattacharya said experts and officers are working to prepare a detailed project report, along with funding pattern and possible sources of funds, for the institutes. “Right now we are looking for suitable plots for the schools and hope to get them soon,’’ he said.

Writers’ Buildings officials said a chunk of the funds for the project could be taken from the Centre. Private parties, too, may be drawn into the project.

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