Swiss touch The hospitality sector is booming despite bad times elsewhere
The hospitality industry is the fastest growing in the world, second only to healthcare. It includes tourism, food and beverage, lodging, event planning, theme parks, transportation and cruiselines.
It accounted for 313 million jobs in 2017. About 20 per cent of new jobs created in the last decade was in this sector and the World Travel and Tourism Council has predicted that another 72 million new jobs will be created in the next 10 years.
Even in India, where the economy has hit a rough patch, the hospitality sector is thriving, having attracted $10.6 billion in foreign investment in the new millennium. The sector offers a range of jobs — from event planner to hotel general manager to facilities asset manager and beyond. Entrepreneurs can start their own restaurants and boutique hotels while professionals have the opportunity to work in glamorous settings around the world.
While India boasts a number of quality hotel management schools, Switzerland is known for its hospitality education. According to the QS World University Rankings for Hospitality and Leisure Management Institutes, four of the top 10 institutes in 2019 are Swiss and three, British.
Our business is a people business, so soft skills such as emotion intelligence and cognitive flexibility are taught in a hospitality school; they will not be found in any hotel handbook,” says Sarosh Daruwalla, country head, India, of Les Roches Global Hospitality Education and Glion Institute of Higher Education, two Swiss institutes that feature on the QS list.
“In our industry, you have to think digital but act analogue. Virtual and augmented reality are already playing a big role in giving people perspective before they actually visit the property, you have robotic butlers, electronic check-ins, your telephone becomes your key card. Technology is being used to collect a lot of data points for the customers, thereby giving them individual attention and making them feel special. Our industry has evolved from hotel management to hospitality and now to the experience industry. Students have to be trained to take up key positions at a young age,” adds Daruwalla, himself a former student of Les Roches.
“Those keen to explore world-class hospitality education need quality firsthand information while students who are undecided need the right exposure to consider hospitality as a career,” says Mitali Rawool, assistant director, Zista Education India, which held the Global Hospitality Education Expo in Mumbai, Calcutta, Bangalore, Jaipur and Delhi over the last four weeks. “At each expo, students got the opportunity to interact with representatives of the finest institutes. They also got a chance to learn about latest industry trends and happenings through interactive sessions and workshops,” she adds. University representatives and faculty members were present to give a clear idea about admission procedures, scholarship options and job opportunities.
These kinds of seminars are pivotal for students. They give you an exposure into what your future can be like,” says Aradhana Khullar, director, Amber Restaurant in Calcutta and alumnus of Les Roches. “Back when I was deciding which college to join, I attended such a seminar. It was there that I decided to study at Les Roches and it has been the best decision I have ever made,” she adds.
Khullar chose a Swiss institute because she wanted global exposure, she explains. After all, Switzerland is just as famous for its hospitality as it is for its chocolates. The oldest hospitality management school — 126 years old — in the world is Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne in Switzerland, and the learning style is based on discipline, precision, respect for time and different peoples and cultures and, of course, exposure. Daruwalla says, “You learn cultures, what guests from those countries like, what is polite in each place and what isn’t and so on. Such learning is acquired only through experience. It is also good for networking and the alumni help you land a job quite easily.”
The admission procedure too is quite simple, says Greta Frey, director of international business development, International Management Institute (IMI) in Lucerne, Switzerland. “Go on the website and all the information is there. Students need to send in documents and then we contact them. About 50 per cent of our Indian students apply for educational loans; we also provide a small reduction on fees for deserving students and give a small scholarship. The fee covers everything from airport pickup, books, rooms, sheets, tuitions, towels, electricity, water and health insurance. In each year six months are for study and six months for paid internship,” she explains.
“In Switzerland the minimum salary for internship is 2,200 Swiss francs per month (over Rs 1.57 lakh). The students get a qualification from us as well as from the UK universities we collaborate with. Students should also focus on networking as that would help them in their career,” Frey adds.
“I would advise students to get as much exposure as they can, take up internships, be informed about scholarships and loans, keep checking online websites of intended colleges, research options, go to education counsellors to check whether one is suited for the career and attend such expos where one can be more informed,” says Rawool who also holds a master’s degree in hospitality from IMI.
- Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL), Switzerland
- University of Nevada, Las Vegas, US
- Les Roches Global Hospitality Education, Switzerland
- Glion Institute of Higher Education, Switzerland
- The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong
- Hotel School, The Hague, Netherlands
- Swiss Hotel Management School, Switzerland
- University of Surrey, UK
- Oxford Brookes University, UK
- Bournemouth University, UK
Source: QS World University Rankings for Hospitality and Leisure Management Institutes