Hospitality is hot
Nov 12, 2014-
Two years ago, Doma Lama of Bhaisepati, Kavre, who had just completed her A levels, was preparing to go abroad for further studies. But her father convinced her to study a Bachelor’s in Hotel Management (BHM) course in Nepal, rather than abroad, because of the educational opportunities here. She was also swayed into changing her mind when she learned about the expanding hospitality industry in the country.
“My family members motivated me to choose this education, and I have not regretted the choice,” she says.
At present, hotel management is considered one of the most popular courses in Nepal. The hospitality industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors, and the many hotels and resorts across the country offer ample job opportunities.
Pravaskar Parajuli of Jhapa, who studies BHM at the International School of Tourism and Hotel Management (IST), has a similar opinion to Lama’s. “I always wanted to work in hospitality management and today I see my dream coming true because I chose this subject,” he says. Parajuli is optimistic that he will have a promising career because he has seen his seniors find jobs easily after completing their study.
Hospitality is a field that has seen tremendous success and growth in the country in the past few years. And because Nepal is among the most popular tourist destinations—because of its diverse topography, culture and religion—studying professional courses related to the hospitality sector has always proven to be beneficial in the long run.
With tourist arrivals increasing, the sector is going through an interesting phase, and immense investments are pouring in from domestic as well as foreign investors. The increasing demand for hotel rooms, which is expected to grow in the future, is strengthening the confidence of investors.
To meet the demands of the industry, Nepal will have to produce huge numbers of skilled manpower to cater to hotels and resorts looking to hire personnel for their food and beverage departments, housekeeping and sales and marketing.
The growth in the number of students opting for hotel management is largely a phenomenon of the past ten years. Earlier, students did not think that hospitality education was a part of mainstream education and many thought it was an easy major with no prospects. Today, students consider the sector a lucrative one with lots of opportunities. The sector has gained respect over the years because of the job security and income it can provide, among others.
Today, hotel management programmes teach not just culinary skills, but also groom the students into professionals who can work in hospitals, airlines, travel agencies, educational institutes and many others.
Hospitality education has also grown in popularity because products of the colleges here are today sought by employers in the international market.
The Hotel Management course was introduced in Nepal in 1972, when the government established the Nepal Academy of Tourism and Hotel Management (NATHM), affiliated to Tribhuvan University. At that time, NATHM used to provide short training courses.
After nearly three decades, NATHM introduced a three-year Bachelor in Hotel Management (BHM) course. NATHM was the only institution to run the course until 2003. Today, however, there are many private institutions that provide BHM courses. Among these are institutions affiliated to Nepali universities as well as universities abroad.
The colleges offering hotel management courses provide the students with both theoretical and practical knowledge in order to help them compete in the global market. The practical and skill-oriented courses teach housekeeping skills, kitchen, food and beverage service knowhow and front office skills too. After the completion of their course, the students should easily get job opportunities at the entry level and can look toward gradually being promoted to supervisory and managerial positions.
The duration of the BHM course in Nepal is 3-4 years and it varies with institutions. The subjects that the students are offered include Food and Beverage Production, Security Management, Food and Beverage Management, Tourism Management, Strategic Management and many others.
During their third semester or after the completion of the course, many of these students are provided internship oppportunities for a period of six months to a year in five star hotels in Dubai, Malaysia, Qatar, Singapore, Austria and Switzerland, among others; such internships allow them to gain experience, which will help them in their career later. These internships offered by the colleges have further attracted more students to this sector.
Khem Raj Lakai, founder and CEO of Global Academy of Tourism and Hospitality Education (GATE), says that Nepal will have five new five-star hotels in the next five years because there has been increasing investment in the sector. “With the establishment of the hotels, a large number of graduates are likely to get job opportunities,” he says.
It also helps that when they opt for working in this sector, students are training to join the workforce in an area that employs some of the most number of people in the world. The sector also shows no sign of slowing down. The World Travel Organisation predicts that the industry will triple in size by 2020.
“The hospitality industry is one of the world’s most dynamic industries, and it has continued to grow and expand every year,” says Lakai.
According to Samjhana Basnyat, Principal of IST, the education will also teach students about personality and attitude development, and language, etiquette and other skills. “The students who want to become a part of the hospitality industry should learn to fit in any kind of industry that aims at maintaining good customer relations.”
Basnyat suggests that the students first conduct enough research regarding the sector and the subject before choosing to enroll, as it requires a lot of dedication and hard work to succeed in the sector. “It is a subject that focuses on developing multiple skills, so students need to be serious if they want to succeed,” she says. The Programme Coordinator at Aayaam International College, Khimananda Koirala, is convinced that if the students are serious about the programme, they will be in for good days ahead. “The students who choose this career will have a bright future, and they don’t need to worry about finding jobs,” he says.
Published: 13-11-2014 09:30