The Tourism and Hospitality industries seem to be undergoing a renaissance despite forecasts of economic gloom. Not only have tourists become savvier in terms of their choices and demands, but also an array of new destinations seemed to have sprouted in an ever-increasingly interconnected world, notably diversifying the travel landscape.
We speak to Arie van der Spek, vice president of the Laureate Hospitality Education, who tells us about the present and future of the hospitality sector in the UK:
Tourism, together with travel, is now regarded as the world’s fastest growing industry. What factors have contributed to this growth?
'Advancements in technology have played a huge role, with travel becoming much more accessible. There are more flight routes available and online booking, and the growth of social media have changed the relationship between the customer and the industry. Today, people are better and more informed – reviews can be read and bookings made at the touch of a button.
Current affairs can also have an impact. In London, recent growth in the industry has been driven by key events such as the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympic Games. In 2012 alone, 8,000 new hotel rooms opened in the capital and a further 5,000 are forecast to open in 2013.
Growth is also driven by industry trends. For example, the increasing popularity of boutique hotels is emerging as a key area of expansion and is forecast to be the fastest growing hotel segment in London, expecting to double in size between 2011 and 2013. Factors contributing to the growth of the travel and tourism sectors are many and varied.'
Why do you think hospitality has become one of the most dynamic fields of employment?
'Hospitality is the UK’s fifth-largest industry and, as such, it offers a wide and varied scope for career progression. When students come to study hospitality, it enables them to enter into a range of different fields, from general management to industry analysts, sports and events management and more.'
Why do you think London is such a perfect destination to study this subject?
'As one of the most important financial and business hubs in the world, London is the natural choice in terms of choosing a location to study. It is one of the most dynamic and desirable places to pursue international studies, giving our students an ideal setting to learn and thrive. Not forgetting that Central London alone is home to over 1,600 hotels, offering ample opportunities for internships and future job prospects.'
What career prospects do Hospitality and Tourism graduates have in today’s economy?
'The hospitality industry is one of the largest employers, second only to government. There are 54 Michelin star restaurants in London alone, and despite the economic climate, the industry continues to grow at a rapid rate. Over the next ten years the industry’s total contribution to global UK GDP is expected to rise by 4% per year, which translates to approximately 69 million new jobs over the same period (WTTC, November 2011).'
What kind of topics will students be able to study in courses such as Bachelor of Business Administration in Hospitality Management?
'Our school follows the exceptional Swiss approach to hospitality education, combining theoretical and practical learning as well as professional development. The curricular is divided into three sections, professional development, general education and transformative education – each one is focused on developing specific aptitudes in order for graduates to be fully prepared to lead and manage teams.
At Glion Institute of Higher Education, for example, we offer a bachelor's degree with seven specialisations as the industry is looking for experts.
Our Bachelor of Business Administration in Hospitality Management is split into seven semesters, two of which consist of compulsory internships. Topics include hospitality operations and craft-based learning, such as the principles of marketing and travel and tourism, financial accounting, food and beverage management, managing rooms’ revenue and business administration.'