Marriott brand pours in more money to boost hospitality education project
The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation, a charitable foundation in the United States, plans to pour more money into its hospitality education project here.
This will help nurture talent to support the country’s booming travel and tourism industry.
The China Hospitality Education Initiative, known as CHEI, aims to enhance hospitality education by providing professional training to teachers.
Hopefully, this will equip them with knowledge and real-world experiences in the hospitality sector, as well as providing resources to improve classroom curricula.
An official said the initial budget for the project was $6.5 million, which spanned its first five years, running from 2013 to 2017.
Anne L. Gunsteens, execu- tive director of the foundation, said the investment for the following five years would be greater than the first five years.
She did not give an exact figure, however, because it has to be finalized.
More than 800 teachers from 86 universities and vocational schools across the country have participated in the program since its launch in 2013, helping more than 100,000 hospitality students, Gunsteens said.
Most of the schools are in lower-tier cities, where educational resources are less developed.
The foundation is also working with 86 hotels to help trainees gain practical experience.
“Our hope is that we are teaching schools to do this on their own, so eventually some of the schools that we have been working with for three or four years may not need us anymore,” Gunsteens said.
“So, we can move to other schools that have not had the support,” Gunsteens added.
She said that the foundation plans to partner with more schools and hotels in the coming years in order to make a bigger impact in China.
“Hopefully, we can help several hundred thousand more students,” she added.
With the increase in average incomes and an expanding middle class, China’s travel and tourism industry has seen robust development over the past few years.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the industry generated more than 3.9 trillion yuan ($574.8 billion) in total revenue last year, representing a 15.2 percent year-on-year increase. Chinese tourists made 4.4 billion trips in 2016, up 11.2 percent from the year earlier.
“Chinese people’s demand for internationalized services in hotels is growing. Therefore, our requirements for hospitality employees are growing,” said Bill Lu, vicepresident of Talent Acquisition and Human Capital Planning at APAC Marriott International.
Song Deli, president of Shandong College of Tourism and Hospitality, said the quality of teaching at the college had improved greatly since they took part in the program.
“Previously there was little interaction between educators and students,” Song said.
“Now, teachers pay much more attention to that, which has greatly improved the communication abilities of students,” he added.
has been donated for hospitality training here.