Mar­riott brand pours in more money to boost hos­pi­tal­ity ed­u­ca­tion project

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS - By ZHOU MO in Shen­zhen sally@chi­nadai­

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.

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