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Recipe for success: Hospitality career questions answered

Tuesday, 4 March 2014 - 8:00am IST | Agency: dna
One of the world's high growth sectors, the hospitality industry will add a new job every 2.5 seconds in days to come, says Johan Stromsater, Vice President, Laureate Hospitality and Culinary Education, in a chat with Patricia Mascarenhas

1. At what rate is the hospitality sector growing? Reason
A. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, international tourism expenditure has grown by 4 per cent in 2013. I think, in about ten years' time, the industry will grow to contribute nearly 72 million more jobs, supporting 338 million jobs across the world.In India, the growth is attributed not only to the flow of incoming tourists but also to the increasing trends in tourism, the investment by international hotel chains, the expansion to Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities and the increase in the numbers of budget hotels to sustain the growth of an expanded and travelling middle class.

2. Career in hospitality? What do you think is its scope?
A. One of the primary reasons the multi-billion-dollar hospitality industry is so popular is the wide range of career opportunitiesit offers, across different types of businesses and organisations around the world like hotels and resorts, restaurants and food service, cruise ships and airlines, theme parks and casinos, convention and event planning, recreation and sports management, tourist destinations and attractions. With its size, strong track record of growth and abundant employment possibilities, the hospitality industry attracts tremendous interest from large numbers of students.

3. Do you think there is an increase in the demand for more skilled professionals?
A.As the industry continues to grow, the demand for highly qualified, multicultural, multilingual and experienced managers and professionals grows as well. In many cases, the development is prevented not so much by capital but by lack of human resources. Over the last ten years or so, hospitality education has shifted from offering general undergraduate programs to specialised education, in order to respond to the demand for function-oriented professionals within the field. The combination of these two – a business degree with a focus on different areas of specialisations- allows the students to follow diverse career paths in and outside the industry.

4. Is a specialised degree in culinary arts more beneficial than a general hospitality degree?
A. It depends on which career you would like to pursue. The student who takes up culinary arts is passionately motivated to becoming a chef or the chef-owner of a restaurant. The skills they acquire would enable them to not just look at the operational side of cuisine and baking and pastry, but also the management aspect of business. However, the student who takes up a general hospitality degree would have the opportunity to learn all aspect of the industry covering operational areas of restaurant in addition to business management competencies. In other words, one is not better than the other, just the focus of subject matter and learning are different but the student has the same career growth opportunities.

5. What is your advice to youngsters who wish to take up hospitality?
A. You need to be passionate. It is not a 9 to 5 job; you need to have an entrepreneurial mind-set. Quite a number of students aspire to develop their own business or takeover the family business and therefore need to acquire specific business acumen and competencies. Those who aspire to work in large corporate hotel chains also need to have this mind-set. Not only do the students have expertise in all the operational aspects of the business, but also a sound knowledge of finance management, social media, marketing, PR, human resources, etc. In addition they have to be innovative, tech-savvy and of course,should ensure guests satisfaction at all times.




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