According to the World Tourism Organization, 2012 was a landmark year for international tourism. Around the world, international arrivals increased by 4 percent, with more than a billion tourists crossing international borders. That’s the first time these figures have broached the billion-person mark.

This fits right in with longer-term statistics. By many official reckonings, the hospitality industry is the world’s fasting-growing. Combine hospitality and tourism into a single industry, and you can account for roughly one tenth of the world’s GDP.

Students at Vatel Switzerland

Pic: Students at Vatel Switzerland .

Amid rampant growth and development – which is particularly strong in Asia – the industry is in need of ambitious and highly qualified professionals to lead hospitality enterprises, maintain growth over the long term and face down the challenges that accompany grand-scale expansion. Asian students who acquire credentials now will be poised fill leadership positions in what could well become a ‘Golden Age’ of hospitality and tourism.

Asia leads growth in hospitality
In 2012, emerging economies around the world saw the most aggressive growth – and this is nothing new. Some of the world’s most impressive statistics are posting in the Asia-Pacific region. Roughly a quarter of all international arrivals landed here last year, with the strongest growth seen in South-East Asia.

All of this growth is producing a host of new jobs that need to be filled today. However, the employees filling these vacancies today may not have the required skills and experience. When today’s hospitality and tourism students graduate, employers will scramble to pick them up. These students will virtually have their pick of job offerings.

Students at ICMS

Pic: Students at ICMS.

Experience and specialization in demand
As the hospitality industry continues to grow, employers across Asia will need to rapidly mobilize an increasingly larger workforce. With this in mind, an increasing number of students are expected to enroll in hospitality related programs – earning everything from certifications to advanced postgraduate degrees.

Students who manage to distinguish themselves from this growing pool of industry professionals will be rewarded with some of the most attractive positions. Experience is a strong commodity among new graduates. Stand-out programs combine strong academic curriculum with the chance to develop hands-on experience as well. This is accomplished through industry placements as well as through hands-on training in university facilities.

Furthermore, Asian students currently scouting potential hospitality programs are well-advised to place a priority on schools with strong industry links. These links allow students to gain experience while studying, and they also increase graduates’ prospects when scouting for employment.

EHL hospitality programs

Pic: EHL hospitality programs.

Another way students can set themselves apart is by enrolling in overseas programs. Hospitality is, by its very nature, an international affair, and earning credentials in a foreign country allows students to gain valuable second-language skills and a stronger grasp of cultural dynamics. This is hard for domestic institutions to replicate, despite the fact that these skills are essential to a successful career in hospitality.

The following are among the leading hospitality programs for Asian students:

VATEL SWITZERLAND
Vatel Switzerland is the newest addition to Vatel’s international network of renowned hospitality management schools. Located in Martingny, Switzerland – the international cradle of hospitality – Vatel embraces the Swiss tradition of hospitality as an art form while keeping its sights set on up-and-coming trends in global tourism. For students looking to take on leadership roles in Asia’s fast-growing hospitality industry, Vatel Switzerland delivers a first-class education in a dynamic international environment. Read the full profile here…

Students at Vatel Switzerland

Pic: Students at Vatel Switzerland.

INTERNATIONAL COLLEGE OF MANAGEMENT, SYDNEY
The International College of Management, Sydney (ICMS) is a leading hospitality management school, teaching a balance of management and practical learning within a culture of training and entrepreneurialism. The college has over 16 years’ experience preparing the future leaders of the hospitality industry, with graduates working in some of the worlds’ top hotels and resorts. Read the full profile here…

ICMS campus

Pic: ICMS campus

ECOLE HOTELIERE DE LAUSANNE
One of the most prestigious hospitality management schools in the world, EHL has been training leaders in Switzerland for more than a century. The student body is small – with 1,800 students representing 80 nationalities enrolled in a given year. Programs are selective and graduates highly sought-after by international employers.

INTERNATIONAL HOTEL SCHOOL SOUTH AFRICA
The International Hotel School South Africa has been in operation for more than 20 years and has played an instrumental role in equipping South Africa to handle robust growth across the hospitality industry. South Africa’s strong trade relationships with China and India make this school an even more attractive candidate for Asian students.

THE CULINARY INSTITUTE OF AMERICA
Based out of Hyde Park, New York, the Culinary Arts Institute is one of the most prestigious culinary arts institutes in the US. Programs emphasize hands-on training, and students log more than 1,300 hours in training kitchens and bakeries in the course of their studies. An 18-week externship provides additional industry experience.  

NHTV BREDA, NETHERLANDS
When it opened in the 1960s, NHTV Breda offered bachelor’s degrees in tourism- and leisure-related fields. Since then, more than four decades of subsequent refinement have yielded one of the strongest hospitality programs in the Netherlands, and prospective students in Asia have started to take notice. Today, more than 7,000 students are enrolled across all of NHTV’s programs. They’re an international set of aspiring professionals, hailing from more than 60 different countries. This fosters an eclectic, international environment perfect for training students to join the ranks of 21st-century hospitality providers. Read the full profile…