The financial fallout that followed the 2008 global financial crisis saw tourism statistics falling around the world, and particularly in the West. During this period, international tourist arrivals declined by as much as 7 percent. However, while figures in Europe and North America were in decline, emerging economies in Asia and elsewhere were holding steady or even tracking growth.

On the whole, international tourist trends are growing again. The World Tourism Organization recorded 980 million tourist arrivals in 2011 (a 4.4 percent increase over the previous year). Upwards of 1 billion are expected before the end of 2012. Nearly a quarter of these are likely to go to South and Southeast Asia.

Pic: University of Derby.

Along these lines, there has never been a better time to establish a career in tourism and hospitality in Asia. Both China and India have seen massive growth in tourism revenue over the past year, and this is expected to continue on a global scale. In fact, the WTO projects that hospitality will become the world’s largest industry by 2020.

With this in mind, employers in the global tourism industry are going to need to fill an increasing number of vacancies over the next few years. Students in Asia who enroll in well-regarded Hospitality and Tourism Management programs now will be able to earn Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees by the time global tourism figures are expected to peak.

Adding industry experience to your resume
With credentials in place, students are going to be poised to dominate the future hospitality and tourism industries. Whether taking an entrepreneurial approach and opening a travel-related venture or working up to a higher management position with a five-star hotel chain, credentials and experience are going to make all the difference.

Students at the Dublin Institute of Technology

Pic: Students at the Dublin Institute of Technology.

The need for relevant experience sets the hospitality and tourism sectors apart from many other industries. Practical knowhow is important in any field; however, in the hospitality industry, professionals who have held a variety of positions and carried out a range of responsibilities are going to move up the corporate ladder faster.

This is why so many hospitality programs provide their students with opportunities to enroll in work placement while studying. This usually adds a few months or a year to the course of study. However, it builds valuable experience and lays the foundations of a professional network before the student has even earned their degree.

In most cases, work placements in the hospitality industry are not internships. Students who enroll in them receive a paycheck. This may be coupled the chance to travel overseas and work in a foreign market, adding cultural experience to the resume.

Asian students who have studied and worked in Australia, Europe or North America are likely to be among the most sough-after hospitality professionals in the next few years. Foreign language proficiency, broad cultural awareness and acute industry experience are going to set these rising professionals apart from the competition, and the networks they build now are going to pay them back handsomely in the future.

Hospitality programs at Manchester Metropolitan University

Pic: Hospitality programs at Manchester Metropolitan University.

The following schools have some of the best hospitality and tourism programs for Asian students:

UNIVERSITY OF DERBY
The University of Derby has a campus located in Buxton, a leading UK spa town in the Peak District National Park. The University of Derby in Buxton is an ideal setting for international students seeking internationally recognised credentials in hospitality, with ample opportunity to liaise with local hospitality providers. The University of Derby is ranked in the top 10 of the Guardian League table 2012 for Hospitality, Tourism and Events Management. As expected from a university campus based in a thriving spa town, the International Spa Management programmes are particularly well-regarded. From an Asian student perspective, this is an ideal setting in which to establish industry-leading credentials or further existing ones. Read the full profile here…

DUBLIN INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
The Dublin Institute of Technology is the largest provider of hospitality and tourism education in Ireland. Dublin plays host to major international hotel chains and serves as the tourism gateway to Ireland. As such, it doubles as an excellent place to earn credentials in hospitality and tourism management. DIT stands out as one of Ireland’s most innovative tertiary-level institutions. This combined with the fact that the Irish government has recently modified the visa requirements for several Asian countries has served to boost the university’s profile among prospective students from Asia. Read the full profile here…

ICMS library

Pic: ICMS library.

INTERNATIONAL COLLEGE OF MANAGEMENT, SYDNEY
From its founding in 1996, the International College of Management, Sydney (ICMS) has been raising the standard for hospitality and management education in Australia. Its location in the Asia-Pacific region – where tourism is burgeoning – and strong ties to Europe and North America make this an ideal launching pad for Asian students with their sights set on a career in hospitality. ICMS is one of the leading business schools in Australia, and it regular receives awards and industry accolades. The college is an affiliate of the Cesar Ritz Colleges, which are headquartered in Switzerland, the hospitality capital of the world. Students of ICMS have the opportunity to study abroad at Cesar Ritz, and placements are also available in Australia at the Queenstown Resort College or with partner institutions in the US. Read the full profile here…

MANCHESTER METROPOLITAN UNIVERSITY
This UK institute achieved university status in 1992 and has grown into an international hub of hospitality and tourism education. It is currently the largest campus-based university in the UK and provides world-class vocational training that emphasizes employability and hands-on skills. The Department of Food and Tourism Management is hosted on the Hollings Campus, located around three miles south of Manchester city center. MMU is a diverse and dynamic university, with more than 2,800 of the students enrolled hailing from 109 different countries. The Tourism and Hospitality programs are particularly popular with international students. Read the full profile here…

LE CORDON BLEU, AUSTRALIA
A strong international reputation, a thriving network of campuses and a track record of consistently producing top chefs makes Le Cordon Bleu one of the most sought-after culinary arts institutes on the planet. However, the Australia division has a slightly different reputation. There are two campuses on the continent – one in Sydney and another in Adelaide – both of which are particularly well-known for their hospitality (rather than strictly culinary) programs. Le Cordon Blue’s Australian campuses are ideally located for Asian students. Degrees in hotel or culinary management are available, with the option proceed to Master’s-level courses.

HOTELSCHOOL, THE HAGUE
The World Tourism Organization ranks Hotelschool as one the world’s strongest hospitality training institutes. The school emphasizes entrepreneurial learning. As such, teachers fill the role of coach or mentor rather than merely standing in as classroom lecturer. This approach reflects the Dutch philosophy of teaching, and it serves beautifully to equip students with practical knowhow and leadership strategies they will need to excel in the industry. The school’s International Fast Tack allows students from Asia with some qualifications to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in as little as two years.