Last year was a monumental one for the hospitality industry, particularly on the global tourism front. According to a report issued by the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), more than 1 billion international tourist arrivals were registered in 2012. This marks the first time in history that this statistic has entered ten-figure territory.

The numbers are surprisingly robust given the state of the international economy. This could prove a boon for flagging economies in the Eurozone, which accounted for roughly half of last year’s international arrivals. However, the best news is for emerging economies, and particularly for the Asia-Pacific region, which registered 7 percent growth in international tourist arrivals compared to the previous year.

Practice kitchen at Le Cordon Bleu Australia

Pic: Practice kitchen at Le Cordon Bleu Australia

Indeed, the global tourism and hospitality industry continues to play an increasingly important role in economies across Asia. Students in the region are looking for ways to capitalize on this development, with many looking overseas to hotel schools, hospitality programs and culinary arts institutes in the West. By earning their credentials overseas, increasing proficiency in a second language and strengthening their grasp of the cultural mores in foreign markets, they are positioning themselves to take on powerful roles of leadership in 21st-century hospitality.

With more than 1 billion tourist arrivals per year, there has certainly never been a better time to launch a career in hospitality and tourism. Roughly one quarter of these arrivals occur in South and Southeast Asia, and organizations that are primed and ready to accommodate these travelers are pulling in record profits. Likewise, the hospitality industries of China and India are undergoing rapid growth.

EHL classroom

Pic: EHL classroom.

Preparing for the global tourism surge
As growth continues, employers involved in Asia’s hospitality and tourism industry are going to need to organize a substantially larger workforce over the next few years. Likewise, greater numbers of students are expected to enroll in hospitality-related courses and programs over the next few years. With that in mind, students who do a bit to distinguish themselves from the crowd are going to graduate into some of the most attractive hospitality positions on the market in coming years.

There are several ways that students can set themselves apart from the competition. One is to combine certification or a degree in hospitality with credentials from another field. This could involve enrolling in a double major or adding a minor to existing qualifications. In some cases, hospitality institutes already offer combined programs, such as a business degree in Culinary Management or an MBA in Hospitality Administration.

IHSSA facilities

Pic: IHSSA facilities.

Another important consideration is on-the-job experience. Graduates who are fresh out of school sometimes find themselves passed over in favor of candidates with weaker credentials and more experience. Leading hospitality limit this possibility by presenting their students with opportunities for work placement and potential internships.

Finally, studying overseas presents rewarding opportunities to diversify your base of experience, add a second language to your repertoire and leverage the networks of international institutes. Furthermore, Asian students earning their qualifications in Western institutions are likely to enjoy an advantage over their peers in coming years.

On that note, the following are among the leading international hospitality programs for Asian students:

LE CORDON BLEU AUSTRALIA
Australia’s network of LCB campuses provides some of the finest culinary education programs in the worldl. It also offers collateral courses in management and business administration, prepping students to become highly successful culinary arts entrepreneurs. Alumnus Rinrin Marinka, a celebrity chef in Indonesia, is a shining example of the heights to which LCB students can aspire. Read the full profile here…

Student at Le Cordon Bleu Australia

Pic: Student at Le Cordon Bleu Australia.

ECOLE HÔTELIÈRE DE LAUSANNE
EHL may be the world’s oldest hotel school, with more a century’s worth of tradition behind it, but it continues to set cutting-edge industry precedent. As such, graduates from EHL are primed for high-powered careers in the quickly evolving hospitality and tourism industry. Read the full profile here…

EHL hospitality programs

Pic: EHL hospitality programs.

INTERNATIONAL HOTEL SCHOOL SOUTH AFRICA
South Africa’s leading hotel school has been training professionals for nearly two decades. In the time since the school’s founding, South Africa’s hospitality industry has seen incredible growth, fostering a dynamic environment in which students can prepare for a successful 21st-century career. Read the full profile here…

The International Hotel School, South Africa

Pic: The International Hotel School, South Africa.

THE CULINARY INSTITUTE OF AMERICA

Based out of Hyde Park in New York, the CIA has developed a network of campuses across the US and is exploring avenues into Asia through a satellite branch in Singapore. This is a not-for-profit organization that employs the world’s largest staff of American Culinary Federation Certified Master Chefs.

SINGAPORE HOTEL AND TOURISM EDUCATION CENTRE
Established by the Singapore Hotel Association three decades ago, SHATEC takes a by-the-industry, for-the-industry approach to hospitality education. The center plays a vital role in developing the country’s hospitality labor force, operates 65,000 sq ft worth of practice facilities and was the first institute to be inducted into the World Gourmet Summit Hall of Fame.

UNIVESRITY OF WEST LONDON, LONDON SCHOOL OF HOSPITALITY AND TOURISM
A UK leader, the London School of Hospitality and Tourism has garnered a great deal of positive press for its highly relevant coursework and strong teaching record. In fact, the University of West London was recently selected by The Guardian as London’s number-one modern university.  The culinary school partners with local industry players in designing curriculum and creating work placement opportunities.