Leading international hospitality schools for Asian students
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Leading international hospitality schools for Asian students

COMBINED world hospitality enterprises account for nine per cent of world GDP, or approximately 260 million jobs.

Accessing a tourism and hospitality career path has generally been an easy one due to the high staff demand around the globe. This situation remains and staff shortages in these industries remain a major headache for this industry sector. This is bad news for employers, but good news for hospitality graduates.


Pic: University of Johannesburg – School of Tourism and Hospitality.

New international hotels, resorts, spas and themed restaurants continue to open regardless of world economical health, offering a wealth of employment opportunities.

However the real demands in developing economies are for lead personnel with high executive skills, knowledge based systems, chain hotel relationships and an expanding capacity to manage large staff numbers on the upward end of service delivery.

Although tourism and hospitality schools are widely established there are still ongoing examples of stretched resources to manage the extent of construction and expansion of new tourism ventures, particularly in East Asia and Latin America.

That demand can be further quantified. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, there’s no end in sight. Experts predict that the travel and tourism industry’s contribution to GDP will increase by 4% every year for the time being. That equates 69 million new jobs created over the next decade.

Such demand will also place pressure on education institutions where a tightening of resources post-GFC has seen  the sector now faced with widening and greatly emphasised demands.

A strong and healthy educational environment now exists between private and government-led learning institutions, and the diversity of career pathways has drawn more intensification of their strategies to meet existing demand.


Pic: Hotelschool the Hague.

Of note is the evolution of five and a half star and six star resorts and hotels which demand special levels of management to oversee higher level services. More of these new-styled tourist investments will be erected in developing and tiger-economies with expanding domestic middle class needs.

Hospitality graduates are well placed to have their skills and experience recognised intercontinentally. Remember that the general manager role is not the only destination career in hospitality, and that most enterprises seek high level employment in public relations, sales and marketing, financial and profitability control, property engineering, and soon social media.

Further, additional studies at post-graduate and MBA level equip a percentage of students with demonstrated leadership ability to be the CEOs and GMs of the future generations.

So in choosing your tourism and hospitality school take careful consideration of the speciality streams which are offered, and make comparison with existing competitor organisations with equivalent international standings and post-graduate achievements.

It always pays to write to hospitality schools with a series of well-directed but specific questions in order to correctly assess a service providers’ standing, apart from the public relations claimed on the schools’ website. Don’t fall for the “spin”.


Pic: The International Hotel School, South Africa.

Make sure you attend open days or information presentations and be introduced to real people in what ought to be a contemporary organisation. Follow the information trail of past graduates working in tourism and hospitality in your local demographic. Do sufficient research before parting with the dollars.

There is a wide range of food and beverage director salary packages available from the basic US$50k in standard hotels through to US$200k for an experienced hospitality strategist in a leading consulting firm.

Of greater importance to graduates who wish to travel, your experience and status is portable from country to country, particularly if you have mastered a second or third language apart from English or are employed by global hotel chains.

Below we list of 10 of the finest hospitality schools in the world for students who want to succeed on the international stage.

After 50 years of educating the next generation of hospitality managers and executives, Glion Institute of Higher Education’s leading industry position is clear. For prospective students from Asia, it is hard to imagine a better place to earn a degree in hospitality management. After all, this is Switzerland, the veritable cradle of modern hospitality. In a recent survey of five-star hotels conducted by TNS Global Survey, Glion emerged as a top-five contender for the title of ‘Best Hospitality School in the World’. Glion offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate programs in hospitality management. Read the full profile…

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…


Pic: NHTV Breda.

The IHS in South Africa offers diploma programs, certification courses and training sessions to establish, refresh and maintain hospitality-related skills and certifications. From an Asian perspective, IHS is an excellent place from which to launch or refurbish a hospitality career. First of all, students have access to a full roster of classes and programs that are recognized by international accreditation agencies. But beyond this, they can also position themselves in South Africa, roughly equidistant from Europe, the Americas and Asia. Graduates go on to take entry-level positions in South Africa or abroad, fill junior management positions or continue their studies. Read the full profile…

When the World Tourism Organization shortlists an institution, the international community takes notice. Since its foundation in 1929, the Hotelschool has become an international school specialising in hotel management, offering a 4-year international Bachelors degree course. This degree course is also available as a 2-year International Fast Track programme. The Hotelschool is independently operated, but it is also partially state-funded. This is not a money-driven institution. Instead, students discover an affordable hotel school that focuses on delivering hospitality programs of the highest quality. Read the full profile…

Since it opened in 2007, MDIS School of Tourism and Hospitality has welcomed more than 3,000 students from over 20 different countries. With the whole world showing up on Singapore’s doorstep, classrooms at MDIS are vibrant and international, and students enrolled in hospitality-related programs are the benefactors. The school offers three bachelor’s degrees, a master’s degree and a diploma in hospitality- and tourism-related fields. Some of these degrees are offered through partnerships with universities in Australia or the UK, boosting MDIS’ profile and enhancing the degree’s international clout. Read the full profile…


Pic: MDIS School of Tourism and Hospitality, Singapore.

The STH has been in operation for more than four decades and has secured its legacy as one of UJ’s flagship schools in the past few years. Its courses are designed to build students’ leadership competency and analytical skills. The impetus is on ‘future-fit’ leadership, with coursework that anticipates the directions the hospitality and tourism industries are taking. This is appropriate for South Africa, where the dynamic socio-economic climate has been evolving rapidly for the past 20 years or more. Along these lines, students arriving from Asia, where the rise of tourism is presenting new opportunities to developing nations, will find case studies in South Africa particularly relevant. Read the full profile…


Premier Swiss hotel school IMI University Centre is an exclusive private school providing highly personalised and individual learning. The School is a melting pot of cultures with students from over 50 different countries. One hundred percent Swiss owned and managed, IMI offers a variety of programmes to help students successfully enter the hospitality industry. The School prides itself on its exceptional dedication to finding job opportunities for all its graduates. An IMI qualification goes a long way in securing jobs in the hospitality industry. Programmes are tailored to make them as efficient as possible and international students can complete the same programme in 2.5 years instead of four. This saves on living expenses and is achieved by small class sizes which guarantees the most effective learning. Read the full profile…

Les Roches Marbella brings the timeless tradition of Swiss hospitality to the resort beaches and countryside of Spanish Andalusia. This is one of the best European universities to earn a degree or diploma in international hospitality management. In fact, a recent TNS survey (based out of the UK) ranked Les Roches Marbella the best hospitality school in all of Spain. Rankings like this attract students from all over the world, and enrollees have hailed from more than 50 different countries since the school’s opening in the mid-1990s. But a stalwart international reputation doesn’t mean that it’s all grueling academic coursework at Les Roches. Beaches, golf courses, mountain scenery and ancient cities are all waiting to be enjoyed.

With its enviable international network, access to five-star hotels and reputation for producing top chefs, Le Cordon Blue is arguably the world’s best-known culinary arts institute. However, the Australia division is also known for its hospitality programs, offered through campuses in Sydney and Adelaide. Bachelor’s degrees in international hotel, restaurant or culinary management are on offer, along with master’s courses in hotel and restaurant management and gastronomic tourism. In the course of their education, students enjoy industry placements at top-tier Australian resorts and the chance to integrate with some of the best-organized tourism infrastructure in the Pan-Asia region.


Pic: Le Cordon Bleu.

Dubai’s leading position in the international tourist trade is undeniable. This is a city of soaring skyscrapers, artificial resort islands and even a seven-star hotel. The latter was introduced by Jumeirah hotel group, the same organization that founded the Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management. Jumeirah has a penchant for superlatives, a fact reflected through the ambitious architecture of the group’s hotels and buildings as well as in its academy’s facilities. The on-site labs and training centers are truly state of the art, and they’re staffed by some of the hospitality industry’s leading experts and instructors.

It doesn’t matter where you are planning to launch your career in hospitality. The most prestigious credentials in the world come from Switzerland. Students who graduate from a Swiss hotel school are automatically on the fast track to international success. As such, the Swiss Hotel Management School maintains a diverse and dynamic international student body. The cornerstone of the school’s educational philosophy is the ‘Swiss Hospitality Touch’. SHMS offers programs in hospitality management programs that specialize in spas and resorts, events and restaurants. Rigorous academic coursework combines with internships in Switzerland and abroad to produce fiercely competitive international credentials.