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Build a promising career in the global hospitality industry

By Irfan Mirza and Louella Santimano
Think Goa, and images of beautiful beaches, majestic temples and whitewashed churches, quaint streets and green fields come to mind. It’s no surprise that Goa receives close to 30 lakh visitors each year. Goa has carved a niche for itself as a preferred holiday destination on the global tourist map. And standing strong on the shoulders of tourism is the hospitality Industry.
Growth of the Indian hospitality industry
The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) calculated that tourism generated INR 6.4 trillion or 6.6 per cent of the nation’s GDP in 2012 and supported 39.5 million jobs. The sector is predicted to grow at an average annual rate of 7.9 per cent from 2013 to 2023. This ranks India at the third position among countries with the fastest growing tourism industries over the next decade. The hospitality industry is one of the fastest growing sectors and requires trained and skilled employees. Hence the need for a world – class institute in the country.
Goa – a global tourism hub
Statistics with the Goa tourism department shows that in 2013, 31.21 lakh tourists visited Goa as compared to 27.87 lakh in 2012. With this increase, for the first time, Goa tourism crossed the three million mark. An overall growth of 12 per cent in tourist arrivals has bolstered the tourism industry in the state. While international tourist arrivals went up by 9.27 per cent, the growth in arrivals of domestic tourists went up by 12.47 per cent.
The year 2014 promises to be better as Goa Tourism has projected landings of 1,400 charters in Goa in the current season. With the next tourism season expected to kick off in October 2014, the industry seems optimistic about the future of tourism.
Hospitality industry – an opportunity for young managers
It’s no surprise that students are flocking to take advantage of opportunities that exist within the industry and have been lining up for hospitality and hotel management related courses at institutes across the country.
The hospitality industry is a fascinating, multi-faceted industry. In the recent past, it has been a driving force of economy, generating employment and better incomes. It is a rapidly growing industry with an increase in foreign tourist arrivals as well as a greater number of domestic tourists travelling within the country. Another factor contributing to the rapid growth of this industry is the growing airlines industry.
With a flourishing tourism industry in Goa, as well as the rest of India, a lot of international chains have been entering the local market. From budget hotels to five star properties and home stays to boutique resorts, there is something for every traveller. This in turn means a variety of career opportunities for hospitality students.
Depending on their areas of interest and training, students can work in the areas of hotel and restaurant management, airline catering and cabin service, club management, cruise ship hotel management, hotel and tourism associations, forest lodges and guest houses, catering institutes and even set up an entrepreneurial venture of their own. With ample opportunities for advancement in this field, students that start careers in cafes, bars and lounges will soon find themselves on the fast track towards managerial levels which include taking up the position of a general manager, rooms’ division manager, food and beverage manager, sales and marketing manager, chef and restaurant manager. Hospitality students also have an opportunity to build careers in various other sectors including the banking industry, IT industry, food chains, institutions, hospitals and industries that have their own cafeteria facilities and require hospitality professionals.
Building skill sets
Embarking on a career in hospitality can be hugely rewarding. Since it is a service-based industry, for a successful career one needs to possess great people skills and the willingness to work hard. The hospitality industry is a people intensive sector, and is in constant need of people. However, candidates opting for this sector have to go through a rigorous training program to be able to cope with the exacting standards and growing demands of this industry.
While opportunities are ample, students need to evaluate their aptitude for a career in the hospitality industry before jumping right in. If the candidate is not willing to work in various areas of operation he or she may not be suited for the job as the profession may require that an employee be asked to work in management, food and beverage service, housekeeping, front office operation, sales and marketing, accounting or any other department depending upon the specific requirement.
With the Ministry of Tourism (MoT), Government of India, targeting over 12 per cent growth rate in inbound as well as domestic tourists, it has been projected that the tourism sector will generate additional jobs for about 2.5 crore persons, both direct and indirect, during the period 2010-16 (12thPlan). And this number is going to increase with new hotels and resorts cropping up every year with India creating more of a name for itself on the tourism map. Professional hospitality institutes are churning out well qualified professionals every year. Trained professionals have an advantage over untrained graduates as hotels would rather not invest in training of new recruits.
The hospitality industry overall provides a diverse range of experiences. It is often considered as one of the most exciting careers, but there is a lot of work and effort involved behind the scenes. However, with the positive growth of this industry, students with an inclination towards this career have a bright future ahead.
(The article has been co-authored by Professor Irfan Mirza, director, V M Salgaocar Institute of International Hospitality Education and Louella Santimano, HR Officer, V M Salgaocar and Bro Pvt Ltd)

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