Dubai to get much-needed Hotel School

Almost perfectly timed, following debate at the recent World Travel & Tourism Council Summit concerning shortages of trained and qualified hotel sector workers, a new hotel school to be located in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates has been announced. The Dubai Hotel and Tourism Management Institute, is expected to open in 2009, and is a joint venture between an internationally acclaimed Australian higher education provider and a prominent Dubai based company. 

UAE headquartered, Al Hai LLC, part of the Al Hai Group of Companies chaired by H.E. Jamal Al Hai has collaborated with world leaders in hospitality and tourism education, the Blue Mountains Hotel School, an Australian based international hotel school, to bring a new hotel school to the Middlle East.

““We are very excited about this joint venture which will result in the formation of an international hotel and tourism management institute in Dubai.  It will facilitate the growing needs of the industry both in terms of training existing human resources in the hotel sector and by providing quality undergraduate and postgraduate education for future hoteliers.”” said Mr Fritz Gubler, Director, Blue Mountains Hotel School.

According to Gubler, the first student intake is scheduled for early 2009 and the institute will be a member of the ORION Hotel Schools global alliance.

““…being recognized as an ORION Hotel School will add value to the institute.  We take great pride in watching our students grow and develop, going on to graduate and become the future leaders of the global hospitality and tourism industry.”“said Gubler.

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““The Al Hai Group already operates within the tourism, hotel management, aviation and aviation related sectors and the opportunity to move into education was a natural progression for us.”” said H.E.  Jamal Al Hai, Chairman, Al Hai Group of Companies.

““Students for the undergraduate programmes will be recruited both locally in the Gulf and from the international pool of emerging talent.  We are confident that both existing and new employees of the region’s hotels will benefit from the training offered.”” he added.

The Blue Mountains Hotel School has two campuses in Australia:  the Blue Mountains Hotel School in Leura, New South Wales (90 minutes drive from Sydney) which has been operating for 16 years; and the Australian International Hotel School in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, which has been operating for more than a decade.  The group also operates educational facilities in China with two campuses (Suzhou and Tianjin).

Operation of the new hotel school will follow the Australian model from the Blue Mountains Hotel School, recognized globally for its highly sought-after first class graduates.  The undergraduate programmes will involve rigorous academic studies, applied practical on-campus training and an internship component.  The new hotel school will embrace the Three Pillars approach to education:  a balanced integration of theoretical knowledge, practical skills and personal development.

The core programme will be a three-year Bachelor Degree whereby students will gain exposure to all areas of hotel and resort management as well as tourism, leisure and event management.  A one-year Diploma and two-year Associate Degree will also be on offer by the new hotel school.  As a member of the ORION Hotel Schools global alliance the school will share a common platform of educational values, beliefs and teaching methodologies to underpin the respective programmes on offer.

““All of the programmes on offer at the new school will be internationally accredited and recognized.  Initially we will focus on undergraduate programmes but intend to offer post graduate programmes within 12 months of commencement.”” said Mr Fritz Gubler.

Currently in the final design stages the new state of the art facility will incorporate the latest in educational aids particularly with regard to practical training aspects.

According to H.E. Jamal Al Hai, the Dubai campus (details of specific locations which are yet to be released), will offer a positive environment for students with a like-minded passion for the tourism and hospitality sector.

““It will be fresh and new and most importantly, conducive to study and developing the skills required for this fast paced and exciting industry.”” he said.

Gubler explains why the time is right for the Blue Mountains Hotel School to move into the Middle East,

““In a city renowned for its amazing hotels and tourism ventures, Dubai offers a remarkable opportunity for students to study at an undergraduate or postgraduate level while witnessing phenomenal growth of tourism developments first hand.  The industry is going through a human capital crisis and with the ongoing development of tourism infrastructure around the globe but particularly in China, India and the Middle East there is a clear and undeniable need to continue to educate and increase the pool of skilled tourism sector workers available to the industry.””

At the recent Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) held in Dubai, staffing levels were cited as one of the biggest challenges facing the global hotel industry. According to AHIC co-organizer, Jonathan Worsley, projections indicate that 1.5 million staff will be required in the Middle East alone by 2020.

“Dubai is centrally located in one of the high-demand destinations and is ideal for our programmes which incorporate internship components which we see as the opportunity for many of the hotels, whether 3, 4 or five star to capitalize on.” 

“Developing the stars of the future right here in Dubai and providing a pool of potential talent, trained to the highest level for hotels to recruit from is a unique and highly desirable model to combat the staffing crises.”

Commenting on the value the new Institute offers to UAE tourism, Mr Adam Sargeant, Regional Manager – The Middle East & Scandinavia, Orion Hotel Schools and a former Blue Mountains Hotel School student, said:

““The industry, not only the UAE and Gulf but internationally, is desperate for educated and practically trained industry professionals ready to commence their careers in supervisory and junior management positions to fill the gaps caused by the industry labour shortage.  Similarly, the industry requires front-line staff that are well trained and conversant in English to provide a high-quality level of service, either prior to their commencement or while they are employed.””

Student will enjoy several benefits from the ORION Global Alliance including the ability to transfer between ORION hotel schools. 

“All of our students will become a member of the ORION Alumni, a graduate network programme of more than 3,000 members.  The Alumni is a global network and invaluable source of friendship, but more importantly it provide the base of the graduate’s professional network and the source of many exciting career opportunities.” added Sargeant.
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