World Tourism Day is celebrated by both local and international tourism and hospitality students representing the diversity of culture and customs at HELP University.
Dr Souji Gopalakrishna Pillai, Head of the School of Hospitality and Tourism (SHT), HELP University believes an Honours degree in Hospitality and Tourism is like a passport to the entire globe. The demand for skilled hospitality and tourism students remains high throughout the world and in certain sectors, demand outstrips supply.
“At HELP, the focus is on exposing the Hospitality and Tourism students to competitions, visiting tourist hotspots as part of the HELP Tour Club activities, so students can study sustainable tourism and hospitality practices,” said Souji, who has been a part of the hospitality industry for more than twenty years.
One of SHT’s signature events, World Tourism Day, is celebrated annually with active student participation and this year’s theme, “Promoting Universal Accessibility” brought local and international students together to share their experiences and their diversity of culture.
The official inauguration of World Tourism Day at HELP University was launched by the United Nations Development Programme Manager, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development, Gan Pek Chuan, who emphasized the importance of tourism to the Malaysian economy and about its upward rate of growth, providing jobs and opportunities to those in the tourism sector.
Gan Pek Chuan said, “Everyone has the right to access and experience tourism services on an equal axis, yet one million people around the world who are living with disability along with young children, seniors and people with other access requirements still face obstacles in facing even the basic fundamentals of travel. Even with modern technology, these people are still being left out”.
Michael Elver Sorensen, an international student from Denmark enjoyed the celebrations tremendously as this was his first time in Malaysia and he was impressed by the cultural diversity and harmonious way all of the students from various cultures interacted with each other. Souji felt the importance of organizing events such as World Tourism Day was to give students the opportunity to develop soft skills in the areas of event management, leadership and also networking with travel related organizations.
In 2016, two Hospitality and Tourism students, Syed Muhammed Tarequzzaman and Lavvania Sathasivam, distinguished themselves in the Hilton Worldwide Malaysia Talent Cup 2016, when they bagged first runner up (Lavvania) and (Syed Muhammad) second runner up in the category of Marketing and Sales Pitch category. This category tested the ability of students in their presentation skills, research skills and in creating a unique selling point for each of the three brands of Double Tree Hilton, Garden Inn and Hilton Hotel and Resorts brands.
At the same time, the exposure also allowed students who participated to develop an understanding of, and to evaluate, the areas of management, operations and leadership for their career aspiration in hospitality within the brand of Hilton Worldwide.
Hilton also uses the opportunity to identify talented hospitality and tourism students for various positions both locally and internationally. Many are offered lucrative internships upon graduation from their respective institutions.
Other forms of exposure for hospitality and tourism students are their participation in the PATA (Pacific and Asia Travel Association) Malaysian chapter Tourism Career Fair 2016. This form of participation gives students a platform to look at careers in the industry and the various organizations involved in the tourism and hospitality sector.
HELP University offers two unique programmes under the School of Hospitality and Tourism, the Bachelor of Business (Hospitality Management) (Hons) and the Bachelor of Tourism Management (Hons).
Le Minh Hien, a graduate of the Bachelor of Business (Hospitality Management) (Hons) has now returned to his home country, Vietnam and successfully works in a five star property group.
Cecilia Harjadan, winner of the President’s Award 2016 for outstanding student in the HELP Bachelor of Tourism Management (Hons) today works in Malaysia as Country Manager with an international technology company with branches worldwide.
HELP University also encourages its students to pursue their internships overseas to gain international exposure. Both programmes have extensive connections with specialised internship agencies such as Dpbiz Internship to help place students across different countries.
Hospitality and Tourism students are able to gain employment and internship experiences in numerous countries such as US, Australia, France, Singapore, China and Germany. These internships usually last from six months to a year and students are encouraged to consider these offers upon completing their studies in Malaysia, as they include generous allowances and accommodation, and even meals in some establishments.
Both programmes have signed agreements with these agencies to help facilitate the transfer of the students for their internship upon their graduation. The agencies will provide active support to the students before and during their entire stay abroad, which includes assisting in visa applications, CV writing, accompaniment on the first day of their training and other services.
Students’ essentials such as accommodations and insurance will also be arranged and taken care of by these agencies. However, for a successful placement, the students are required to have a university degree and be able to meet all the eligibility requirements and demands of the country of their choice.
For more information on HELP’s SHT programme, please visit our website www.help.edu.my or call 03-27162000 for more information. Currently, HELP is offering a 30% Tuition Fee Waiver Bursary for those signing up for the next intake.