University of Dubai (UD) conducted a focus group discussion on ‘Career Opportunities in the Hospitality and Tourism Industry’ at Dubai Chamber. The event which was co-hosted by the Swiss Educational Council was moderated by UD Communications Manager Mr. Hikmat Beaini. Several Industry experts, faculty members and students participated in the discussion.
The main objective of the focus group was to shed a light upon important topics such as the latest developments in the tourism and hospitality industry, as well as services, facilities and technologies related to these sectors. It also drew attention towards career opportunities in the global hospitality industry, and offered insights on related educational possibilities in colleges, curriculum and accreditations.
Leading the discussion, Dr. Ananth Rao, Director of the MBA/PhD programme at University of Dubai, said: “Educational tourism is an essential part of the growing smart tourism industry. University of Dubai is committed to develop the necessary programmes to advance Smart Tourism and Hospitality in UAE.” Dr. Rao said that University of Dubai’s strategic approach is aligned to Dubai’s aim to become a ‘smart city’, and in this direction the university will create a structured academic process that will contribute to increasing efficiencies in the global tourism sector. He stated that the University is developing a special Smart Tourism and Hospitality programme to support Dubai’s vision to become a world class tourism destination.
Dr. Fauz Gataby, Director, International Development at the Swiss Education Council, stated that tourism contributes to about 9.8 per cent of the world GDP generating US$7.6 trillion and providing employment opportunities for 227 million people. Citing World Travel & Tourism Council figures, he pointed out that one in 11 jobs on the planet are in the hospitality and tourism sector, and forecast 74 million new jobs in the industry. Educational tourism has emerged as one of the niche segments in the global tourism sector, Dr. Gataby added.
Dr Gataby also confirmed that the employability and career opportunities of hospitality graduates are well beyond graduates from the traditional higher education pathway. He added that most of the leading hospitality and tourism organization recruit fresh graduates from renowned Swiss Hospitality institutions.
Switzerland is known to be the birth place of hospitality education. Students are selected and enrolled based on their passion for hospitality, and the education is founded on a unique platform that combination of practical with academic foundation.
Highlighting tourism as a booming sector, the focus group pointed to estimates by United Nations World Tourism Organisation that by 2030 there would by 1.8 billion tourists worldwide. This would translate to US $ 7.5 billion of tourism revenue to the UAE economy by 2016 with 98 million passengers passing through Dubai Airports. It revealed that the remarkable growth would be reflected across the region as the Middle East benefits from $49 billion in tourism revenue.