The Philippines’ tourism industry is enjoying outstanding performance as it reported an unparalleled high of 3.7 million foreign arrivals from January to June this year. This is 10.4 percent higher compared with the 3.3 million arrivals for the same period in 2017. The Department of Tourism (DOT) discloses that it is confident the country will meet its target of 7.5 million tourist visitors for the year in spite of the temporary closure of Boracay.
Observing the various investments in hotels and resorts all over the country, it is difficult to doubt the positive stance of the DOT. The latest to hit on the investment news is Landing International Development, a Hong Kong-listed casino company. It plans to put up a $1.5 billion integrated casino resort in the 100-hectare Entertainment City in Pasay, which is envisioned to be Asia’s Las Vegas.
Property consulting firm Colliers reports that an additional 3,400 hotel rooms will be added to Metro Manila’s current supply of about 24,000. This increment is double the number of rooms that opened last year. Dovetailing the upward projection of continuous growth in the country’s tourism and hospitality sectors is the number of schools offering programs designed to provide the needed manpower for the industry. It is generally known that hospitality management is now one of the most popular courses to take after secondary education.
Property consulting firm Colliers reports that an additional 3,400 hotel rooms will be added to Metro Manila’s current supply of about 24,000.
“The innate hospitality and caring attitude of Filipinos make us naturally suited for this industry. Hence, the appeal of being part of this vibrant industry is strong,” says Dean Angelo Lacson of the School of Hotel, Restaurant, and Institution Management of De La Salle–College of St. Benilde.
Executive director for planning and development of Lyceum of the Philippines University, Manila Christina Aquino echoes this belief: “Filipinos are naturally hospitable and so hospitality is not as challenging as other careers.”
“Filipino hospitality workers are preferred over other nationalities in many parts of the world because we are such courteous and friendly people,” adds Dean Angie Blanco of the Asian School of Hospitality Arts (ASHA).
Filipino warmth and hospitality are virtually universal and generally accepted. Tourists visiting different sites are greeted by locals with ready smiles and with eagerness to help and please. However, tourists need more than a smile and a genial attitude from hospitality employees. Things must work and the room must be spotless. The food must be clean, delicious, properly prepared, and correctly served. Service must be efficient. These are all basic requirements and standards as the global competition for the tourist dollar continue to heat up.
The allure of working abroad with higher pay continues to be a strong magnet for many hospitality graduates. As such, local employers must resort to creative ways of motivating their employees to stay with them.
Though many hotels, resorts, and restaurants have their own training programs, the industry still heavily relies on schools to provide future employees with the required skills in performing various hospitality functions.
To prepare their students, hospitality schools ASHA, Benilde, and Lyceum provide a balance of theory and laboratory in teaching front office management, housekeeping, food and beverage, and culinary skills. They hire industry practitioners as faculty members to provide students the relevant and updated education needed to survive and excel once they enter the so-called “real world.” Work immersion programs form an integral part of the curriculum. Students aspiring for a degree in hospitality must apprentice at a reputable partner institution for hundreds of hours. All these requirements are meant to prepare them to power up the country’s burgeoning hospitality industry.
According to Dean Blanco, who also serves as board secretary of Human Resource Managers in the Hospitality Industry, the challenge is not so much preparing hospitality graduates to enter the industry but keeping employees from transferring to other properties and opting to work in cruise lines. The allure of working abroad with higher pay continues to be a strong magnet for many hospitality graduates. As such, local employers must resort to creative ways of motivating their employees to stay with them.
Given the positive growth projections for the Philippine hospitality industry, the quality of hospitality education they receive, and the demand for them once they are ready for employment, it seems that the future for the hundreds of thousands investing in hospitality education is indeed bright.