MANILA, Philippines – The Canadian Tourism & Hospitality Institute (CTHI), the country’s first international franchise of the Vancouver-based Canadian Tourism College, aims to transform the Philippines as the premier tourism and hospitality training center in Asia.
CTHI president Samie Lim told reporters during a seminar on ‘8 Pillars of Growth Strategy’ for the tourism sector organized by the institute that there is a strong need to upgrade the standards of tourism and hospitality schools in the country.
“We aim to become the training center in Asia,” Lim said.
Lim said that CTHI will lead the way in upgrading the current standards to the international level in terms of course curriculum, training and facilities. This way, foreign students in the tourism and hospitality courses would be encouraged to enroll here.
Lim said there are over 1,000 schools in the country offering tourism courses, including culinary and English language courses. Most of these schools, however, do not observe international standards that would equip students for the jobs after graduation.
By imposing on standards on these schools could mean purging those who are there only for the money, but do not produce quality graduates. Tourism and hospitality courses now topped as the country’s most favorite course.
“There are schools with 20-25 students only then they try to put up a course using ‘out-of-shelf’ materials, but they don’t really understand the entire course offering and becoming a diploma mill school,” he said.
As a result, less than 20 percent of graduates from this course get employed compared to the CTHI’s average deployment of 90 percent and most of them being offered jobs before graduation.
In comparison, the tourism industry in the country and the entire ASEAN region is booming but there is this problem of lack of supply of qualified people. In the Philippines alone, there are at least 100 hotels that have been put up in the past five years.
“Our more experienced hospitality workers are being pirated by Singapore and Thailand and other countries,” he said.
With the standards that CTHI brings when it opens its first school in June, Lim expects to change the tourism course landscape in the country in a matter of three years.
CTHI plans to put up schools in other parts in tourist destination areas such as Boracay, Bohol, Davao or Cebu on a franchise arrangement.
Lim noted a report by the World Bank, which said that people in Boracay are not happy with the success of the island because it did not trickle down to the masses as people there still remained poor.
Lim also noted that Filipinos are overly hospitable that they do not know how to turn these tourism opportunities into their advantages.
At CTHI, industry practitioners can learn all the rudiments to make their businesses profitable and enable them to expand operation.