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Ivy league partnership places a winning bet in Singapore

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calendar_month 01 Mar 2011, 00:00
A top US university has joined with one of Asia's finest to provide expert management for the region's booming tourism industry, which includes newly legalised gambling facilities to emulate the success of Macau's.

Asia's tourism industry is booming. The rising affluence of Asia's middle-class populations, increasing air connectivity and growing regional and global trade are driving increases in travel, tourism and all related facets of hospitality. Asia-Pacific is projected to be the region with the greatest growth potential for the hospitality industry.

Asia, as one of the new hotbeds of tourism interest, has a unique opportunity to capitalize on the current environment. It is in the face of this optimistic future, that Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration and Nanyang Technological University's Business School have come together to set up the Cornell-Nanyang Institute of Hospitality Management which offers a joint degree - Master of Management in Hospitality.

'In Singapore, budget airlines account for 7% of traffic at Changi airport, while in the Philippines, low cost carriers have captured a third of the domestic market.'

More and more consumers are going online to book vacation and business travel in Europe and America. Asia is the next frontier; large online intermediary giants like Ctrip, Travelocity, Zuji, eLong and its partner InterActive Corporation (the umbrella organization for Expedia, Hotels.com and Hotwire) are making major inroads. The widespread influence of the Internet means that hospitality companies must learn the most effective means of strategically managing this hybrid distribution/promotion channel.

The proliferation of budget airlines adds a new dimension to tourism. Although Asia is tightly controlled by restrictions and traffic rights, these airlines have the advantage of being able to reach the large emerging Asian middle classes and to employ low-cost labor. In Singapore, budget airlines account for 7% of traffic at Changi airport, while in the Philippines, low cost carriers have captured a third of the domestic market. Budget airlines allow travelers to journey to more Asian destinations and to travel more frequently, resulting in heightened hotel and restaurant demand.

Asia is perceived to be a prime market for gambling (US$23 billion by 2010). Asian countries are eyeing the phenomenal success of Macau, which in a few short years changed from a small conclave of somewhat seedy, smokefilled gambling dens, to the new Las Vegas of Asia with revenues surpassing its Western counterpart. Several Asian countries have legalized gambling including Singapore, Macau, South Korea, Philippines, and Malaysia, in hopes of gaining a portion of the ample gaming profits. There is also added demand for hotel rooms, restaurants, attractions and other forms of entertainment from the casual gamblers who comprise the greater share of visitors to gaming venues.

'CNI combines Cornell's hospitality tradition with NTU's Asian business understanding to produce graduates who are poised to face challenges in the world's highest hospitality growth region - Asia.'

While the future of the industry in Asia appears very promising, there is one major growth constraint; limited numbers of qualified, service-oriented personnel. Throughout Asia, industry leaders lament the lack of educated, skilled personnel who possess a broad understanding of service operations and strategies.Without the necessary skills and training, available human resources will hamper the industry's efforts to fully capitalize on opportunities. Furthermore, the fierce competition for the few skilled staff presently available, results in high attrition rates for these prize candidates. Strategies for improving the supply of competent hospitality personnel must be rapidly undertaken to avoid derailing the momentum of the hospitality industry.



It is in response to this need for skilled hospitality personnel, that the Cornell-Nanyang Institute of Hospitality Management has come into existence. CNI combines Cornell's hospitality tradition with NTU's Asian business understanding to produce graduates who are poised to face challenges in the world's highest hospitality growth region, Asia. The Master of Management in Hospitality degree is designed for industry professionals, recent graduates and career changers who have an unstoppable passion for hospitality.

The Cornell-Nanyang Institute will work with the industry to improve perceptions of employment in hospitality, pointing to lucrative, deferential career tracks that will entice the best and brightest. CNI will help set into place stronger educational and training practices that produce hospitality employees who take pride in their work, perform above set standards, and understand the value of their hospitality offerings.

Asia is perfectly poised to reap the many benefits of heightened tourism attention. The main challenge is skilled, educated hospitality professionals - a need that the Cornell- Nanyang Institute is designed to satisfy. M.M.H. graduates will move seamlessly into the Asian hospitality industry, providing the expertise needed to ensure that all obstacles to tourism and hospitality investments are overcome in a smooth, successful manner.