Career In Hospitality And Tourism Is Boundless

Nigel Viegas, Executive Director, Bahrain Institute of Hospitality and Retail [BIHR] speaks to BW Education in an exclusive email interview.

Nigel Viegas, Executive Director, Bahrain Institute of Hospitality and Retail

Q. Your institute, Bahrain Institute of Hospitality and Retail [BIHR], of late, is showing a lot of interest in students from India. What are your plans for greater intake of Indian students?

Indian Students are ‘value-maximizer’. Enrolling Indian students, and different nationalities at BIHR diversifies the student population and attracts a healthy collaborative learning platform and environment. The industry requires a culturally diversified workforce, thereby providing a more promising career for BIHR graduates. This also broadens the academic and social experience of students and promote alliances between the host country and overseas institutions.

Hospitality and tourism industry employs over 235 million people worldwide. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council and career prospects, the industry expands rapidly year on year. Expats who have international Hotel certifications gain the right skills and expertise required for the highly demanding international hospitality market and thus command top positions globally. 

In addition, the international five-star hotels are looking to hire talented graduates, especially from Indian continent as they believe that these graduates have the passion, diligence and the potential in promoting the ‘right service’ in a professional and efficient manner. The people of India are known for their hospitality and dwell well in this field. The hospitality sector has a great career path for those who have the passion and commitment in this field.

Q. Why should Indian students choose to study at BIHR, and in the Middle East? Do you have great campus placements? Where have your students been placed?

Bahrain has been ranked amongst the world’s top 15 most economically free nations and acclaimed as the safest country for expatriates in the GCC Region.

Q. Why should Indian students enroll at BIHR? 

Well, because at BIHR we welcome students from across the globe and we are the only institute in the Kingdom of Bahrain to provide international students with visa. Further, we offer the world’s finest hospitality curriculum from HTMi Switzerland, a topnotch Swiss International Hotel, and Tourism Management course. BIHR provides a caring and supportive learning environment with the limited number of students in each class to ensure highly individual attention by experienced faculty and high-quality internships in the industry. Currently, the institute has a population of 250 Bahrainis and international students, with 16 different nationalities from Romania, Brazil, Uzbekistan, Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Philippines, and Bangladesh and more. BIHR has placed over thousands of graduates in the tourism and retail industries across GCC countries – Kuwait, Bahrain and in East Asia - Singapore and Europe - Switzerland and to the United States of America.

Q. How are the programs offered by BIHR different from the relevant International programs offered across the globe?

The HTMi Two (2) Year Diploma in International Tourism and Management Program offered at Bahrain campus has international accreditation from the world’s finest hospitality curriculum in Switzerland, HTMi - Hotel Tourism Management Institute.

The HTMi program develops the students into innovative leaders that are ready to meet the standards of managerial competence in hospitality management not only in the GCC Region but across the globe.

At BIHR, we prepare our students to undertake internships and employment within the industry, where they work in both practical and supervisory environments in the kitchen, food service, barista, restaurants, and rooms division (Front Office, Housekeeping and Room Service). It is a significant difference when you know that you enroll in a school that gives you the security to be placed and employed in trusted and topnotch organizations.

BIHR affiliate is a long list of 5 and 4-star hotels in the Kingdom of Bahrain and GCC Region with branches globally. 

Q. You are now bringing the Swiss hospitality experience to Bahrain. Explain to us how it is going to benefit students. What is the USP of the Swiss collaboration?

The HTMi program offered at Bahrain campus has a wonderful blend of the prestigious Swiss certification that provides students the skills and qualities essential to career ladder and succeeding junior and senior management positions in the international hospitality industry. 

HTMi academic program designers have blended the best of Swiss tradition, intensive learning, professional behavior, research, presentation and management skills at an internationally recognized level. 

BIHR HTMi work closely with international hotel and leisure chains to ensure the balance of academics, training, personal development, leadership skills, language skills and teamwork.

The international accreditation exposes our students to a wider scope of employment overseas.

Q. What is the potential for BIHR students for higher education in the tourism and hospitality industry? (Compared to western countries)

Over the last decade, BIHR - HTMi has been performing as a learning institute evolving around market demands producing over 8,000 graduates who have been placed in job positions not only in Bahrain’s hospitality and tourism industry but have expanded to Kuwait and other GCC countries, East Asia. BIHR has partnered on the placement of students and student exchange program for the United States of America, United Kingdom, Switzerland and Asia.

The opportunity is vast for BIHR – HTMi students and graduates. Those who want to continue their career to a Bachelor’s Degree can further their studies in Singapore and Switzerland campuses.

In the Kingdom of Bahrain and GCC, hotel and tourism are one of the fastest growing, stimulating and innovative industries. It offers a wide scope of opportunities, the hotel industry is flourishing at a rapid pace and some of the popular brands like Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc., Marriott International Inc., InterContinental Hotels Group Plc, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc., Accor Group, Indian Hotels Co Ltd., ITC Ltd., and Four Seasons Holdings Inc. are spreading their empire in every continent. 

Their expansion has created many job opportunities around the world and while working, hotel professionals can always opt to join programs that their organization offers for colleagues. These programs are designed by international five-star hotels that are looking to hire talented graduates, especially from Indian continent as they believe that these graduates have the passion, diligence and the potential in promoting the ‘right service’ in a professional and efficient manner. 

The following benefits await a young talented hotel professional:

Great career development: The jobs at the hotel industry have high salaries which can range from INR 35K to lakhs. Apart from that, the progress is quite fast, and your promotion depends entirely on your working style and skills. 

Vast opportunities: There are various kinds and types of hotels where you can start your career from. In recent years a lot of 5-star hotels have been opened in India, this can be the best way to start your career. Hotel Industry is spread worldwide, and there has to be a five-star hotel in the state of every country. Hence, many opportunities are waiting for you. 

Fastest growing Industry: With big brands busy with their expansion, there lies a great chance for you to get yourself a job in one of them. There is an estimation of more than 5000+ jobs in the hospitality industry. 

Fun and exciting with different responsibilities: The roles in the hospitality industry are managed with proper hierarchy management, and there are more than 10 departments in a proper hotel. Promotions at a hotel can give you the experience of handling staff to managing an entire department. 

Innovation and opportunity to showcase creativity: A hotel can be a great place to showcase your creativity and skills. For cooks and chefs events, festivals and corporate meetings are the ideal time to show your culinary skills. 

Opportunity to meet people from around the world: People belonging to diverse cultures stay in the hotels when they travel for business or leisure. Working at a hotel helps you to experience the thrill of diversity. 

Great Pay: When it comes to getting paid, the hotel industry is what people look up to if you have basic experience of a year or year and a half. You can easily get paid INR 25 to 30K in any 5-star hotel.

Q. What are the job opportunities post the course and stay back options in Bahrain for International Students?

A career in hospitality and tourism is boundless. A graduate with an international hotel certification can achieve managerial positions within two years and in some cases within the first year as compared to an entry level with no formal education.  

The demand for the Hospitality industry is currently growing due to the boom in the tourism industry across the globe. Today, one can have positions in Airlines, Hotels, Restaurants, Cruise industry, which is one of the fasting growing industries in the world and also other tourism sectors. 

The hospitality industry is one which will never fade off due to the growing demand for people to be served.

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