Challenges and way ahead for Indian hospitality sector
Here’s a look at the obstacles that the hospitality sector faces and how the industry can overcome them.
According to a market Pulse Report published by Ministry of Tourism, currently, there are more than 1,20,000 hotel rooms in India, both in the organized and unorganized sectors. By 2020, there will be additional 1,00,000 rooms. There are around 90,000 people working in various functional areas of the hotel industry and will require an additional one million professionals by the year 2023.
The study of current training infrastructure in the hospitality sector reveals that around 25,000 students are being trained at hospitality education institutes (of which only 60 percent join the industry and 40 percent change the career choice, which leads to further widening of the gap between the supply of the trained manpower and the demand of the industry).
Hospitality and tourism sectors are therefore facing an acute shortage of skilled manpower currently, as there are many obstacles as far as development of human resources in hospitality and tourism industry is concerned.
First and foremost is the issue of lower salaries as compared to the remuneration paid in other industries like IT, retail, banking, telecoms etc. Secondly, HR practices are not standardized and there is a lack of professional approach and vision. Thirdly, there is a lack of growth opportunities as well as learning and development opportunities. Last but not the least, due to long working hours there is high employee dissatisfaction and attrition rate among hospitality professionals. Furthermore, a poor perceived image of hospitality and tourism sector and inadequate and inefficient training and education programs are also discouraging and add to the challenge of attracting competent students.
Those who are competent, committed and talented are hesitant to opt for this industry as a career option which is resulting in a poor supply of manpower. Therefore, the major challenge before the hospitality and tourism sector in India is to bridge this gap of demand-supply of the skilled workforce. This can primarily be done by attracting and retaining the talented and skilled people who can serve the industry efficiently.
Industry and institutional perspectives
With this background, there are two primary perspectives relating to the training and availability of trained professionals for Indian hospitality and tourism sectors: Industry perspective – (employees) and institutional perspective (employees training institution).
Industry perspective (demand side) narrates that the landscape is not filled with the required inputs in terms of volume and quality by the training institutions. As a result, the hospitality industry receives trainees that are of poor quality. These trainees have poor research skills and do not have the adequate entrepreneurial skills. They are also not trained on latest technologies, which happens because of the outdated pedagogies which are being used. Even the faculty lacks the required industrial experience and there is an absence of innovative curriculum.
On the other hand, institutional perspective (supply-side) presents a different picture by stating that the industry does not attract or retain the talent due to a poor rewarding ecosystem. Quite often, there is no work-life balance, therefore, even the trained manpower has shifted to other operational fields and sources. The industry does not want to mentor the interns on new technologies. It sees interns as only a temporary arrangement and not as employees.
How can we solve this current situation and create a conducive learning and training environment for talented aspirants? This can be achieved by taking a number of steps such as matching the curriculum to meet the industry expectations, increase the number of enrollments and meet the required volume. Quality internships can be provided to the students.
There can be joint research initiatives by the industry and the academia. Training of the faculty on modern operational process and tools is also essential to overcome these problems. To conclude, both the stakeholders and key players from the demand side of the industry (hotels, et. al.,) and the supply side of the industry (educational and training institutions), have to identify their roles and responsibilities to make this career choice more attractive and rewarding. The industry and the institutions should work in sync with each other and supplement and complement efforts of each other to achieve sustainable growth.
The author is Dean of Faculty, Hospitality and Tourism, Amity University, Noida
Amity School of Hospitality (ASH) and Amity Institute of Travel and Tourism (AITT)
The two institutes provide Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Hospitality Management and Travel and Tourism Management.
The courses include on-the-job training and excellent exposure to the industry. The placement cell of ASH and AITT has been providing opportunities to the students in various leading organizations such as Jet Airways, The Oberois, Taj Group, Hotel Imperial and many others. Both the institutes also encourage research and development with their PhD courses and the active participation of the faculty members in producing more research work.
The university also provides scholarships to the students on the basis of merit as-well-as means, encouraging the students to join the institute and pursue their interests. ATT is the only institute in India which has been awarded the UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organization) TedQual certification, making it one the best institutes for tourism in the country. With its focus on meeting the changing needs of the tourism industry, both the institutions have played a pioneering role in the propagation and professionalization of hospitality and tourism education.