Friday, January 14, 2011

UCSI Cityisland Hotel to boost Sarawak in hospitality education

KUCHING: With the completion of UCSI Cityisland Hotel by late 2013, UCSI University’s Sarawak campus will be the holistic education centre for hospitality and tourism in East Malaysia.

Currently under construction, the 5-star establishment is located at Kuching Isthmus, and will house 360 rooms, six F&B outlets and four kitchens.

As the specialist branch in hospitality and tourism, the hotel will provide the perfect training ground for its students in all aspects of tourism.

Prospective students will get an opportunity to explore their wide range of courses during their open day this weekend from 10am to 5pm.

“Gone are the days when a career in hospitality simply meant being a waiter or a cook,” UCSI Communications managing director Gracie Geikie said, adding that today’s tourism industry includes a whole spectrum of career opportunities.

“A hotel, for example, is like any other corporation. It is made up of a number of different specialties over and above the generic skills like engineering, computer sciences, hotel management or even tourism experts.”

With 3 million visitors to Sarawak over the last year, Geikie observes that the increase in hotels and B&Bs statewide indicates a mushrooming tourism industry. “Even though BCCK is still new, it’s just a matter of time before our MICE industry comes into fruition.”

In anticipation of becoming a locus for tourism growth, UCSI has a dedicated research centre to tourism and heritage – the Centre for Applied Research of Tourism and Hospitality (CEARTH).

“The opportunity to work with real, actual research findings like tourist exit surveys and presenting it to the Tourism Department is a very enriching experience for our students,” Gracie said.

“Besides assisting our own research and study, there is a real chance to support the government in mega events and heighten the economic spinoff from the tourism value chain from our studies.”

UCSI also provides students with hands-on learning experience with the immediate tourism industry.

“Part of their programme includes an internship to one international locale and another at a local destination. Every year is different from the rest. This year, students will be going to Bali for cultural tourism and Mulu to experience adventure tourism.”

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