In the new normal, hospitality courses will have to tailor themselves according to the changing travel habits of people. Safety and hygiene will be of utmost importance, several veteran teachers in the hospitality industry who spoke at a programme organised by IIHM on Monday said.
The tourism industry has been severely hit by the pandemic. Now, when it is limping back to life, guests’ expectations will have to be addressed and students have to be prepared accordingly, the teachers said.
“As a hospitality lecturer, I know that hygiene and understanding hygiene is always at the top of my list. It is the safety of the tourist, of the guest, of the visitor that is paramount. If they are safe, they can enjoy the wonderful experiences that tourism has to offer,” said David Foskett, hospitality lecturer and author from London.
He was speaking on the occasion of World Tourism Day and the inauguration of IIHM Global Centre of Hospitality & Tourism Research.
Foskett said research was important because the world was not going to be the same.
“We have to understand what the new technologies will be, customer service, employment patterns and what the new expectations of our guests are,” he said.
The IIHM Global Centre of Hospitality & Tourism Research was inaugurated by the secretary general of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, Zurab Pololikashvili. “We celebrate as the world cautiously reopens to travel. Now, it is time to recognise our sector’s essential role as a vision of sustainable and equal development,” Pololikashvili said.
Suborno Bose, chairman and chief mentor, IIHM, said that guests were expecting “health-conscious tourism”.
“Things are not what they were before March 2020 because the world has changed. If we expect the old normal to come back, that is not going to happen. So, we need to prepare ourselves, we need to prepare our students, we need to prepare our people working in the industry to embrace the new reality and the new expectations of the guest. The global centre for hospitality and tourism research will work towards this very closely,” Bose said at the online programme.
Priorities have changed in the new normal. “SOPs of the hotels have changed,” Bose told The Telegraph later. “The training and education also has to change and new protocols have to be taught to the students.”
Changes are being made in kitchen and restaurant design with more distancing being introduced. Housekeeping changes, including cutlery now being provided in sealed envelopes, have to be taught to students and the curriculum has to be rewritten.
“Some hotels have approached us to retrain their staff at our research centre,” Bose said.