In the short-term, aspiring students in this field may feel a little hesitant but it is wise to consider that what we’re facing is only temporary. In reality, by the time that new entrants into the hospitality and tourism programmes are completing their studies and entering the job market, the industry will have bounced back. The global hospitality and tourism industry is resilient and continues to be a sunrise industry with continuing employment growth, including at leadership level and this gives hospitality and tourism students confidence about their future prospects.

With 14th spot on the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index, Hong Kong is showing itself to be a shining example of innovation in the travel industry and has risen to the challenge of protecting travelers through innovative measures in these difficult times. So those interested in working in tourism and hospitality can get first-hand experience by studying in Hong Kong and learning about all of the innovations being rolled out there. Read on to learn more about why Hong Kong is further establishing itself as an innovative destination to study tourism and hospitality and one hospitality school there leading the way.

In the past year Hong Kong has stepped up to the challenge by “upgrading infrastructure, capturing the mounting demand for seamless digital experiences, developing protocols to raise hygiene standards, and creating innovative offerings inspired by the treasures discovered by the people of Hong Kong during their holidays at home,” according to Puneet Kumar, a Director at the Hong Kong Tourism Board.

Kaye Chon, Dean of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s School of Hotel and Tourism Management (SHTM), says “Over past decades the industry has bounced back quickly after every setback that it has experienced in Asia and beyond. And the tourism forecasts that we conduct here at the School indicate that the Asia-Pacific region will remain the engine of growth globally. Our students are fully aware that they have little to worry about fitting into a hospitality world of tomorrow. The demand for our degree programs stayed strong and for postgraduate programs there was even an increase in the number of applications to the programs, which is a strong sign that students and potential students have a strong faith and belief that the industry will come back strong when the global pandemic will be over.”

Due to its top-quality hotels and restaurants, buzzing atmosphere, and amazing scenery, Hong Kong earned, according to its Tourism Commissiona staggering 55.91 million visitors in 2019!

These COVID-related changes and what they mean for the industry, in Hong Kong and around the world, are very complex and much debated. So, for those wanting to be leaders in the hospitality and tourism, it really pays to have a top education, even better a postgraduate education, in this field. Even if you have an undergraduate degree in the area pre-pandemic, so much has changed that completing a degree in hospitality and tourism as the world recovers from COVID, in addition to the all the usual benefits of a postgraduate education, can be extremely worthwhile. One of the world leaders for this is The Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s School of Hotel and Tourism Management (SHTM).

“We respond and we rebuild,” the SHTM’s Dean, Kaye Chon, adds. “Skills and knowledge will be of crucial importance if we are to identify and capitalise on opportunities and respond effectively and efficiently. Education is the best investment one can make. It’s normal to look for an educational institution that provides an international dynamic learning environment where one can fully realise their potential. At the SHTM, we are committed to nurturing hospitality and tourism professionals who will contribute to reshaping and rebuilding our industry, leading it out of its current crisis into a sustainable future.

“Students have little to worry about fitting into a hospitality and tourism world of tomorrow. The industry is dynamic and international, and innovation is constant. New and innovative initiatives are exciting for the new generation of young leaders who want to work in an industry that is receptive to entrepreneurism and innovation. Hospitality is a tool for success. As we move into the ‘experience economy’ those who are trained to provide excellent service, leading to delightful experiences, will be in high demand. Our graduates do not only excel in the hospitality and tourism industry, they are highly sought after by other service sectors (eg. finance, luxury businesses) as well. Embarking on a career in hospitality and tourism in the post-pandemic world might seem a little challenging, but it will be rewarding at the same time. My experience has shown me that SHTM graduates are precisely what the industry needs to thrive.

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s School of Hotel and Tourism Management (SHTM)

The School of Hotel and Tourism Management at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University will not  only put you in the heart of the tourism industry in the bustling city of Hong Kong, you will leave with a comprehensive education preparing you for all the challenges the industry will face in the future. For this work, it has earned the No.1 spot in the world in many major hospitality and tourism education awards…

· The “Hospitality and Tourism Management” category in ShanghaiRanking’s Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2021 for the fifth year in a row

· The “Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services” category in the University Ranking by Academic Performance since 2020/2021 for four consecutive years

· The “Hospitality, Leisure, Sport & Tourism” subject area in the CWUR Rankings by Subject in 2017

· And No.1 in Asia in the “Hospitality and Leisure Management” subject area in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021 for the fifth consecutive year

So what does this mean for those thinking of attending?

Understanding that in-person studies can prove difficult for those who are working and or raising families, SHTM has taken their programme 100% online with the launch of their new Online MSc in Hospitality Business Innovation programme, designed to develop the hospitality managers who can steer the industry through these difficult times to a place where the industry is better, more sustainable than it was before. Students participate in classes designed to enhance their skills through collaborative, industry-driven work. This 3-year programme can be fast-tracked in 1.5 to 2 years, with students taking one to two classes per semester. As a result, students can learn from one of the world’s top-tier universities wherever they are located.

If the Online MSc mentioned above isn’t for you, there are several other fantastic offerings from SHTM to help take your education and experience to the next level. These include a Doctor of Hotel and Tourism Management (D.HTM), which offers a unique combination of subjects and research, and its flexible delivery is ideal for busy executives who want to pursue a doctoral degree while remaining in the workforce.

Ms Sarah Soliman Gasem, D.HTM student from Saudi Arabia and Head of Hospitality and Tourism at The Public Investment Fund, says, “The usual presence in multiple international events of this respectful institute is impressive; and the continuous record of the high-ranking status among other universities is admirable. I highly recommend the SHTM to all professionals from around the world as it is a true game-changing experience.”

Meanwhile, program graduate Dr Damien Daniel Marie Marchenay from France, General Manager of the Pullman Changshu Leeman Hotel, says, “The D.HTM understands people like me. It has all that I could hope for: a great programme, on a great side of the world, which offers a very flexible way of learning. The format is cleverly done as I could easily continue my career while studying.”

The MSc in Global Hospitality Business (MGH) is a unique programme offered with two other schools, EHL Hospitality Business School in Switzerland and the Conrad N. Hilton College at the University of Houston (UH) in the USA, giving students the opportunity to study in three leading hospitality schools across three continents. Students complete a real-life business consulting project assigned by SHTM’s industry partners, as well as having the opportunity to network with industry professionals across the globe.

Ms Jennifer Klar, MGH graduate from Switzerland and Corporate Sustainability Manager at Six Senses Hotels Resort Spas, says, “The programme equipped me with knowledge on hospitality business of course but what was even more useful was the exposure I had during the programme to such a culturally diverse group of people. It allowed me to develop my interpersonal skills and become better in working in international teams as this is the case for me today.”

Mr Pierandrea Falchi, MGH student from Italy, adds, “The experience is well worth it, and it provides knowledge and tools to whoever wants to do business in Asia, Europe, and the Americas.”

The MSc in International Hospitality Management (IHM) provides students the chance to get practical experience that helps them identify and solve problems within the global hospitality industry. Students gain the industry knowledge necessary to advance to the next level through “interdisciplinary subject exposure, decision-making theory, and management application.” The programme, taught in English and offered both full-time and part-time, develops knowledge and management skills, using both strategic perspectives and practical implementation.

Mr David Lau, IHM graduate from Hong Kong and Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Ocean Sky Hotel Management Limited, “SHTM’s programmes put a strong emphasis on students being able to utilise what they learnt in class in a workplace setting and the teaching contents are very practical and up-to-date. The programme strengthened my knowledge in many aspects including hotel design concepts, revenue management, multi-unit management, and marketing, all of which have proved to be highly useful in my business venture. I was able to apply what I learnt from SHTM in my hotel projects.”

And Ms Ziwei Zhu, IHM student from Mainland China, explains, “I graduated from the SHTM’s BSc in Hotel Management. The well-designed programme helped me from a solid foundation in the hospitality and tourism discipline, which has then drawn me to continue my Master’s study at the School. The strength of this MSc programme is its international focus. The School also impresses me with its strong network and great reputation globally.”

Pursuing an MSc in International Tourism and Convention Management (ITCM) provides context for students hoping to expand their careers in tourism and the exciting events sector of the industry. This program provides a focus on management, which is ideal for those looking to pursue the next steps in their careers.

“Hong Kong is the best representations of the fusion between Asian and Western cultures which is an interesting cultural environment to develop. Besides, the SHTM leads in the field of hospitality and tourism in worldwide reputation,” asserts Ms Maria Pia Morey Poma, ITCM graduate from Peru and Assistant Manager of S&S Hospitality in Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, Ms Doris Lee, ITCM student from Hong Kong, says, “Before joining the SHTM, I was in need of in-depth knowledge in management and hands-on experience in the convention and tourism industry. The high-calibre programme helps me gain more specialised knowledge in my field of interest. The consultancy project appeals to me most for it fills up my deficiency in real-life experience in communicating and deliberating with business partners.”

Last but by no means least, the MSc in International Wine Management (IWM) is perfect for those wanting to be leaders in the exciting wine industry, now and in the future. Students gain insight into all of the latest and developing trends in some of the fastest-growing, complex wine markets in the world. Also, the networking opportunities and field trips to vineyards and wineries around the world are a lot of fun!

Mr Joao Adriano De Melo Pires, IWM graduate from Portugal and Director of Wine at Melco Resort & Entertainment, explains, “The greatest benefit I’ve gained is definitely the people I’ve met, both my fellow students and my lecturers. It’s very advantageous to have such diversity of opinions, approaches and cultural backgrounds, all contributing to a much better understanding of the world and in particular Chinese wine culture.”

Ms Sandy So, IWM student from Hong Kong, adds, “My classmates come from all over the world with such a diverse background making it stimulating to exchange views and discuss new ideas – the best way to learn more about wine and wine culture. The programme also offers many opportunities for students to reach out such as the exchange programme in Bordeaux and the field trips to wineries and vineyards in other countries.”

While the school itself offers outstanding courses, professors, and opportunities for networking, students also appreciate the hands-on aspects that give real-life industry experience, particularly Hotel ICON, a unique hotel that is both an upscale commercial hotel right by Hong Kong Harbour and a teaching and research hotel offering a fully integrated learning for SHTM students.

Dean Chon adds, “As a global centre of excellence in hospitality and tourism education and research, the SHTM serves its industry and academic communities through the advancement of education and dissemination of knowledge. We set ourselves apart from other hospitality and tourism educational institutions by remaining in the upper echelons of international rankings, making us best placed to provide an international education with a distinct Asian context. We differentiate ourselves from others in that, in addition to academic excellence, we design and deliver application-oriented education programmes, conduct applied research and provide consultancy services to support the development of business and industry.”

With the world beginning to come back again after two years in and out of lockdowns, travel is something to look forward to. As the tourism and hospitality industry returns, let your career take off at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s School of Hotel and Tourism Management.

Article written in association with The Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s School of Hotel and Tourism Management.