By Muluken Yewondwossen
The first training hotel for hotel management and tourism students in Ethiopia is being launched at Hawassa University in the Southern Nations Nationalities and People’s Regional State (SNNPRS).
The hotel is to be run by the University’s Faculty of Hotel Management and Tourism.
It is financed by the German financing cooperation (KfW) and supported by the ecbp program (Engineering Capacity Building Program). which has been involved in the university’s reform program.
The total cost for the construction of the hotel building is 900,000 Euros, which includes landscaping around the hotel, furniture for guest rooms, equipment for the kitchen, restaurant, laundry and a separate kitchen lab for the students.
The opening of the hotel is tentatively scheduled for September 2009 in time for the new academic year. The hotel is a fully-fledged enterprise that will also be used as a teaching facility, allowing students to gain practical experience under the close supervision of teachers.
Students from the faculty of hotel management and tourism will take care of guests while doing their training. In addition, the hotel is an employer and provides 40 employees with permanent jobs and offers them technical skills training. According to the university, tourism is a developing sector in the Ethiopian economy, but skilled employees for the sector are scarce. Because of a general lack of skills, in 2003/04 the Ethiopian Government decided to establish training centers for different sectors, one in each region. A textile training institute was established in the Amhara Region, a training institution for construction was introduced in Tigray and for SNNPR the hotel and tourism institute was set up.
The students will be trained in theory and practice in all areas of day-to-day hotel management, such as reception, room service, laundry, house-keeping, the restaurant and the kitchen. In addition to the training, international and Ethiopian three and four star hotels will accept students from the faculty for internships. It will take three years for students to gain a diploma.
At present, the hotel management classes have 96 students in 2008, while classes in hotel management and tourism had 143 students enrolled in 2008.
The first batch of graduates has finished their three years of study and some are now employed by hotels.
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