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EXPERT SPEAK

Imperatives for Paradigm Shift in Human Resource Development in Hospitality and Tourism Sectors

By Rajiv Mishra, Associate Professor - Hospitality & Tourism, Welcomgroup Graduate School of Hotel Administration, Manipal University, Manipal (Karnataka)

Tuesday, October 24, 2017, 15:25 Hrs  [IST]

Should the Five Year Plan documents, statistical data, budgetary resources and the administrative report cards in the form of Annual Reports of the Governments at the centre and the states find their echo in the corridors of curriculum? Do we need to accept that it is part of the professional responsibility of the academic fraternity at the tertiary level to examine critically the state sponsored political and bureaucratic exercises in the arena of higher education against the wide canvass presented by the clauses of our Constitution especially those pertaining to the Fundamental Rights and to the Directive Principles of State Policy? Should we provide significant attention to discipline based contemporary societal issues or restrict to dispassionate dissemination of knowledge? These questions may seem to be addressed to divergent fields, but, are inseparably connected to the invisible socio-economic and cultural web.

We intend to deliberate on the import of the questions raised using ‘Report of the Working Group on Tourism’ for the Twelfth Five Year Plan by Ministry of Tourism, Government of India; it is operational during the period 2012 – 2017 - that too from the perspective of Hospitality and Tourism Education.

The Academics have a moral responsibility to be critical of the government’s actions and policies, once socio-economic fabric runs the risk of being affected. Compliance could lead to more severe subjugation and deprivation.



As per the Twelfth Plan, the average growth rate during the Eleventh Plan period (2007-2012), touched 8%, as against 7% during Tenth Plan period (2002 – 2007), which indicates economic development. This aspect needs a critical examination. Indian economy reflects a mixture of strength and weakness. All these considerations have led the Government to formulate the Twelfth Plan motto as “Faster, Sustainable and More Inclusive Growth.” It emphasises the need for bridging the divides in order to build a more harmonious society with socio-economic justice.

In this background, we would like to examine the contents of the ‘Report of the Working Group on Tourism’ for the Twelfth Five Year Plan by Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. The Approach paper to Twelfth Five Year Plan highlights tourism as one of the largest service sectors in India.

The Report deals at length with various aspects like strategies for Tourism Development; publicity and marketing; sustainable tourism; rural tourism; ecotourism; heritage tourism; product development; access; connectivity; infrastructure; destination management, etc. The Twelfth Plan strategy on Tourism is to achieve foreign tourist arrivals of 11.24 million and foreign tourist visits of 35.96 million by the end of plan period through diversification of source markets, increase in per capita spending and enhancement in the length of stay of international visitors and by reducing seasonality. The Plan also proposes domestic tourist visits of 1451.46 million by the end of plan period.

According to a study conducted by Ministry of Tourism on Manpower Requirement in Hospitality and Travel Trade Sector, the demand for manpower in Hotels & Restaurant sector far exceeds the supply. The study highlights the gap of 8.10 lakh manpower in the hospitality sector. The impact of this demand-supply mismatch leads to an unacceptable percentage of untrained manpower in the hospitality sector, which certainly affects the quality of services offered to the tourists. The Working Group Report needs to be examined in the context of a research study sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism in 2012 which shows that:



  • Only half of the employees in the key operational domains are properly trained in both hotels and the travel sector, while in restaurants and other eating outlets, this percentage is even lesser.
  • Hospitality sector requires 36.18 lakh skilled manpower. But the Institutional capacities (including the National Skill Development Corporation) would be able to fulfil only ten per cent of the projected requirement of workforce in hospitality and tourism sector (inclusive of supply from Non-MOT sources).
  • Most of the employees in the unorganised sector and nearly 80% of the staff of restaurants consist of untrained manpower.
  • Annual demand of hospitality workforce is likely to touch almost nine lakhs in 2022, but the presently available 337 training institutes (including IHMs, FCIs, University affiliated & AICTE approved institutes along with travel & tour institutes) are catering only to 63,000 students every year.

    These aspects indicate need for augmenting continuing education. One notable aspect about the ‘Working Group on Tourism Report’ is its silence with respect to harnessing ‘Open and Distance Education’ facilities at tertiary level, whereas it recommends using Open School System for facilitating Service providers without formal training/education to pursue academic courses. It is worth mentioning that National Council of Hotel Management & Catering Technology is offering Hospitality education in collaboration with Indira Gandhi National Open University.


As a contrast, Chapter 8 on ‘Open and Distance Learning’ of the Working Group Report on Higher Education opens up with the following remarks:

“Distance education system is emerging as an important means to cater to the increasing demand for higher education. Open and Distance Learning (ODL) is recognised and accepted as an important mode for achieving enhanced access, developing skills, capacity building, training, employability, life-long education and continuing education. Open and Distance Learning has contributed significantly in development of education structure of India.”



Chapter 21 on ‘Education’ of Twelfth Five Year Plan Document on Social Sectors states that “Open and distance learning must be used to widen access in a cost-effective and flexible manner.” The importance given to the development of Distance mode is evident from the fund (INR 700 crore) allocated for Open and Distance Learning alone by HRD Ministry. The HRD Ministry document also predicts 1 million enrolments in DE mode by the end of Twelfth Plan. Chapter 6 on ‘Enhancing Equity and Inclusion’ of UGC Report mentions that “Distance Education facilities using ICT may be of great help in improving the education scenario of higher education in the rural areas.”

Specific measures for ‘inclusive growth’ are not indicated in the Working Group on Tourism Reports either through HR oriented measures or in the funds budgeted. Considering the responsibilities of being facilitators of socioeconomic justice, the academics have to act beyond the normal class room situations. Willingness to adapt to technology change and being ready to learn continuously – both new content and teaching methodology are some of the attitudinal dispositions expected by the faculty.

Though Hospitality and Tourism is overwhelmingly an industry of private sector service providers; the public sector has a significant role to play in the provision of capacity building, training and empowerment either directly or through public private partnership.

Information and Communication Technologies could be used for capacity building initiatives. Distance learning has also increased its outreach within developing countries through online tools. The provision of local language content in these initiatives becomes a vital component to complete the circle of capacity building. New mobile phone technologies could also be used for providing support for capacity building. Partnerships among employers, trainers, local governments, non-governmental organisations, community-based organisations, and self-help groups can lead to more effective and efficient use of financial resources and sharing of expertise. There is a need to encourage sustainability through application of relevant management concepts and accountability. Still, the clientele is quite vast and the Academics have their roles to play towards both formal and non-formal sectors of Hospitality and Tourism education.

(This is edited version of a study report, ‘A Critical Review on the Recommendations and Proposals of the Ministry of Tourism for 12th Five Year Plan’ by Rajiv Mishra, which was published in ‘International Journal of Applied Business and Economic Research [ISSN : 0972-7302, Volume 15, Number 16, 2017]. Prof. Mishra received a commendation from Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, for this study.)

The views expressed within this column are the opinion of the author, and may not necessarily be endorsed by the publication.

 
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