THE Dusit Thani group is opening its first hospitality management school in the Philippines this coming school year, as it seeks to address the job-skills mismatch in the industry.

Dusit Hospitality Management College (DHMC), located on the first nine floors of the 27-storey dusitD2 Hotel The Fort Manila in Taguig City, will start accepting students for the Bachelor of Science degree in Hospitality Management for academic year 2018 to 2019.

“This school is going to answer the needs of the industry. We have more than 1,000 hospitality schools in this country… In spite of the 1,000 schools, the hotel industry is very hard-pressed to get good people. The applicants’ skills do no match the needs of the industry,” Philippine Hoteliers, Inc. (PHI) President and Vice-Chairman Evelyn R. Singson said in a media roundtable last week.

DHMC can accommodate around 1,500 students, with a maximum of 250 students per year level and more from professional advancement courses. PHI said it will take five to six years before they reach full capacity.

The programs will be certified by Switzerland’s Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne — the first hospitality management school in the world. Students will also receive training from staff at France’s Institut Paul Bocuse.

“We want to marry the industry and academe, and we will produce graduates that are demanded by the industry,” Ms. Singson said.

Being located inside the same building as the 125-room dusitD2 hotel will give students the opportunity to directly apply their studies at the hotel.

“We will build a technologically-integrated learning environment, as well as a testing ground for hotel technology. We have two full hotel rooms, one is the Dusit Princess theme, and one is the Dusit Thani theme. Of course, 125 rooms have the dusitD2 theme where new technologies will be tested out. The students will get an opportunity to work with different technologies,” DHMC Managing Director Lars Eltvik said.

Aside from a degree in hospitality management, the school will soon offer a tourism management degree which will be an entrepreneurial program for those seeking to start their own travel business.

Prior to DHMC, the Dusit Thani group already has a hospitality management school in Bangkok, Thailand, in a bid to meet the demand for management skills in hotels amid a tourism boom in Asia.

“Not only in the Philippines but the Asian region, tourism industry is the fastest-growing industry. That’s where the jobs in the future will be. Other service industries also need this skill set,” Mr. Eltvik said.

Meanwhile, the dusitD2 Hotel The Fort is set to open this year, which will also have 108 serviced residences.

PHI is adding up to nine hotels to its portfolio by 2021. Three hotels under the Dusit brand are set to rise in Cebu, three more in Davao, and one in Lipa, Batangas. The company is keen on putting up hotels in La Union, Coron, Siargao, and Boracay. — Arra B. Francia