Education is the backbone of successful MICE operations. All MICE stakeholders, be they venues, F&B providers, PCOs, transportation suppliers or technology support vendors, need personnel that are trained well – not only in the basic rudiments of their trade but also a good macro level understanding of how the MICE industry works. That is a big ask, you may say. How much education and training do you impart to employees? As much as you can. The more knowledgeable your team, the higher you can aim your bids, in terms of complexity and size. Experience and knowledge will combine to make your propositions attractive.
India’s tourism industry employs about 10 per cent of its work force. The World Travel & Tourism Council India has highlighted that India is slated to be the third largest travel and tourism economy by 2028, with a significant contribution of an additional 10 million jobs. The Government of India’s Skill India Mission is in place with an emphasis on training and knowledge. In line with industry growth and strong demand for skilled professionals, the Centre of Learning, a Thomas Cook initiative, has seen a 35 per cent year-on-year growth in its diploma students and a placement of 76 per cent.
Mona Cheriyan, president and group head of human resources at Thomas Cook (India), said: “In the context of high growth and increasing customer expectations, talent management is one of the critical challenges that the travel industry faces. This relates to both the shortage of numbers and desired capability levels from a technical and managerial perspective. We are hence proud of our achievement in bridging the gap by building a resource pool of skilled travel professionals for the sector. What is noteworthy is that our efforts are equipping entrants with both academic knowledge and practical skills via on-the-job training.”
The objective of dedicated industry-specific training is to redefine the perception about the travel and tourism industry and to raise skill levels and standards of the industry to provide and raise qualified and competent professionals who are geared to encounter the ever-changing demands of the MICE industry.
Vatsala Subramanian, founder and ceo of Vatsala Tourism Academy, Chennai, says: “We have to introduce students to the world of tourism and expose them to the nuances of the industry which which help to gain managerial skills, enhance communication and equip them with the skills required in the MICE sector. We give complete training to young minds and make them ready for the industry. With the need for qualified professionals increasing rapidly, we must raise skill levels and standards of the industry and provide qualified and competent professionals who are geared to encounter the ever-changing demands of the industry.”
The objective is to focus on training and enhancement of skills in the area of destination training, such as the Far East, Australia and New Zealand, Europe, North America and the Middle East. The key areas are complaint handling, soft skills, rudiments of event planning and execution, pricing a bid, competitor information, market intelligence gathering, delegate visa norms, availability of post tour options, determination/suitability of a destination, venue/ vendor management and creating itineraries.
In a country that employs about 10 per cent of its workforce in the travel and tourism industry, education and retention of skilled personnel takes on a new meaning.
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