ECOLE Hoteliere de Lausanne has launched its first English-language hotel management programme in a bid to attract Asian students. The move by the institute, a world-renowned training ground for hotel management professionals, is a break from its tradition of teaching only in French. Director-general Jean-Louis Aeschlimann said the school hoped to attract more students from Asia and other regions where English was commonly spoken. 'The majority of the students are from Europe and we want to have a better mix of students and to attract more Asians,' Mr Aeschlimann said. 'The hotel industry is booming in this region. We believe that in 10 years the industry in Asia will be run by Asians and we want to attract this group of future senior staff,' he said. Of the school's 500 students, 90 per cent are European. The institute intends to enlarge its Asian enrolment from 2 per cent to between 10 and 20 per cent. 'Since most of the Asian students learn English as their second language in this part of the world, we decided to start a four-year hospitality management programme all in English' Mr Aeschlimann said. Representatives from the school are on a two-week tour to promote the English-language programme in Asia. They wound up their three-day visit to the territory on Sunday, after stopping off in Bangkok, and are due to visit Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta. 'We see a tourism and hotel boom taking place in Asia and it is places like Taiwan, Korea and the Philippines that are going to need more qualified staff,' Mr Aeschlimann said. He said he believed most of the students would come from Thailand, Hong Kong and Singapore where tourists numbers were growing strongly. A similar promotion campaign would be launched in Beijing in May as Mr Aeschlimann said he believed the mainland hotel market had growing potential. He said it would not reach maturity this decade. The school also wants to recruit more students from English-language countries, and from countries where English is more commonly spoken than French, such as Germany and Scandinavia. Ultimately a more diversified nationality mix is expected among students, with roughly 30 per cent Asian and African, about 30 per cent from North America and 30 to 40 per cent European. Despite the change, Mr Aeschlimann insisted the school would remain a Swiss hotel training centre with a strong emphasis on the European traditions evident in its curriculum and teaching philosophy. 'We are not competing with similar learning establishments in the United States because there is fundamental difference between the American and European approach,' Mr Aeschlimann said. 'The American style of hotel management teaching concentrates on academic and strategic thinking while we have strong focus on the operational side of the hotel running. 'Students are required to do some very basic job as well. It is almost like an apprenticeship where students have to go to different departments from catering, table-waiting and house keeping to management and marketing skills. 'The American way allows students to first become a manager before getting familiar with the products or services they are selling. We believe we are letting the students get familiarised with the products before they become managers. 'In fact, the two approaches are getting closer now as more American institutes have a stronger emphasis on the operational side while European schools are strengthening their marketing curriculum.' Mr Aeschlimann said he believed the hotel industry in Asia had not copied the European or the American models. The culture in the region would enable the hotels to foster their own characteristics, he said. 'With the Asian culture of what is meant by courtesy and hospitality, Asia has already developed its own style,' he said. 'Besides, the fundamental difference in markets where Asia has more large, luxury hotels and Europe has a large number of small to medium-sized family hotels also makes Asian hotels unique,' he said. The English-language course will offer similar qualifications as the French version.