A surge in the number of visitors to Hong Kong creates numerous job opportunities for graduates with hotel management qualifications With the number of overall visitor arrivals surging 12 per cent last year compared to the previous 12 months, Hong Kong hotels benefited from consistently high occupancy rates, creating hundreds of jobs for graduates with hospitality-related qualifications. To meet continuing demand, the School of Hotel and Tourism Management at The Chinese University, in common with other local tertiary institutions, has expanded intake and increased the range of courses available. The school now offers bachelor's degrees and postgraduate qualifications up to PhD level. It also has specialised executive education programmes lasting from one day to a week, all of which are proving extremely popular. Last year, for example, there were more than 700 applications for the 70 places on the BBA course in hotel management. The practical nature of the subject means that hands-on training and work experience get high priority. 'We deliver an industry-driven business education,' said the school's director Lee Kam-hon. 'We provide world-class business and management education and, at the same time, form close partnerships with leading hotel and tourism firms.' In this way, Professor Lee said, graduates came to understand the hospitality industry inside out and were equipped with a thorough knowledge of the most up-to-date management concepts and practices. As a result, they represented an important pool of talent ready to support the growth of the hotel and tourism sector, not just in Hong Kong, but also in the mainland and around the region. 'They have great career prospects,' he said. '[The sector] is booming and needs high-quality management talent.' The school's various courses prepare students for possible careers with airlines, hotels, restaurants, theme parks and cruise operators. Some recent graduates have gone on to roles in convention services, real estate development, investment banking and management consulting. Professor Lee is decidedly upbeat about future prospects. 'I feel very confident about the hotel industry,' he said. 'The real platform is in China, but Hong Kong will be a centre for investment and hotel management. It is the base to export capital and talent to the whole of China.'