INTERVIEW

Hospitality and Tourism is one of the most income generating sectors for the developing nations like Bangladesh. Realizing the necessity for skill and capacity development of the resources working in this sector, turning them into efficient manpower  providing proper training in all areas involved with tourism development, the National Hotel & Tourism Training Institute (NHTTI) was established in 1974 under Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation  and has been operating effectively since then. We got the opportunity to get more in depth insight from the Principal Parvez A Chowdhury.

 

How are you enjoying your journey with NHTTI so far?

I have taken over as principal of NHTTI on 30 December 2015. It is a very technical job and the person involved has to be related to the tourism and hospitality industry. I’m enjoying every bit of it because the industry is very much lively and vibrant. I’m engaged with it as a professional since 1986. Moreover, working with the young people and develop their skills to fulfill their dreams has been my passion.

As we are working with the younger people, they will be the key to the fate and future of Bangladesh. Present government has given top priority to human resource development. It is one of the prime sectors that generates majority of employments. A huge number of skill resources are required as it is a multidimensional and labor-intensive sector. Only trained people will be able to provide the best services and convincingly communicate with the customers. So, trained people mean better customer experience for the visitors or tourists from home and abroad.

 

Tell us about the training and operational activities that NHTTI offers?

NHTTI started its journey in 1974. It is one of the best training institute in Bangladesh and still holding the same reputation. We are operating it in a calculative way because it was technically and intellectually developed by the best organizations such as ILO and UNDP in 3 phases. Currently, the trainers are highly trained maintaining international standard.

We are operating national certificate courses on travel and tourism in 6 disciplines. If you enter a hotel, the first thing you will encounter is the reception. keeping that in mind, our 1st course runs on reception service, front office and secretariat. The duration of the course is 18 weeks.

After the reception, a guest would usually like go to his/her room. Here comes the necessity of room service. Our 2nd course deals with House Keeping and Laundry Service. 3rd course runs on Food and Beverage, whilst the 4th course provides training on Food and Beverage Production, the 5th course has hands-on training on Bakery and Pastry and the 6th course covers tour Operation and Travel Agency Operation.

All the courses run for 18 weeks. For the first 12 weeks they remain with us and receives training and, for the remaining 6 weeks, they go to different industrial attachments and travel agencies for more practical experience.

We have 5 long term courses. These are - 2 years Diploma in Hotel Management, 1 year Diploma in Tourism Management, 1 year course in Professional Chef Training, 1 year Professional Baker’s course. We have recently added a new course on Culinary Arts and Catering Management in 2017.

 

Does NHTTI have any plan of expanding its scope or boundary in terms of training trades or other facilities?

Of course, NHTTI has scopes to develop itself and the present authority is trying to expand its operation in different other places such as Coxs’ Bazar, Khulna and Barishal. A university may come up for tourism purpose. It will be set up in Dhaka, near Purbachal. Moreover, we are importing training for capacity building of many organizations and universitiesand are also entitled to select proper manpower for expertise service to their clients. We are associated with Dandy College, British Council, International Institute for Hotel Management.

Many organizations are coming to trained their manpower such as Bangabhaban, Ganabhaban, Bangladesh Police, Bangladesh Army, Bangladesh Airforce, Bangladesh Navy, TIB, Foreign Ministry, Other ministries, Markentile Bank, National University, Beacon Pharma, MNZ Group, Coffee World, Vella Vista, Raj Overseas etc.

NHTTI gives the best practical training compared to other private institutes. Other institutes have very little practical knowledge and experience they can share with there students. If we look at public universities, no university except Daffodil International University has its own lab. So practically they are less known than us. Practical knowledge is very much required in hospitality industry. If you want to serve a person based on your theoretical knowledge. Communication skills are well developed inside our institute so that our trainees can easily communicate with our customers.

NHTTI is operating Chinese courses, free of cost for Diploma students. You know about the Chinese tourists. They move everywhere. Chinese tourists rank the highest in terms of the number of tourists’ arrival and departure worldwide. If you look at the occupancy rate of the 5-star hotels and other chain hotels in our country, you will find that the majority of tourists are Chinese. More than 15 new chain hotels are coming to Bangladesh within 2021. So, there will be scarcity of trained people. We are very much optimistic because we believe what we are producing proper human resources by which the hotels can get their service very nicely. A trainee won’t have to stay unemployed for long. After completion of the training our trainees are hired by five-star hotels through campus hunting. So, it is a big plus. We made very good connections and forward linkage. The HR people know about the success stories of NHTTI. So, they collect necessary resources very easily.

For instance, Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel has 700 employees hired from NHTTI working there. Among them, 500 are permanent, 100 are contractual and the rest of the 100 are casual employees. The success of NHTTI is totally incomparable.

 

How do you think the youths of our country can be encouraged to receive training from NHTTI for a more stable career in Tourism and Hospitality Industry? How impressive are the potential opportunities for trained youths in Hospitality and Tourism?

As I’ve said earlier, the tourism industry is labor intensive and multi-dimensional, there are ample opportunities for younger people to get employment in transportation, accommodation, in food and beverage, in entertainment etc. 

So, if you look at the world scenario and our country’s scenario, Bangladesh is one of the best countries for younger people. 56% of the people are young aging between 20-35. An entry level job in the hotel industry is very challenging and physically demanding. It takes a lot to manage the stress. People here in Bangladesh has a good advantage because most of them are young and physically fit. Very quickly, it can create a different flavor of social and economic changes which will be very impressive for our economy of Bangladesh. I think it is a career driven industry. Once a young guy receives training from NHTTI, he will get entry level job as entry level jobs are higher in number compared to executive level jobs.  So, we are targeting the entry level jobs.

In tourism and hospitality industry there is no shortcut. You have to go through a process. For instance, the General Manager of Le Meridian, Dhaka is from Greece. He came to us as an invitee in our inaugural course and said that he worked as a porter for 2 years in a hotel but now he is a general manager of Le Meridian.

Similarly, the previous General Manager of Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel, came twice to work here. He is considered to be one of the best general managers of Pan Pacific Sonargaon so far. He started his career as a dish washer. So, you can see the success stories of entry level positions.

Once you are successful in your entry level job, you can easily move up to the top and supervise the whole team more effectively rather than sitting merely as a general manager at first. There will be plenty of scopes available for young trainees. If you have the required skills, you won’t have to chase the career, your career will chase you. Trainees shouldn’t be worried about their career. We’ll provide them opportunities. We know there are scopes for employment. Trainees should concentrate on their training. If they are successful, their jobs will be confirmed. We signed MOU with BMET. Now our students can go to abroad on G to G basis. They can go to Canada, Middle East, European countries, east Asian countries. It has already started and we’ve sent 10 of our students in Maldives successfully

 

What are the minimum requirements for admission into a training trade in NHTTI? What are the admission procedures?

We always expect that the students who will work in the entry level requires a minimum education till SSC. Some of the disciplines require HSC as minimum eligibility. Any qualification less than that will not be considered because the trainees will require a minimum skill of standard communication and sense of courtesy that comes naturally with education. As hospitality industry is quite lucrative, trainees must be good in communicative English to interact with people from all of the world, to convince them as customers.

We always go for advertisement in our website, on Facebook as well as in the newspaper three times a year. Students can apply and pay admission fees online or offline.

Students must sit for an admission test once they collect the admission form, fill them in duly and submit to us. If the examinee passes the written test, he must face a viva. If selected, he will get admitted into our institute.

We always go for very good grooming session. Within 7 days anyone can notice the changes. The industry is quite disciplined. If you lack discipline you won’t be able to make things easy for you in this industry. Uniform should be there; specific haircuts needs to be adopted etc. In all the aspects trainees will learn to maintain discipline. That’s why NHTTI is superior than other training institutes.

 

How does NHTTI contribute the development tourism sector in Bangladesh?

The revenue is quite high now. For example, in 2010 the total revenue of NHTTI was 70,32,000/- which is now 2,45,35,000/-. The difference is quite noticeable. The authority is keen to develop the human resources development of NHTTI.

You know about the SDG, human resource development is one of the goals of SDG. We believe NHTTI can make some major contributions and bring success for the country together with related organization of public and private sector.

Since 1974 NHTTI is continuing to develop human resources for the tourism and hospitality industry and it’ll continue its effort to do so in year