ITHA, AHLEI partner to train certified hospitality professionals

Islanders Tourism & Hospitality Academy (ITHA) has been appointed as a global education partner of American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) – one of the world’s leading hospitality training and hotel management institutes. ITHA is an institution which helps create passionate, skilled, creative and qualified people for the booming resort market in the Maldives.

“With a significant number of new resort openings, and new projects in the pipeline, opportunities are unfolding in the Maldives which will see an immense increase in the number of jobs in the hotel industry,” said Moosa Zameer, Minister of Tourism, speaking as the Guest of Honour at the function held Monday at Hotel Jen to sign the partnership agreement between ITHA and AHLEI.“There is a growing need for well-trained professionals in the hotel industry, I applaud ITHA for taking the initiative to address the growing need for the development of our human capital,” he added.ITHA is a division of Islanders Education, which has been in operation since 2008, and runs Billabong High International School.Islanders Education currently operates 17 schools in 11 islands, catering to over 3,800 students. With the new partnership, ITHA seeks to create pathways to join the prestigious AHLEI certification for those pursuing careers in the tourism industry.

“Ever since the 80’s and early 90’s, the country’s tourism sector has seen a huge boom, which I believe is continuing. With the number of resort development projects in the pipeline, we expect the number of job opportunities in the tourism sector to grow by 60,000 in the next half-a-decade,” said Ahmed Adhly Rasheed, Executive Director at Islanders Education.“Back in the 80’s and early 90’s, a large percentage of students who completed their secondary education did not have the opportunity or means to pursue higher education. We need to kick-start development of our human capital to cater to the growing demand for well-trained local professionals in the hospitality business.”AHLEI represents the hotel industry in the US and provides advocacy and lobbying for the hotel industry with over 25,000 member hotels in the US. With over 60 years in its background, AHLEI is a publisher and certifying body which develops training programmes for academic institutions and hotel schools.

“We currently work with over 2,000 hotel schools and universities across the globe,” explained Ed Kastli, Vice President International Sales at AHLEI. “We provide professional development programmes for educators and students, in addition to training and certification for hotels.”“To give you an example of the advantages of certifying your hotel staff: Egypt mandated the training and certification of hotel staff in 2008, and we have provided wonderful results for Egyptian hotels; their TripAdvisor ratings went up, customer satisfaction grew, staffs were more professional in their operational fields, to name a few,” he added.Established in 1953, AHLEI is one of the finest non-profit member benefits of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) and is the premier source for delivering quality hospitality education, training and professional certification that serves the needs of hospitality schools and industries worldwide. AHLEI certifies and validates competencies in conjunction with academia and industry experts for more than 20 positions in the hospitality industry; designations from front-line to general manager, including the prestigious CHA® – the Certified Hotel Administrator.

The function also saw the launch of the “Dhirunba” campaign – a social responsibility initiative and movement by ITHA. According to ITHA, Dhirunba’s mission is to visit every island community over the next two years to raise awareness among Maldivian youth on benefits of building a career in the tourism sector.

​As part of the campaign, ITHA will be offering FREE training’s and creating pathways for participants to join the prestigious AHLEI Certification if they choose to pursue a career in the industry. It will then work closely with the industry to help recruit AHLEI certified candidates for jobs in resorts across the country. To learn more about ITHA and its career development programmes, please visit ith.academy.