Press Releases 2014-2015

Wales-First Partnership to Raise Tourism Standards

24.04.2015

(L to r) Michael Downie and Andrew CampbellOn Friday 24th April 2015 a Ministerial launch took place to celebrate a pioneering partnership between the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) and Swansea Marriott, the first time in Wales that there has been such a collaboration within tourism and hospitality.

The event officially announced the start of a new two-year degree programme in International Hotel Management, developed by UWTSD and Swansea Marriott (part of Marriott International Inc. – a leading hospitality company with more than 4,100 properties worldwide). It will become a flagship centre of excellence which will help support, and raise the standards of, the hospitality and tourism industry locally, nationally and internationally.

Speaking at the launch, which took place at the 4 star Swansea Marriott Hotel, were Welsh Economy Minister Edwina Hart AM, Director of Place at the City and County of Swansea Phil Roberts and UWTSD Vice-Chancellor Professor Medwin Hughes.

Only fifteen places are available on each intake of this prestigious degree programme, with courses starting in September, January and May. The degree will see students undertake academic study on campus, but will also work on a practical basis at the hotel within all departmental areas. The degree will be two years full time with eight months being spent at the hotel and sixteen months spent at UWTSD.

Andrew Campbell, Head of Tourism and Hospitality at UWTSD, said: “Wales has a high dependency upon the economic performance of tourism but in recent years the marketplace has become increasingly competitive. In 2013, visitor spend within the nation was £5 billion, which supported over 100,000 jobs - representing 9.5% of all jobs nationally. Within the south west Wales region statistics are proportionately higher with estimates put at 1 in 5 jobs being in tourism.

“For destinations to survive and prosper, either at a regional or national level, there is an industry imperative for trading organisations to both satisfy and exceed the needs and expectations of visitors. We believe that this new initiative, which has been developed in partnership between a leading global hotel brand and a university with a proven track record of delivering undergraduate tourism education for over twenty-five years, will go some way in addressing this imperative, producing graduates who will become industry leaders of tomorrow.”

Michael Downie, Swansea Marriott General Manager, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with UWTSD offering this unique opportunity for young people. At Marriott our framework of associate personal development and discipline-specific training is tailored to each individual and opens the door to extensive opportunities around the world. The Swansea Marriott Hotel is continuously striving to offer the highest standards of service for the benefit of tourism within the region and we look forward to building on this through our partnership with UWTSD.”

The collaboration will meet aims set out in the Welsh Government (Visit Wales) Partnership for Growth Tourism Strategy 2013 – 2020, which identified the need to develop a skilled and customer-focussed workforce to ensure the successful delivery of tourism. It also acknowledged the need to set up recognised centres of excellence to develop hospitality and tourism skills.

This new partnership also addresses concerns held by the sector skills organisation People 1st that educational institutions need to provide “work ready” undergraduates for the hospitality sector. Although the programme is part of an aspiration to expand and develop hospitality education provision within south west Wales, it aims to influence the improvement of guest service standards within the region and throughout Wales. It will also raise job prospects and maximise employment opportunities.

In the contact of the Swansea Bay City Region, this new degree programme fulfils the University’s pledge to both the City and County of Swansea and Carmarthenshire County Council to ‘develop and deploy a skilled workforce in key sectors’.

Professor Terry Stevens, International Tourism Consultant and Managing Director of Stevens and Associates, said: “This is so important on many levels. This collaboration is great for the industry in general and is hugely important for Wales. It clearly places UWTSD at the heart of a growing industry, which is the world’s largest employer, and offers immense potential for career development.

“From a Wales point of view, developing our people and their skills is fundamental to taking tourism to the successful level that our Government demands. Everyone involved should be extremely proud of this important initiative.”

Further Information

Steven Stokes
Principal Corporate Communications and PR Officer
07872 423788
steven.stokes@uwtsd.ac.uk.