Palau’s new tourism school to open in August


Marianas Business Journal, Jun 20th 2011

The new Palau Tourism and Hospitality School of Excellence is set to open when classes begin on Aug. 17, according to Victoria Maui, an associate professor at Palau Community College.

The new tourism school, which will be located on PCC campus, was conceptualized 10 years ago in response to the growth of Palau’s tourism and the local students’ increasing interest in the industry.

“Tourism and hospitality programs have been part of the PCC since 1998. There were only two students at that time,” Maui said. “Enrolment has since grown and continued to increase. An average of 10 students graduate from the program every year. About 80 to 90 students are enrolled in the program every year.”
The tourism school is housed at two old PCC buildings that have been refurbished at a cost of $500,000. The project was funded through local fundraising efforts and grants from Australian government. Each classroom is designed to simulate a real hotel environment.

Although the project was first conceptualized 10 years ago, plans did not take off until 2009, Maui said. “Three stakeholders – PCC, the Ministry of Education and the Belau Tourism Association – came together and decided to take action. They came up with a solid business plan.”

The establishment of a local tourism school, Maui said, is also aimed at reducing Palau’s dependence on foreign workforce. The industry is currently filled mostly with hospitality workers from the Philippines, Japan and Taiwan.

“We have a limited number of locals working in the industry. It’s time we train our own people and allow them to participate in the growth of Palau’s tourism,” Maui said.

The school will include courses under three major categories: hospitality, hotel and tour operations, and culinary art.

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