Universal teams up with Villa College to launch Discover Hospitality course

Universal Foundation has teamed up with Villa College to launch a certificate level course on tourism and hospitality.

At the inauguration ceremony held at Hotel Jen in capital Male Sunday afternoon, tourism minister Moosa Zameer said the Discover Hospitality course would enable high school graduates to pursue a career in hospitality. It would further strengthen the Maldives tourism ministry, he added.

“It’s important that more companies come up with similar initiatives,” the minister said.

Successful completion of the six-month programme, which combines theory and on the job training, awards a level three certificate. Graduates can either join the industry or continue to certificate level four, followed by a degree.

Universal Enterprises chairman Mohamed Umar Maniku highlighted his company’s efforts to provide opportunities for locals in the tourism industry. Several programmes have been conducted to train locals for hospitality jobs, he added.

“Tourism industry is where it is today because of the hard work of a lot of people. Today’s youth are very lucky to be able to work in this era of tourism,” Maniku, one of the pioneers of tourism in the Maldives, said.

Universal chairman Mohamed Umar Maniku speaks at the inauguration ceremony of Discover Hospitality course on Sunday. PHOTO/ UNIVERSAL

Universal Foundation is the charity arm of Universal Enterprises, an umbrella company that is amongst the leading resort developers in the country. Universal owns and operates the largest collection of resorts in the Maldives.

The Maldives’ tourism industry has greatly expanded over the past 40 years, becoming the country’s main economic activity and the biggest employer.

Over the past three years, dozens of uninhabited islands have been leased to local and foreign resort developers. Several international brands have entered into the market, increasing the number of resorts to 120. That number is set to increase as the government has announced the opening of some 20 new resorts by the end of this year.

Along with the new resort openings come the challenge of increasing demand from budget travellers who choose guesthouses over luxury resorts that the Maldives is known for. The guesthouse sector has rapidly expanded with over 300 guesthouses in operation today.

With the expansion comes the need to train locals for a range of new jobs that are expected to open up.

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