Tourism and travel professionals in the Rio Grande Valley may soon have the opportunity to learn and network with hoteliers worldwide without having to leave their computer.
The Office of Continuing Education will, for the first time, offer the Global Hospitality Management Program (GHMP), an online certificate program designed to prepare those interested in joining the hospitality industry and help professionals update their skills and gain a global perspective.
"The global travel and tourism industry has grown exponentially in the past decade," said Jayshree Bhat, director of Continuing Education at UTPA. "This has resulted in the need for professionals in the hospitality industry to be lot more cognizant of serving travelers with diverse needs."
GHMP consists of three independent courses: Global Engagement and Hospitality Services, Global Leadership in Hospitality and Global Hospitality Sales & Marketing. Upon completion of each course, participants will receive a certificate of completion from the University. However, enrollment to UTPA is not a requirement since they are non-credit certificate programs.
Although courses will begin on May 15, participants are encouraged to enroll by May 7 to be fully set up to complete the online course in six to eight weeks. The curriculum is designed to be self-paced within the time frame allowed for each course with weekly webinars conducted by instructors.
"This training program is intended to connect people from all parts of the world to share best practice ideas," Bhat said. "The only way we can make it happen is by creating an online community of learners."
The courses will be taught by Dr. Edward Dramberger, a tourism consultant with 30 years of sales and international marketing, and Dawn Walzak, senior vice president of Tishman Hotel Corporation. Dramberger hopes to share insights he has gained from visiting more than 150 countries and six continents.
"The travel and tourism industry has been my life," Dramberger said. "I'm constantly learning new things to advance myself, students and clients. The University has a mission to expand their knowledge base to different sectors in different parts of the world. This is a tremendous opportunity for young students or students in their mid-career."
To help make online learning more dynamic, instructor-led live webinars and discussion boards will help participants to network with peers across the globe. Participants will also learn how to cater to different customer needs from regions around the world, such as Asia, Middle East, Latin America and the United States.
As a new certificate program in its early stages, Bhat said she expects GHMP to start locally and expand globally within the next year.
"We want to make sure to train local talents first and leverage that to build a global community of hospitality experts" she said.
For more information, contact the Office of Continuing Education at (956) 665-2071 or visit their website at utpa.edu/ghmp.