i-CATS Environmental Tourism Management Programme Prepares Graduates for the Global Tourism Industry
Category : Uncategorized
Article by Stanley Gona
Corporate Service Director
The Diploma in Environmental Tourism Management programme at the International College of Advanced Technology Sarawak (i-CATS) has long been regarded as a gateway to a wide range of careers in Tourism, one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the world.
Commenting on the programme, Mr. Ian Shatner, Head of the i-CATS School of Tourism and Hospitality emphasized that “the career-focused curriculum achieves a balance between theoretical concepts and practical experience. Students will have the opportunity to undergo a 3-month internship. Due to our close links with industry partners, our students will be able to secure internships in Malaysia and abroad. By having relevant hands-on experience, they will be able to develop new skills that cannot be acquired in a classroom.”
He added, “Global tourism, especially the ecotourism industry has experienced tremendous growth over the past three decades. With the ever-increasing focus on sustainable tourism and ecotourism, our environmental tourism graduates can look forward to rewarding careers, in both the public and private sectors, across the length and breadth of the global tourism industry. This includes a host of careers under the umbrella of ecotourism and nature-based tourism. On completion of their studies, graduates of the Diploma in Environmental Tourism programme can apply for the following positions: Ecotourism and Community Based Tourism Adviser, Tourism Officer, Tour Guide, Wilderness Leader, Adventure Education Instructors, Theme Park Executive, Park Ranger, etc. Indeed, employment opportunities abound across the vibrant tourism landscape. Diploma graduates may also further their studies in a range of degree programmes.”
At i-CATS, the growing number of alumni for the School of Tourism and Hospitality, with their many contributions to the tourism industry, is a beacon of inspiration for i-CATS tourism students to fly the flag of excellence on all fronts. For example, Mohd Nur Azrin bin Mohd Addwen and Aryadi Sim (graduates of the i-CATS Diploma in Environmental Tourism Management this year), are gainfully employed in the Tourism Industry. Mohd Nur Azrin is a Tourist Guide at Ooo Haa Tours & Travel Sdn. Bhd. in Kuching, while Aryadi is a Naturalist Ranger at Sukau Rainforest Lodge in Sabah. During a recent visit to i-CATS, Mohd Nur Azrin shared that “During tours, I take great pride in showcasing our rich cultural diversity, historical landmarks, and treasure trove of flora and fauna. The positive reviews posted on TripAdvisor by my clients/tourists have encouraged me to enhance further my knowledge and skills as a tourism professional.”
Commenting on his studies at i-CATS, he highlighted that “my lecturers were very friendly and always willing to share their knowledge on the tourism industry. During my studies, I enjoyed the study trips, to learn about our rich cultural heritage, including our many festivals.” The high-achiever, who was a recipient of an Industry Award from the Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation during the recent PPKS/i-CATS Convocation Ceremony, plans to set up a travel agency in future.
Indeed, graduates of the i-CATS Diploma in Environmental Tourism Management programme can look forward to exciting tourism-related careers within Malaysia and overseas. Recently, Kuching, Kota Kinabalu and George Town (Penang), were listed in TripAdvisor’s Top 10 Destinations on the Rise for Asia; a boost for Malaysia’s tourism industry. With 2017 designated as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development by the United Nations 70th General Assembly, numerous initiatives in the pipeline will reaffirm tourism as a catalyst for positive change. Around the world, countries are opening their doors to welcome tourists from abroad. Together with the ongoing drive to boost domestic tourism, this has resulted in a host of career opportunities. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, Travel and Tourism is one of the world’s largest employers. The sector directly employs over 100 million individuals, and over the course of the coming decade, it is expected that Travel and Tourism will provide a total of 74.5 million new jobs.
Here in Sarawak, Deputy Chief Minister, and Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister YB Datuk Amar Abang Haji Abdul Rahman Zohari bin Tun Abang Haji Openg shared in a recent speech that Sarawak is targeting five million visitor arrivals and RM10.68 billion in tourism receipts next year. He also shared that Sarawak received 3,785,175 visitors from January to October this year, an increase of 1.02 per cent from 3,746,933 in the same period last year.
Enrolment to the two-and-a-half-year Diploma in Environmental Tourism Management programme is now ongoing for the January 2017 session. Students who have completed SPM/SPMV with a minimum of three credits in any subject and a pass in English are eligible to enter the i-CATS Diploma in Environmental Tourism Management programme. Applications will also be considered for those who have completed the Sijil Kemahiran Malaysia (SKM) Level 3 Tourist Guide (or related field), and passed SPM with at least 1 credit.
For further information on the Diploma in Environmental Tourism Management programme and various forms of financial assistance, interested school leavers and their parents are invited to visit the i-CATS West Campus at Jalan Stampin Timur Kuching or call 082-570888/451533. Information can also be obtained from i-CATS’s website: www.icats.edu.my.