NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State University strengthened its intercultural ties to the Republic of Seychelles and the Seychelles Tourism Academy when Dr. Marcus Jones, vice president of University Affairs, met with administrators at STA in advance of internships for three recent graduates of NSU’s Hospitality Management and Tourism program.
Jones met with Seychelles Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation Ports and Marine, Ambassador Maurice Loustau-Lalanne last week at the ministry’s headquarters at Botanical House, Mont Fleuri. The meeting followed the signing last July of a memorandum of understanding between NSU and STA, which is aimed at facilitating and promoting exchanges between the two institutions, and helping each place students in internships and other training opportunities prior to them joining the hospitality industry.
The three interns, Tommy Remsen, Terrian Marchand and Ashleigh Rouatee, who recently completed their bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management and Tourism at NSU, are undertaking a six-month internship at the Seychelles’ Savoy Resort and Spa. Arrangements will also be made for them to visit and experience other luxury hotels located off the main island.
Rouatee shared her excitement for having been given the opportunity to gain work experience in Seychelles.
“I really want to learn and expand my knowledge about hospitality,” she said.
Jones explained that the internship opportunity, allowing NSU graduates to travel, work and gain practical experience and exposure to an international tourism scene, is the first phase of the memorandum of understanding.
“Ideally phase one is the first batch of students here in the Seychelles, while phase two will look into future partnerships with not only the academy but other educational institutions on the island. The third phase of the memorandum will then look into supplementary programs, which could be attended by NSU students, such as seminars and most importantly internships in the Seychelles,” Jones said.
Loustau-Lalanne expressed his appreciation towards the initiative, while taking the opportunity to highlight the growth in tourism arrival numbers from America.
He expressed hope that there will be further improvement in the tourism numbers from America, now that British Airways will allow for greater connectivity for people travelling to Seychelles from America, when it starts operating direct flights from London next year.
“Now that the number of American visitors are increasing we are working to get an American Embassy back to our shores, further facilitating such exchange programs between other institutions and our own tourism academy,” said Loustau-Lalanne.
Through the memorandum of understanding with NSU, the Seychelles Tourism Academy will be organizing internships for young STA lecturers to visit Northwestern State next year. It is also hoped that at least four students enrolled on STA’s Advanced Diploma in Hospitality Management course will benefit from internship opportunities in Louisiana.
While the exchange with an American university is a first for the Seychelles Tourism Academy, the hospitality training institution is already linked and welcoming students from a number of countries in Asia, Europe and Africa.
The Seychelles Tourism Academy is a leading hospitality and tourism training institute that prepares individuals for careers in hotels, guests houses, restaurants, airline offices, airports, travel agencies, cruise ships and more. Since gaining independence from Britain in the 1970s, tourism has been a significant industry for the island nation, which is located in the Indian Ocean east of the African coast and is home to numerous beaches, coral reefs, nature reserves and exclusive resorts.
The Seychelles Tourism Academy has fostered affiliations with several international hotel chains, such as the Hilton group and Le Meridien Group, as well as with other institutions that specialize in training professionals for the hospitality and tourism industry, including Northwestern State.
Last summer, Georgina Dhillon visited NSU to sign the memorandum and meet with NSU President Dr. Chris Maggio. Dhillon, the liaison between NSU and Seychelles, was also present to welcome the American students as they arrived as Seychelles last week. Jones had travelled ahead for meetings and to explore conditions before their arrival. The students will be working at Savoy Seychelles Resort and Spa (https://savoy.sc/).
NSU’s Department of Hospitality Management and Tourism offers a bachelor’s degree program with concentrations in culinary arts, hospitality services and travel and tourism. For information on the HMT program, visit hmt.nsula.edu.