DUBLIN INSTITUTE of Technology (DIT) has signed a landmark deal with a group of investors in Hainan to establish the Hainan International Tourism College on the tropical southern Chinese island of Hainan.

The agreement is between DIT and investment group China Aroma Investment Corporation, and the project is part of the central government’s 10-year plan to develop Hainan island as an international tourist destination.

When fully operational the college will have up to 5,000 students on a range of hospitality and culinary arts programmes.

In addition to building the school, the investment company will also build a resort and a hotel, which will be operated by a leading chain and will act as a training facility. “This is an important step in the further internationalisation of DIT,” Prof Brian Norton, president of the institute, said after the signing ceremony.

"It demonstrates the growing worldwide recognition for Irish education in general, and the career-orientated focus which has formed the backbone of DIT’s mission since its inception.

"The agreement sits well with the Irish Government’s strategy for international education, and follows the growing trend in higher education of establishing branch campuses around the world,” said Prof Norton.

Hainan has seen major development as a tourist area in the past few years. It has a similar climate to Thailand or Malaysia and is a very popular destination with domestic travellers.

Hainan province had over 30 million tourist arrivals in 2011, and revenue grew 25 per cent from the previous year to 32.2 billion yuan (€4 billion).

Dr Dominic Dillane, head of the school of hospitality management and tourism, said the project was “a strong endorsement of the quality of our programmes, but equally importantly it recognises the high quality of the Irish tourism product which has been developed and delivered by our graduates”.

Students in Dublin will be able to do work placements in Hainan, said Dr Robert Flood, head of international affairs at DIT.
SOURCE: irishtimes.com


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