A Queenstown tourism and hospitality school is to start teaching students in Asia.
Queenstown Resort College will offer its adventure tourism management diploma at a college in Malaysia from this coming Monday.
QRC, a private tertiary institution, has been contracted to provide the 21-month course by private interests who own Malaysian college Kolej Yaysan Saad.
The initiative has the support of Malaysia’s government, which wants to develop the country’s adventure tourism industry and tourism generally.
The first 22 students, who’ll be kitted out in QRC uniforms, are on Malaysian government scholarships.
QRC has approval from the New Zealand Qualifications Authority to offer its diploma offshore.
QRC chief executive Charlie Phillips says his new joint venture partner approached him out of the blue in late 2013.
Tan Sri Halim Saad, who’s behind the college, built Malaysia’s North-South Expressway, the Kuala Lumpur airport and the sport stadium, Phillips says.
Halim’s first link with NZ had been attending Wellington’s Victoria University in the 1960s.
He studied courtesy of the Colombo Plan under which thousands of Malaysians were educated in this country.
Phillips says the link shows the respect Queenstown’s tourism industry is held in overseas. “It’s a tick in the box for Queenstown Inc, so to speak.”
Initially, QRC staff will teach the diploma in Malaysia.
“In the long-term we’ll probably employ some expats or some Malaysians, but at the moment we’ll fly staff over.”
He visited the Malaysian college, at Malacca, near Kuala Lumpur, early last year and was impressed.
Its accountancy course is already run out of Victoria University, he notes.
Phillips says Malaysia’s adventure tourism industry, including paragliding, gondolas and water-based activities, is less mature than Queenstown’s.
Students taking the QRC diploma over there will fly here to do their nine-month internships with Queenstown adventure operators.
“As businesses develop over there, there’ll be the ability to take more interns there.”
Courses will be delivered in English – the students starting Monday have already been studying the language for six months.
Phillips says the next intake, of 24 students, will be in July.
Under the partnership, five Malaysian students have also started the whole course in Queenstown.
Phillips says this Asian connection is a great way to grow QRC.
In Queenstown, his college’s main focus is training Kiwis to increase New Zealanders’ involvement in the country’s tourism industry.
Phillips says QRC’s adventure tourism management diploma, focusing on risk management and compliances issues, could be exported to other countries.