The next time you take a vacation in Israel
and are greeted with smiles and excellent service from the hotel staff, you might want to ask your hosts where they studied.
The France-based Vatel International Hotel and Tourism Management Business School has recently made aliyah, opening its first branch in Israel. The school's graduates hold key positions in the world's most luxurious hotels.
"My life's dream has been to open a Vatel branch in Israel, and now it has been fulfilled," says the group's president and founder, Alain Sebban.
The school operates in the building used by the French Institute of Tel Aviv. It offers two courses. One has 23 Israeli students, who were carefully selected from dozens of candidates after a long screening process. The Vatel management favors students who immigrated to Israel to serve in the IDF, who are fluent in French and English and have excellent interpersonal skills.
The second course has 23 students from France, Belgium and Morocco, who came to Israel for training as part of their second year of studies.
The school's director in Israel, Lionel Bobot, says that studies last three years. "In the first year students learn the theoretical material and are trained at the David InterContinental Hotel in Tel Aviv. In the second year they go abroad, where they choose one of our schools around the world, study there and work in a local hotel. In their last year they return to Israel to complete their studies and receive their diploma."
Upon completing their studies, the graduates are slated to enter the managerial ranks of luxury hotels, but they begin their way from the bottom: They learn to perform all jobs in the hotel hierarchy – waiting tables, working at the reception desk, marketing, producing events and managing the rooms.
In addition, the students take advanced lessons in French and English. The studies are not cheap: €5,000 (about $6,600) a year.
"The importance of opening this school is not just in offering students a new approach to hospitality studies at a European standard of service. Students will also receive a good start for entering the hotel industry due to the support they receive from the David InterContinental Hotel in Tel Aviv," says the hotel manager.
"Young people are getting an opportunity here to advance and become part of the global hospitality industry, which offers a promising and challenging career."