consultancy.coop have been commissioned to conduct a feasibility study into turning this well known hotel in the Welsh resort of Tenby into a social enterprise hospitality and catering school which would work in partnership with Wales largest catering school at Cardiff Metropolitan University. The multi-million pound project, which will offer degrees in hospitality, plans to open its doors in the autumn of 2015.
The Hotel School will, at the same time as training students, offer first rate service to guests. The School is planned to be housed in one of Tenby’s top hotels, the Fourcroft, owned by the Osborne family for the last 66 years.
Hotel manager Chris Osborne says: “The Hotel School will be a wonderful asset for the town. Not only will it provide new degree level management graduates with ‘hands on’ learning, to the hospitality and tourism industry but also it sets up Tenby as a student town, with all the additional benefits of year round economic gain. The hotel school intends to provide guests with a high level of service and, as a training facility, it will enable local operators and their staff to improve their competencies. The project will launch the quality upshift the resort needs to flourish economically.”
The news of the venture has also been greeted warmly both in Cardiff and in Westminster.
Assembly Member Angela Burns is supportive of the project: “This is the economic and skills boost which the tourism industry in West Wales really needs,” she says. Similarly, MP Simon Hart gives it his endorsement. “This is a great idea for Tenby and a winner in every way. I shall be supporting it all the way”.
Mayor of Tenby, Trevor Hallett added: “This project is so exciting. Tenby has been waiting for something like this for a long time. We will do whatever we can to support it.”
The Hotel School’s degrees are being validated by Cardiff Metropolitan University. Around 90 students will be taught every aspect of hotel management from check-in to check-out over a two-year highly intensive period. The hotel school will trade and teach all year round. The course, which has been created by Cardiff Metropolitan University, is designed to turn out job-ready graduates, and this has been welcomed both by the profession and by students who are feeling the pinch after the increases in tuition fees. “We are really excited about designing a special two-year, practical, hands-on, degree for delivery at Tenby Hotel School,” says Professor Eleri Jones, Associate Dean (Research) at the university.
And there is further endorsement from the tourism industry. Andrew Evans, Chairman, Wales Committee, British Hospitality Association and proprietor of the award-winning St Brides Hotel Saundersfoot says: “We wish the Hotel School in Tenby every success. The project identifies the need to balance academic study with practical knowledge in a top class working environment. On completion of their studies the skills learned and qualifications gained can then be applied at management level within the hospitality industry based on work-ready experience rather than pure theory. “
The hospitality Industry in Wales is a vital sector. A recent respected study carried out by Oxford Economics, estimates that through partnership working and government support, nearly 10,000 jobs in Wales will be created by 2015 and a further 12,000 jobs by 2020.
The idea for the Hotel School comes from Tenby Development Trust, a Social Enterprise Limited Company with not-for-private-profit objectives which was formed by a consortium of local businessmen and women and retired professionals all living in or near the town who believed that the town was in need of regeneration.
“Tenby is a beautiful town, there is nothing quite like it in Wales or for that matter in Britain,” says TDT board member and local businessman Jeremy Bowen-Rees. “Our coast is regarded as being world class, and yet the town has suffered over the last decade or so from lack of investment both in money and ideas. This is why we formed. At that time we were tired of seeing shops and hotels closing and key sites and areas within the town gradually deteriorating. There are thousands of small towns in Britain who would relish the coastal backdrop and architecture that Tenby possesses.
We wanted to start up a venture in Tenby that would meet certain requirements. First it had to provide year-round employment. The Hotel School will do that. Secondly it would have to boost the local economy. The Hotel School will do that by attracting new people (tourists, students and academics) and new money into the town. Thirdly we wanted the School to put Tenby on the culinary and academic map. We believe that through the Hotel School, Tenby has the opportunity to become both a food destination and a university town.”