As the pandemic restrictions have been lifted, the long-dormant tourism industry is experiencing a new wave of vibrant growth. The demand for skilled professionals in the tourism sector has doubled as the industry anticipates a strong revival in the post-pandemic era. Predicting this resurgence, E United Group, encompassing both tourism and education sectors, took proactive measures last year, making ISU and Kaohsiung Marriott Hotel sign an “Industry-University Strategic Alliance Contract,” aiming to cultivate top-notch talent for the tourism industry. This year, these two formidable entities have joined forces again, intensifying their collaboration to launch the upgraded “Elite Program 2.0.” What’s more, representatives from the Department of Human Resources of Kaohsiung Marriott Hotel, including Associate Director Hsueh-Ju Wang and Manager Yi-Fang Chen, visited ISU’s campus, engaging directly with students to elaborate on the details of the Elite Program.

The “Elite Program” between the College of Tourism and Hospitality at ISU and Kaohsiung Marriott Hotel employs a dual-mentor system. Each side appoints a mentor to guide students throughout their practical learning during the Program. This unique mechanism ensures that students not only acquire professional knowledge at ISU but also gain hands-on experience in the industry. During the internship, if students perform well, their tenure will be considered when they eventually work at Kaohsiung Marriott Hotel after graduation. This means that students accrue seniority equivalent to that of full-time employees during their academic journey. This comprehensive approach, spanning professional development and employment benefits, distinctly favors the students. The objective of the Elite Program is to establish a close connection between students and the industry during their academic years. For one thing, this allows students to familiarize themselves with the future work environment early. It also empowers the industry to nurture its forthcoming workforce proactively.

Chih-Chiao Fan, a student from the Department of Hospitality Management who has completed her internship at Kaohsiung Marriott Hotel, shared that through the refining process of her internship, she transformed from someone who was initially hesitant with strangers to becoming a proactive and enthusiastic hospitality professional. Likewise, Chia-Chang Mai, another student from the same department who also interned at Kaohsiung Marriott Hotel, expressed deep appreciation towards ISU and the Hotel for providing a valuable learning platform. He emphasized how his internship enriched his understanding of the industry and illuminated the vital role of teamwork and collaboration within an organization. Chi-Wang Cheng, a fresh graduate from the Department of Sports Technology and Leisure Management this June, noted that having industry professionals visit the campus to discuss job roles and salary expectations, coupled with a diverse range of tourism and leisure sectors of E United Group, has given ISU graduates a distinctive edge in terms of employment opportunities. For young individuals entering the workforce, this advantage serves as a powerful boost of confidence and motivation.

Dr. Ren-Fang Chao, the Dean of the College of Tourism and Hospitality, expressed that the array of leisure businesses within E United Group, including Kaohsiung Marriott Hotel, E-Da Royal Hotel, E-Da Skylark Hotel, E-Da Shopping Mall, and E-Da Theme Park, provides rich resources to the Department of Hospitality Management, the Department of Sports Technology and Leisure Management, the Department of Tourism, and the Department of Culinary Arts and Gastronomy. This synergy creates a wealth of resources for students, allowing them to gain a strong foothold in their careers from the very beginning. By seamlessly integrating academic and industrial resources, ISU provides a holistic learning experience. This approach breaks down the barriers between academia and the professional world, ensuring that graduates are well-prepared and equipped to excel in the field of tourism and hospitality. From their first steps on campus to their entry into the workforce, ISU dedicates itself to nurturing emerging talents in the tourism industry.

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