The Ascott Limited (Ascott), a lodging business unit wholly owned by CapitaLand Investment, and the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), which manages the GSTC Criteria and provides international accreditation for sustainable tourism certification bodies, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to jointly train and equip industry leaders and professionals in Singapore on principles and best practices in sustainability. The strategic partnership is expected to facilitate over 700 training hours across new programmes in the last quarter of 2023. This milestone is an affirmation of Ascott’s commitment towards sustainable tourism across the industry and aligns its growth strategy with continued advancement in plans to drive sustainability in Singapore, where at least 60% of all hotel room stock are expected to achieve internationally-recognised sustainability certifications by 2025 as part of the country’s hotel sustainability roadmap.
Ascott’s Commitment to the Hospitality Industry
The MOU signing took place today at the ACE Learning Festival in Singapore, organised as part of the wider SkillsFuture Festival. Comprising over 100 learning events from 4 July to 18 August 2023, the SkillsFuture Festival is an annual hallmark festival that aims to provide easy access to information on how SkillsFuture initiatives and programmes can support Singaporeans to stay relevant in the new economy.
The Ascott Centre for Excellence (ACE) is Ascott’s global hospitality training centre dedicated to developing human capital for the hospitality industry. It was conferred by SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) as a Continuing Education and Training (CET) centre for hotel and accommodation services in Singapore since 2008. ACE harnesses the experience and insights from trainers who are hospitality practitioners, and has trained almost 20,000 hospitality professionals to date. Offering training curriculum that encompasses operational skills both from theoretical and practical aspects, as well as real-life industry perspectives that can be applied to the everyday hospitality environment, ACE also provides services such as employment advisory, placement and consultancy.
Ms Beh Siew Kim, Chief Financial & Sustainability Officer, Lodging, CapitaLand Investment said, “Within Singapore where the Ascott Centre for Excellence is established, we hope to play our part as an industry stakeholder, to propel local hospitality players towards achieving targets that support the Singapore Hotel Sustainability Roadmap. As a global hospitality company, Ascott is well-placed to contribute to capability-building in the industry through this collaboration. Our extended partnership with GSTC marks an important milestone for us in our sustainability journey. We are committed to help bridge some of the gaps and challenges that the industry is facing around sustainability by empowering future leaders with the right skills and capabilities in an evolving sustainability landscape in line with the GSTC framework.”
Ascott is one of the first hospitality groups to be conferred the GSTC-Recognised Standard status for its adoption of the GSTC Industry Criteria in November 2022. Leveraging the group’s GSTC status and the expertise of its training centre, the collaboration will see ACE serve as the first partner to operate onsite GSTC Training in Singapore, with the launch of GSTC’s Sustainable Tourism Course (STC) as well as Sustainable Hotel Course (SHC). Designed for participants in the tourism industry, the first in-person STC, funded by Workforce Singapore’s (WSG) Industry Catalyst Programme, will be launched in October 2023. It will equip trainees with a deeper understanding of environmental tools and techniques to address sustainability gaps, regulations and guidelines. These new skillsets will allow trainees to integrate sustainability as a core value across the tourism ecosystem.
The SHC on the other hand will be customised by ACE for hotel and accommodation professionals. Set for launch in partnership with GSTC in November 2023, the SHC will further provide practical insights into sustainability practices for hotels and will feature expert tips and resources to tap on key solutions around current issues and trends.
“Staff training is essential for operating a hotel more sustainably and for eventually seeking external review and a certification mark,” stated Mr Randy Durband, Chief Executive Officer of GSTC. “We are impressed that Ascott is committed to continuous improvement in sustainable practices in all their properties and that they recognise the need to extend and facilitate this training for the broader industry. As such we’re pleased that they chose to base the training on the GSTC Criteria as a pathway to holistic sustainability.”
The ACE Learning Festival that is taking place over three days kickstarted with a session on ‘Navigating the Journey of Sustainability in the Hospitality Industry’ for leaders from the industry today. Opened with a welcome address by Ms Beh and headlined by sustainability experts including Mr Durband from GSTC and Mr Eric Ricaurte, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Greenview, the event delved into the global standards for sustainability for hotels and best practices in implementing the Singapore Hotel Sustainability Roadmap. Hospitality practitioners from Ascott also shared their journey towards getting their properties certified as a sustainable property, offering practical insights for industry peers at the event.
Upcoming open house events will provide further insights to members of the public and graduating students who are keen on exploring training and career opportunities in hospitality on 29 July and 4 August 2023 respectively.
Ascott’s Advancement in Sustainability with GSTC
Following the launch of the Ascott CARES framework and in line with its goal of having 100% of its managed properties GSTC-Certified by 2028, Ascott has also announced that two of its properties, lyf one-north Singapore and Somerset Greenways Chennai in India, are now GSTC-Certified. Efforts are currently also underway for more properties to be fully certified. In Singapore, over 95% of accommodation units across Ascott’s managed properties are slated to be GSTC-Certified by 2024. As part of the country’s national roadmap for hotel sustainability, at least 60% of all hotel room stock in Singapore are to achieve internationally-recognised sustainability certifications by 2025.
To further the impact of the newly inked partnership, Ascott is committed to having all its regional sustainability champions trained in the SHC. Discussions are also ongoing to explore expanding the collaboration with GSTC outside of Singapore to equip industry players with the knowledge and tools necessary to implement sustainable practices in their operations.
Most recently, Ascott published its first Sustainability Highlights Report for 2022, outlining its efforts in extending care and hospitality to the communities in which they operate.