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Interview – Andreas Sammoutis: ‘City Unity College Strives Towards Academic Excellence’

With a portfolio of courses based on strong partnerships with prestigious education institutions, City Unity College strives towards academic excellence, says Academic Dean Andreas Sammoutis.

Founded in 1999, the college offers a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses in a number of fields including International Hospitality and Tourism Management – a field which has proven popular for studies in Greece.

“The hospitality/tourism market grows every year making the need for skilled specialists essential,” Mr Sammoutis says.

The students at City Unity College have the advantage of becoming skilled professionals through studies that blend the Swiss education mentality and the UK education system.

In this interview, the Academic Dean informs on the programs of hospitality and tourism studies offered at City Unity College and the institution’s focus to deliver high quality education.

Moreover, he speaks about how the college is coping with the coronavirus (Covid-19) situation and what it means for students preparing to begin studies in tourism and hospitality during this period.

“Covid-19 is a crisis that can provide essential lessons to students on how to respond in such difficult times,” he tells GTP Headlines, underlining that the situation can be considered an opportunity and not an obstacle.

“It is the right time to invest in knowledge and skills in order to be more prepared for the needs of businesses and the new profile of tourists during and post Covid-19.”

  • GTP: Mr Sammoutis, please tell us about City Unity College and what makes it unique.

Andreas Sammoutis: City Unity College was founded in 1999, recognised by the Ministry of Education and given a licence to operate as a college. Our competitive advantage is the continuous strive towards academic excellence, our portfolio of courses with strong partnerships with academic institutions and the multicultural diversity of our students. We grow together with our students and families, creating a strong and solid chain that holds our community together, inspiring them to follow their dreams and make them true through their studies at City Unity College.

  • GTP: How high is the demand for highly qualified specialists in the tourism/hospitality sector in Greece?

Andreas Sammoutis: The hospitality/tourism market grows every year making the need for skilled specialists essential. At City Unity College our students have the unique opportunity to become skilled professionals through their studies, as we have integrated the Swiss education mentality, which emphasises on the practical elements, and the UK education system that oversees the academic part of the studies. The companies in Greece that operate in the tourism market need professionals not only to support their operations but most importantly to provide added value to their services.

  • GTP: Could you please inform our readers on the programs of hospitality and tourism studies that City Unity College offers?

Andreas Sammoutis: At City Unity College and at the Hospitality Campus we are offering a diverse portfolio to enable our students to enter their professional life with strong qualifications. Our proud partnership with Swiss Alpine Center provides our students with a Diploma of Studies in International Hospitality and Tourism Management and a Diploma in Culinary Arts Management. The students are trained as professionals from the first day of their studies. Furthermore, with Alpine Center we offer Certificates in all fields of Hospitality and Culinary Studies, like Food and Beverage, Housekeeping, Front Office Management, Culinary Studies. Our students have the opportunity to excel in their studies with a Bachelor from Cardiff Metropolitan University at International Food and Beverage Management or International Hospitality and Tourism Management. We also offer an MSc degree in International Hospitality and Tourism Management with Cardiff Metropolitan University.

  • GTP: Among the college’s hospitality and tourism programs of study which do you find to be the most popular?

Andreas Sammoutis: The majority of students are enrolled on the dual degree that offers them the opportunity to graduate with a Swiss Alpine Diploma and a Bachelor’s degree from Cardiff in International Hospitality and Tourism Management. This competitive advantage makes our students highly skilled through their practical courses and academically excellent through the portfolio of courses in more theoretical modules like Marketing, Revenue Management, Industry Project, Human Resources.

  • GTP: This year, the whole world was up against the unforeseeable situation brought by the outbreak of Covid-19. What challenges did City Unity College face?

Andreas Sammoutis: City Unity College has invested in technology even before the outbreak of Covid-19. We have our own electronic platform that provides a virtual environment of the traditional classroom, maintaining the dynamics between the lecturers and the students with live-streaming delivery of the courses.  We all adapted immediately and successfully to this challenge and demonstrated in practice our professionalism and our commitment to our students. Together with our academic partners we have invested in the approach of student engagement within blended learning, offering continuous training to lecturers and staff in order to ensure that our students receive the best education.

  • GTP: What is City Unity College’s answer to Covid-19? How is the college dealing with the situation?

Andreas Sammoutis: City Unity College is following all guidelines from the officials and continuously monitors that situation to provide a safe environment for students, academics and staff.

  • GTP: Tourism is one of the economic sectors that has been hit very hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. How do you see the industry recovering?

Andreas Sammoutis: The hospitality industry has been hit hard by the pandemic. However, it is a ‘human to human’ industry more than B2B or B2C. Probably the numbers and figures of 2019 will take around four years to be recovered. People will have the need to travel because they will have to fulfill their need for new experiences. The influence of tourism in people’s hearts and minds is so dynamic that new horizons will be achieved soon.

Photo Source: @City Unity College

  • GTP: What does Covid-19 mean for students preparing to begin studies in tourism and hospitality?

Andreas Sammoutis: Tourism and Hospitality cannot be studied within the static environment of the four walls of a classroom. Already students in the field of tourism need to think and act differently. Covid-19 is a crisis that can provide essential lessons to students on how to respond in such difficult times. It is an opportunity and not an obstacle. It is the right time to invest in knowledge and skills in order to be more prepared for the needs of businesses and the new profile of tourists during and post Covid-19.

  • GTP: Looking forward, post-Covid, what trends do you see in hospitality?

Andreas Sammoutis: Wellness has being a key trend during the last years and is needed in a post Covid-19 environment. Furthermore, the local experience with personalisation of services will also be evident for the years to come. The strongest trends and changes in the hospitality industry will be in the field of technology supported by smart hotels. Sustainability is also one of the key elements of the new framework and social responsibility in the tourism industry.

  • GTP: What would your message be to prospective students thinking about an education and career in tourism and hospitality?

Andreas Sammoutis: Your talent and dreams can become true in the industry of tourism and hospitality. Your uniqueness is essential for the industry to grow and meet the demands of its customers. Invest in yourselves, invest in education and training and you will achieve great things in an industry that should work with open doors, open minds and an open heart.

About the Author
Nikos is Greek-American born in New York, USA, and has lived in Greece for over 30 years. He is the managing editor of Greece's leading monthly travel and tourism guide, the Greek Travel Pages (GTP) since June 2008 and of news site GTP Headlines since its launch in September 2012. Nikos has also served as international press officer for the City of Athens and for the mayor. He has a degree in Mass Media and Communications, specializing in Journalism. Nikos is a native English speaker and speaks Greek fluently.

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