Career Advice Job Market Trend Report

Men on a hospitality mission

It shouldn't be long before the world discovers that Hainan Island, in the South China Sea, is a destination offering a great deal more than just Sanya and wenchang chicken, and that it is also an important source of jobs for hospitality professionals.

"Until recently, tourism infrastructure development [on Hainan] has been predominantly focused on Sanya, which currently receives about 90 per cent of foreign and domestic tourism," says Ken Chu, chairman and CEO of Mission Hills Group. "But the island's capital city, Haikou, is largely undeveloped."

To maximise the province's potential, particularly in the north, the national and Hainan governments have begun a long-term mission to reposition the island as something akin to the "Hawaii of China". This, says Chu, includes a plan to boost Haikou's economy through an array of sports, leisure, entertainment and retirement facilities, with good social infrastructure.

Mission Hills, together with its partners, have been on full throttle to transform the city's "unused" and "unproductive" areas into a golf resort and entertainment hub. Mission Hills Haikou features 10 golf courses, one luxury hotel with 518 guestrooms and suites, a mineral-rich natural springs reserve with 168 hot and cold pools, and a 20,000-square-metre spa, among many other facilities. Meanwhile, Mission Hills Lan Kwai Fong Haikou, a joint project with Hong Kong's Lan Kwai Fong (LKF) Group, boasts 240,000sqm of shopping, entertainment, culture, and dining attractions - much like its namesake in Hong Kong.

A couple of hotels will also be located in the hub, among them Marriott International's Ritz-Carlton and Renaissance brands. The hub is expected to be launched by the end of 2013.

"Another positive is that the project will lead to an increase in the standard of living for residents, and will create tens of thousands of jobs. For purposes of comparison, Mission Hills Shenzhen employs close to 10,000 staff," says Chu.

He adds that a new highway to Haikou's Meilan International Airport and a high-speed railway, connecting Haikou and Sanya, have just been built.

According to Chu, the group's job vacancies for Hong Kong professionals are mainly mid- to senior-management positions, and those requiring specialist skills, such as chefs.

"We have developments in the pipeline that will require us to hire large numbers of young and energetic high school and university graduates from both Hong Kong and China," he adds.

Chu says they will also need people to handle information technology, e-business, sales and marketing, public relations and communications, sports management and graphic design.

An eagerness to learn, a willingness to serve, an energetic personality, a proven ability to solve problems, and a positive attitude - these are the important traits that ideal applicants of Mission Hills should possess, says Chu. "This is true, no matter what the job entails, be it designing advertising collateral for the hotel and spa, working with international media during one of our important golf tournaments, or helping accounts to track invoices," he adds.

"The successful candidates will be highly educated and cosmopolitan, given the profile of our affluent and international guests. Language skills are also an important consideration." 

Meanwhile, the LKF Group has been seeking talent for its Hainan project, as well as its other developments.

"As we continue to expand on mainland China - following the success of the first-ever Lan Kwai Fong 'branch' in Chengdu, and with the reopening of Hong Kong's brand new California Tower in 2013 - we are actively seeking new talent to join our mainland and Hong Kong teams," says Jonathan Zeman, chief operating officer of the LKF Group.

"As for the Mission Hills Lan Kwai Fong Haikou project, we are currently looking for a general manager to work closely with us and Mission Hills, as well as leasing, marketing, and project management executives to kick-start the planning phase," he adds.

"The Lan Kwai Fong Group attaches great importance to creativity and team spirit, so we like to look for individuals who can think out-of-the-box, and who are passionate about what they do," says Zeman, adding that the group is a "melting pot" with a truly international and fun work force from different backgrounds, nationalities and expertise, who work very closely to transform ideas into reality.

"You can go as far and as wide as you want to go, if solid performance and results are achieved," says Zeman.