In our first edition of On Course online (Semester 2, 2013) we profiled graduates who are making their mark outside traditional hospitality spheres. In this issue, we look at some stellar graduates who are doing it within the hotel industry, showing the up-and comings how it’s done. These General Managers are a testament to where ICHM can take you. 


ICHM’s first graduate General Manager was appointed 12 years ago and many more have achieved the position since. 
On Course asked a few of them some questions about how they got there, what they’re planning next and the influence of ICHM on their careers.

As students, most had the ambition to reach General Manager from day one or soon after. And all agree that ICHM provided the foundation for success, through its combination of on-campus study and industry placements. However, each had the wherewithal to make strategic moves along the way. ICHM’s General Managers can be found in Australia and around the world—from Thailand to China, from the Middle East to the United States of America.

Benjamin Krieg (cover photo), who is at the Radisson in Bangkok, offers sage advice: to consider the merits of a position while having in mind the next two or three after that. And to not overlook small-to-medium size properties which often offer better opportunities to round out skills sets.

He says he has been fortunate to have been a General Manager of three very diverse properties on two continents with two amazing international management companies: Accor and now Carlson Rezidor. 

‘My ambition is to continue to challenge myself in and gain exposure to as many different operations as possible. I’m in Asia right now and I couldn’t think of a better place in which to do just that.’

Benjamin also follows his own advice to others to takes into account the middle and long-term view. For him, it’s to have multiple properties or regional responsibilities. 

Welcome to this snapshot of ICHM’s graduate General Managers. 

Melissa Tracey
Hotel Manager, Mint Oaks, Adelaide
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Martin Kunzman
General Manager, Amari, Koh Samui, Thailand
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Nicholas Lacey
General Manager, Hyatt International, Sanya China
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Benjamin Krieg
General Manager, Radisson, Bangkok Thailand
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Chris Jones
General Manager, Quest, Adelaide SA (now Property Operations Manager, Mount Hotham Skiing Company)
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General Manager, Remington Hotels, Tampa, Florida USA
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Jason McGowan
General Manager Development Middle East, Amalgamated Holdings Limited, Dubai UAE
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General Manager, The Kahala Hotel & Resort, Honolulu Hawaii
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ICHM ticks off on two big items

ICHM is proving it's more than a match for some of the major players in education and training with two big ticket items given sign-off by the Australian Government early this year.

In February, Australia’s Tertiary Education Quality Standard Agency (TEQSA) renewed ICHM’s registration as a higher education provider for seven years—the maximum term allowable. 

ICHM’s reputation for managing international students over 20 years has resulted in a recent announcement by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection that it has granted the college Streamlined Visa Processing (SVP) eligibility. This allows international students to confidently enroll at ICHM in the knowledge that their visa application will be given preferential treatment.  ICHM is one of only 14 private providers in Australia to achieve the SVP benchmark at this time, a system previously only available to universities. 

ICHM’s Principal Dr Ian Whyte said that both were extremely demanding but worthwhile processes, confirming ICHM’s standing as a respected education and training provider of quality. 

These achievements will provide further confidence for prospective students when looking internationally for hotel management and business programs, which has developed into a highly competitive market’, says Dr Whyte.

Graduate Profile
Elena Sin
Operations Manager—On-Site Services Sodexo

Graduate Elena Sin has made it in one of the world’s toughest industries in one of the world’s most remote locations. She attributes her position today and opportunities in the future to working hard and looking after people. ‘If one of your staff has cleaned 50 rooms in 50 degree heat you need to know what that feels like’, she says.

The work schedule on mine sites in Western Australia’s Pilbara is unforgiving: 30 days on and seven days off. For five years Elena has missed family birthdays and catch-ups with friends, but says it’s all been worth it. 
Profiled in a previous issue of On Course, which featured graduates in Western Australia (Semester 2, 2012), Elena started out with Hyatt, working in the United States and then Perth, as head of Banquets. It was there she learnt to deal with pressure and to make quick decisions, especially dealing with some of the group’s big mining clients.
She stresses the importance of ICHM’s catchphrase network, network, network! in her moves with Hyatt and the jump to Quality and Events Coordinator with Sodexo, a role for which she was headhunted from Hyatt.
Elena says her arrival at the mine site 1000 km from Perth in a sea of red dust came as a shock.  Another was the workforce demographic: 1200 men to 20 women. Her first priority was to earn respect; the key she says is looking after people and finding out their goals, working from the hospitality adage: ‘Look after people, the people look after the customers and the profits look after themselves’. To do so she demoted herself to cleaner, kitchen hand and waiter and could then say with justification ‘been there, done that’ when issues arose.
Now based in Perth as Operations Manager, she continues to make fortnightly visits to the mine site. Her sights are set on relocating to South America within two years and heading up regional operations within five years.  
Sodexo is a multinational food services and facilities management company employing 500,000 people worldwide. 
Elena visited the ICHM campus in late February to present to students. 

Another highflying graduate
hits campus

Claudio Ruegger

Director of Sales, Sofitel Auckland and Viaduct Harbour


Swiss born but brought up in New Zealand, Claudio was on his way to rediscover his European roots and work internationally when he visited campus for three days in October 2013, sharing his Sales expertise with students, management and lecturers. Like Elena Sin, Claudio’s career moves had come with the Hyatt—he earned his first position at the Hyatt Regency Auckland through industry placements there, and moved quickly up through Catering and Sales roles, including the rebranding of the Hyatt to Pullman.  As Director of Sales at Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour he was part of the property’s opening team.

Scholarships a handy incentive

Since it started in 1993, ICHM has awarded scholarships worth in excess of $2.5 million to students from Australia and New Zealand. Most have gone on to achieve great things, and this year’s recipients are expected to be no exception. 

An impressive bunch, dedicated to a positive future through ICHM. That was the general consensus on this year’s scholarship recipients. Each went through a rigorous assessment process, initially completing and sending through an application form from which they were shortlisted for interview.

Careers Counsellor and Interview Committee member Tessa Rochfort says that on top of education criteria, the committee looks for a number of qualities, in particular, people skills and that special something that leads them to go above and beyond in whatever they’re involved in.
‘We regard each recipient as remarkable, in the determination they’ve shown and the success they’ve achieved at such a young age’, she says. 

Nicholas Miller, for example, won his school’s much-coveted Long Tan Leadership and Teamwork award.

The year before, in 2012, he picked up a Premier’s Spirit of Anzac Award, which took him to the United Kingdom, Belgium and France. As Australia’s representative, he read to a worldwide television and live audience at the Anzac Day Dawn Service at Villers-Bretonneux.

All this won him his town’s Young Citizen of the Year in the 2013 Australia Day Awards. Nicholas also found time to work part time in a local hotel and establish a small business in partnership, baking bread for local markets and private orders— demonstrating fledgling hospitality and entrepreneurial ambition. Nicholas got a taste of ICHM during Career Week.

‘Throughout my schooling and personal life I have strived to put in 100% and with determination and ICHM’s intense program, opportunities and guidance I feel confident that I will be the best that I can be’, he says.


Fernanda Butlin
The Glennie School, Toowoomba Queensland
Kira McDonald
Grant High School, Mount Gambier South Australia
Caitlin Payne-Clarke
Cardijn College South Australia
Conor Gawith
Hamilton, St Paul’s Collegiate School, Hamilton New Zealand

Eagle eye delivers for Callum

Graduate Callum Farnell is no stranger to awards and a master at combining career with lifestyle. In 2013, Eagles Nest, the luxury hotel and retreat he heads up in New Zealand, won the 2013 World Travel Awards ‘World’s Leading Boutique Villa Resort’. Presented at a glittering ceremony in Doha, Qatar, the awards are the travel industry’s equivalent of the Oscars. 
The five villas that make up Eagles Nest overlook the Bay of Islands, a well-known New Zealand travel destination with some of the most spectacular scenery in the world.

Among a raft of accolades in recent years, the property picked up the 2010 ‘World’s Best Luxury Coastal Hotel’. 

Callum was ICHM’s first graduate appointed as General Manager, at just 28. He moved from his position as General Manager of Solitaire Lodge – another Small Luxury Hotels of the World property in New Zealand – to take up the position at Eagle’s Nest. 
He was previously at the Auckland Hyatt. 
These were quantum leaps for an inexperienced 17 year-old Kiwi who had arrived at ICHM in 1994 with very little idea of what he really wanted to do. 
“The great thing about ICHM is that it equips you with the knowledge, skills and business acumen that can be adapted to any kind of business, large or small.

‘No other hospitality program comes close’, he says. 

Eagles Nest Awards  
2013 World Travel Awards—World’s Leading Boutique Villa Resort
2013 Signum Virtuis (the Seal of Excellence) at the Seven Star Global Luxury Awards
2013 World Travel Awards—Australasia’s Leading Villa Resort
2013, 2012, 2011 New Zealand’s Leading Resort

New international alliances

As a result of newly formed alliances with universities overseas, ICHM expects more students to come to Adelaide to study and work each year. 

City University of Macau Memorandum of Understanding
Professor Aliana Leong, Dean, Faculty of International Tourism and Management, City University of Macau with ICHM’s Chief Executive Gerald Lipman after signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) under which 10-20 students from City University will come to Adelaide to study at ICHM each year.

In 2013 ICHM accepted its first Study Abroad student from the Department of International Tourism Management, Lanyang Campus, Tamkang University, Taiwan—Tina Huang. 
The department’s Chairman Dr Yung-Kuei Huang and Assistant Professor Dr Chien Mu Yeh visited Australia in February, travelling to Adelaide to visit the campus and on to Sydney to meet with Tina Huang, who is on work placement at the Four Seasons.  Courses at Lanyang Campus are all taught in English and students are required to study abroad for one year during the program, predominantly the USA, Europe, Japan and Australia. ‘The visa system under which ICHM operates, which allows our students to study, take up a work placement and get paid is very encouraging’, said Dr Huang. 
L Dr Chien Mu Yeh, ICHM’s Senior Representative—Marketing and Recruitment Ian Redman, Dr Yung-Kuei Huang and ICHM’s Chief Executive Gerald Lipma



Students strut their stuff

Each year a historic church in Adelaide’s southeast corner (a stone’s throw away from ICHM’s Admissions Office) plays host to a music festival—the Feast of Music. For the first time this year, ICHM students, with lecturer Richard Hunter, showed some top foodies how it’s done service-wise. 

Now in its fourth year, the 2014 Feast of Music ran over three consecutive nights in February. Each concert, by renowned artists, is followed by bruschetta and wine in the garden, a double-act by the festival’s musical director Sergio de Pieri. As part of the event, famed gastronome and brewer Stefano de Pieri (Sergio’s brother), in conjunction with the award-winning restaurant Chianti Classico, prepared two banquets for around 160 guests.

The professionalism demonstrated by Richard Hunter and the students won high praise all round, including from Chief Executive Gerald Lipman who was there. 

‘Richard and the students did an excellent job, allowing this community event to be a stunning success. They were professional and friendly, and all who attended would have been impressed with their work. I felt proud to be associated with ICHM, Richard and the students on the occasion.’

End of Course Ceremony
15 November 2013

The End of Course Ceremony is the formal occasion for recognising Bachelor of Business and Bachelor of International Hotel Management (Swiss Hotel Association) medal recipients, ahead of the Graduation Ceremony in September.  Alberto Amstutz, former President of the Swiss Hotel Association, gave the congratulatory address and Kathryn Lee and Jordan Grant the student reply. Also on the day, a Study Abroad Program Certificate was awarded to Tina Huang who, after six months on campus, was heading to Sydney for her industry placement (at the Four Seasons Hotel) to complete her year in Australia.

Course Commencement Ceremony
7 February 2014

The energy is palpable as students gather for the fun night of the year in the aptly named Boulevard Room of the Stamford Plaza in Adelaide, to welcome new and returning students. The room overlooks Adelaide’s cultural boulevard North Terrace with views across to Parliament House. Master of Ceremonies Derek Milligan introduced Gerald Lipman who gave the official welcome. 

Christopher McKinlay and Carla Surace gave the welcoming address on behalf of the students, saying:
‘You’ll find ICHM the best time of your lives, you couldn’t have made a better choice, the friends you make here will last forever. 

‘This evening especially will be a night you will never remember and probably never forget,’ signalling that the post-formalities cocktail party was set to begin.






Certificates of Merit and Academic Achievement were awarded, with Dux going to:

Dux of 1st Year (January–June 2013)
Shoko Harade 
Cameron Sykes Memorial Scholarship

Dux of 2nd Year (January–June 2013)
Ali McKay (for the second consecutive year)
Delaware North Prize 

Dux of 3rd Year (January–June 2013)
Indya Dwyer (awarded 2013 Graduation Ceremony)

Dux of 4th Year (January–June 2013)
Poppy Bowen (awarded 2013 Graduation Ceremony

From the Chief Executive

The growth in the number of Chinese overseas travellers has continued for the past decade and more. There are implications for education institutions, hotels, national tourism offices and airlines and, of course, for all players in the hospitality industry—students, graduates and hoteliers.

I am writing this from Adelaide, Australia, so it is not surprising that I have my own slant on this growth. 

At the turn of the century Australia attracted 4000 Chinese mainland tourists each month, or about 50,000 a year. In 2013 we averaged 60,000 a month, or 750,000 for the year. But at Chinese New Year in January–February 2013 we saw about 90,000 a month. 

The growth is predicted to continue at 15–20% per annum. Within two-to-three years we expect we will get more than 1 million Chinese tourists, and China will overtake New Zealand as our largest source country for tourists.

Maybe these tourists will not attend cricket matches or rugby tournaments like our Kiwi friends, but they fill our hotel rooms, visit our casinos and buy processed Australian food to take home.  

Globally in 2012 there were more than 82 million Chinese travellers worldwide. In 2014 the number will probably exceed 100 million. These tourists already spend more than US$100 billion. At a time of sluggish tourism from traditional European markets, this spending power is welcomed. The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) shows overall global tourism is growing at a rate of just 4%.

There are two enthusiastic observers of the growth of the China tourism market: UNWTO and the more specialised China Outbound Tourism Research Institute. Both have their own websites and provide updates regularly.

I prefer the latter for its specialised focus.

Naturally there are risks with the predictions of ongoing growth. Chinese tourists require visas from most of their destination countries. The noisy arguments in the East China Sea and South China Sea can slow growth. We learnt in the first decade of this century that events like SARS and Swine Flu can cause a sudden drop in travellers. The Chinese Government can regulate the numbers of travellers who can get a passport and control outbound

tourism in other ways as well. 

With a population of around 1.2 billion and increasing private wealth, it is unlikely that we will see the peak of private overseas tourism any time soon. For example, in October 2013, during the National Day holiday week, about 430 million Chinese took domestic trips, according to the China Tourism Academy. 

The new trends in China’s outbound tourism are private trips and non-group travel. There are more out-of-the-way destinations, and countries like Iran, Nepal, and Sri Lanka are seeing a surge. While Australia as a whole is ‘only’ seeing a 15–20% increase, our own state of South Australia is seeing a 30% surge. Either Sydney is ‘almost full of Chinese tourists’ and so they have to go to other parts of Australia, or they have seen Sydney, and now want something else. Of course regional areas appreciate this influx!

More than 30% of the overseas students in Australia come from China, and about 28% of overseas students in the US come from China (growing by 20% per annum). Yet they make up less than 7.5% of students at ICHM!

In early 2014 we read that the profit in Macau was greater than the profit earned in Las Vegas by a factor of 10. 

There is something for everyone in these Chinese tourist numbers: airlines, hotels, suppliers of wine, casinos, food, language schools, suppliers of babies milk and so on.

Look after these Chinese tourists; the numbers are big, they are growing, and they have money to spend!

Industry placements January–July 2014
Hong Kong

Residence G Hong Kong
Park, Sang Hyok (Jay)


Ritz Carlton Almaty
Bekbulatova, Gaukhar (Gaha) 


Conrad Macau, Cotai Central
Leong, Ka Kit (Jeffrey)

South Korea

Park Hyatt Seoul
Seo, Yunduk (Olivia)


Badrutt’s Palace Hotel
Kaneta, Margarita (Rita)


W Taipei
Mullins, Louis

United Kingdom

Crieff Hydro
Holt, Amy
Gleneagles Hotel
Rautenberg, Barnaby

Hilton London Paddington
Bennett, Philippa    
Cirocco, Jordan    
Erving, Oliver    
McInerney, Alexandria

United States of America

Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort    
King, Nicholas


Caravelle Hotel
Ta, Pham Phu Binh (Binh)

South Australia

Crowne Plaza Adelaide
Tan, Siew Luen (Rebecca)
Great Southern Rail
Alemao, Mariana
Hurley’s Arkaba Hotel
Torres Murillo, Omar
Intercontinental Adelaide
Dunn, Liza
Nguyen, Thi Thanh Van (Van)    
Tran, Minh Duc (Duc)    
Vo, Anh Khoa (Leo)

Northern Territory

Longitude 131
Lo, Hon Kei Florence    
Tsai, I-Ching (Amy)    
Wu, Qiong (Catherine)
Voyages Ayers Rock Resort
Kang, Yan Mae    
Lee, Kong Yip (Rex)    
Truong, Quang Long (Jay)
Wijaya, Harry


Hamilton Island Resort
Jacka, Maddison    
Lau, Zhi Sung (Sam)    
Lim, Teck Hoong (Jonathan)    
Lu, Wen-Chi (Rachel)    
Ongkowidjaja, Audrey    
Starr, Sophie    
Tran, Quan (Jacky)
La Via Traditional Italian
Bozzano, Federico
Marriott Brisbane Hotel
Subramaniam, Sharania
Sheraton Mirage Port Douglas
Cheng, Ling Kwan (Anson)    
Lee, Kang Yu (Aaron)
Sheraton Mirage Gold Coast
Overes, Lars     
Persson, Karl-Inge (Karl)
Van Dijk, Linda

New South Wales

Four Points By Sheraton Darling 
Nguyen, Dung (Lauren)
Four Seasons Hotel Sydney
Huang, Yun Ting (Tina)    
Sherpa, Ang (Ang)    
Shapurkar, Ari    
Utomo, Michael
Holiday Inn Old Sydney 
Tsai, Yi-Hsuan (Doris)    
Sherpa, Dolma
Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Sydney    
Chio, Sin Ieng (Natalie)


Crown Melbourne
Pathak, Nakul
Grand Hyatt Melbourne
Chou, Ya-Lan (Miranda)    
Danilova, Kristina    
Hoskin, Thomas (Tom)    
Le, Thi Kieu Trinh (Trinh)    
Chen, Po-Jung (Krista)
Hilton Melbourne on the Park
Choi, Hyunho        
Le, Thanh Trung (Brad)
Holiday Inn Melbourne on Flinders
Tarkasis, James

Langham, Melbourne
Chen, Wei (Amber)    
Taguba, Mark    
Samonte, Ivan-Jonathan
Marriott Hotel Melbourne
Tan, Wan Ting (Joanna)
Park Hyatt Melbourne
Modong, Lidiya
RACV City Club
Azzopardi, Alfred    
Iserief, Thomas    
O’Keefe, Daisy
Swanston Hotel, Grand Mercure
Sidarta, Albertus
The Cullen
Sinclair, Lachlan Andrew
Westin Melbourne
Oka, Joji

Western Australia

Hyatt Regency Perth
Belaen, Marie
Claessens, Ruben
Haekens, Sam    
Hsu, I-Cheng (Eric)    
Liao, Yu-Ting (Tina)
Vanschoenwinkel, Dimitri