The East Asia Institute of Management (EASB) is acquiring a majority share of the Tourism Management Institute of Singapore (TMIS), the training arm of the National Association of Travel Agents Singapore (NATAS).
NATAS said this is the association’s first step in transforming the travel trade, with EASB taking over training of new entrants and existing agents with a three-step approach.
Termed New Blend, it comprises bite-sized learning, video streaming and gamification – with a focus on integrating mobile technology into learning processes, said Andrew Chua, principal and executive chairman of EASB.
This will acclimatise trainees to working with mobile solutions, especially with the technological disruptions in the travel industry today, said Chua.
Steven Ler, acting president of NATAS, added that the partnership is the association’s first step in pushing for technology confidence in Singapore’s travel trade sector.
He said: “We are focusing on two main pillars: technology and manpower. These will be the key supports in transforming the travel trade. (With EASB) NATAS now has a focused arm to build curriculums that support new initiatives, in terms of technology and getting the right skill sets.”
In the next three to six months, NATAS will be launching an online human resource portal for greater visibility of demand and supply in the trade, said Ler.
He added that NATAS is also working closely with Singapore Tourism Board (STB) to transform tourism businesses, with several initiatives in the pipeline.
These developments may help veterans overcome their “resentment” of technology as a threat to their jobs, said Robin Yap, president, Asia, The Travel Corporation, who sees technology as a complementary tool to agency services.
“While we are embracing technology, this is a people industry, which requires people to deliver services,” said Yap. “This will be facilitated by technology, but the human element (is still needed) to deliver the finer touches.”
With increased efforts between NATAS and STB, Yap hopes to see more local travel players follow in the footsteps of agencies like BeMyGuest and emerge into the global sphere.