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Feb 22, 2021
On Tuesday, January 26, Hans Heijiligers, the CEO of IHG ANA Hotels Group Japan*, joined APS Associate Professor BUI Thanh Huong’s “Travel Industry” class as a guest speaker. This class is offered in English by the College of Asia Pacific Studies, and around 200 students joined the guest lecture online.
* IHG ANA Hotels Group Japan is a joint venture between InterContinental Hotels Group and All Nippon Airways that operates InterContinental Hotels Group’s hotels in Japan.
IHG ANA Hotels Group Japan operates the ANA InterContinental Hotel brand in Japan, which includes the ANA InterContinental Beppu Resort & Spa that opened in the Myoban district of Beppu in 2019. Mr. Heijiligers’ guest lecture was offered under the auspices of the cooperative agreement that the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG®) and APU signed in 2018.
In his lecture, Mr. Heijiligers discussed the impact of COVID-19 on the tourism industry and the lessons leaders have learned from dealing with the pandemic. He said the pandemic is forcing the tourism industry to transform and listed three things that tourism industry workers especially need to take into consideration. First, he mentioned the ability to see things from the perspective of both hotel owners and guests. Next, he said workers need to think about the impact that technological progress is having on the industry and be able to effectively apply technology to business. Finally, he discussed how important it is for managers to ascertain the demands that society places on the tourism industry for the environment, health, and community outreach and to address these demands with their company’s own initiatives. In terms of leadership, he said companies no longer expect know-it-all leaders, but rather they need leaders who can run the business by working with team members and using resources efficiently.
After the talk, the several students asked Mr. Heijiligers questions about why he chose a career in the travel industry, how to run a business in the digital age, and other topics. Mr. Heijiligers concluded by saying that, based on his own experience, to overcome the difficult times brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, leaders will need to continue building relationships of trust with their employees instead of seeking notoriety for themselves.
Going forward, IHG® and APU will continue pursuing potential collaborations in education and research in relation to the new tourism college that APU is preparing to open in 2023.