Marriott Foundation’s CHEI wins Tourism for Tomorrow People Award

The China Hospitality Education Initiative (CHEI), run by the J. Willard and Alice S. Marriot Foundation, was named winner of the World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) Tourism for Tomorrow People Award.

The winners collected their award at a ceremony for the 13th Awards held during WTTC’s Global Summit in Bangkok on 27 April 2017.

The Tourism for Tomorrow Awards reward the very best tourism and hospitality initiatives in the world. The winners of the Awards are acknowledged to be the gold standard in inspirational, sustainable Travel & Tourism initiatives.

Passing the baton from 2016’s winner, ITP's Youth Career Initiative, the People Award recognises those who are providing training and opportunities for those already in, or who wish to work in the Travel & Tourism sector. This year’s finalists exemplify how training and pathways into Travel & Tourism can be life changing.

The winner, China Hospitality Education Initiative delivered through the J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation is a unique programme aiming to improve the skills of educators by providing them with the necessary training to prepare thousands of young people across China for a career in the hospitality sector.

Awards Lead Judge, Graham Miller, Executive Dean, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Surrey, said, “CHEI is fast becoming one of China’s most successful vocational development programmes. It offers hands-on industry experience for students in businesses across the world. The success of CHEI can be seen through its impact: it has reached 19 provinces; works with 87,000 students; created 17 educational establishments, cooperates with 69 hotels; and employs 600 teachers. As a result of CHEI’s work, the socio-economic status of Chinese youth is improving and the nation as a whole is better equipped to build a successful, sustainable, and meaningful hospitality sector.”

Fiona Jeffery OBE, Chair of the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards and Founder of Just a Drop, added, “CHEI has developed a model that is a win-win for teachers, students and employers and which contributes to improve the socio-economic status of young people by helping them find quality employment in tourism and, at the same time, develop professional careers through sound education and training. Working across second and third tier cities the programme is reaching populations that will benefit the most from these opportunities. This initiative is making a substantial difference to China’s tourism sector by stimulating the workforce and empowering the youth reaching the most remote parts of the country.”

Anne Gunsteens, Executive Director, The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation on accepted the award saying, “On behalf of the Marriott family, their foundation and the entire CHEI team in the US and China, we are honoured to accept this award. The strong collaboration among academia, industry and philanthropy has been critical to our success. An important role of philanthropy is to take the risk to develop innovative programs and models that if successful can be shared with the broader community.”

The other People Category Finalists were Desert & Delta Safaris (Botswana), which provides and fully funds a management training scheme for Botswanan nationals who then go on to work in their camps or elsewhere and STREETS International (Vietnam), which provides tourism training and employment opportunities for children who have been trafficked or orphaned.

For more information on the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards and all the winners, please visit and you can learn more about CHEI and why it was chosen as the winner from this video.

Leave a Reply