New Swiss partnered hospitality college ready to open its doors in Nairobi


(Posted 22nd April 2015)

When the new ‘Boma International Hospitality College’ will open its doors in a few weeks for the first time and launch their extensive Certificate and Diploma programmes for students from Kenya and the region, will no doubt not just a breath of fresh air but a whirlwind of change descend on the hospitality training scene of Eastern Africa.

The combination of Boma Hotels’ expertise in running the 5star Boma Hotel and the adjoining 3star Boma Inn with the international standing and renowned quality of the Alpine Centre – The Swiss Business School for International Hotel & Tourism Management Education certainly suggests that this partnership will not only break new ground but almost revolutionize the vocational training level in the sector.

The campus, located within the Boma Hotels / Red Cross compound, just off the main highway from the city to the international airport, will combine both theoretical studies in the classrooms with hands on training and practicals in the two hotels. This will give students perhaps for the first time in the region the opportunity to experience the difference between various star rated operations while still studying in their chosen field.

Certificate courses, lasting one year, include Housekeeping and Laundry Operations as well as Food & Beverage Sales and Services while the Diploma courses, which also last one year but require higher entry qualifications, include Housekeeping Supervision and Operations and Food & Beverage Operations and Supervision. A two year Diploma course in Culinary Arts is also available as is one in Front Office Operations. For students seeking training in International Hotel Management has a three year course been tailored at the end of which they will be awarded a Swiss Higher Diploma.

It is understood that the new college will, once the first batch of students has graduated, seek accreditation to offer degree courses in hospitality management, a no doubt natural progression for students seeking higher academic qualifications, either directly following their completion of a diploma course or others returning to campus from the workplace.

Said Mr. Mugo Maringa, Managing Director of Boma Hotels, when asked for his view on the newly incorporated college: ‘The aim of Boma International Hospitality College in collaboration with Alpine Center Switzerland, is to address the current and long term needs of the industry and its graduates. We shall therefore concentrate on training for specialists, not generalists; craftsmen, not “chiefs” and, allow enough time for practical training and coaching in a top class hotel environment.

Our graduates will be able to perform beyond their employers’ expectations from day one, and save the employer time and money that is usually spent on training new employees. This will make the graduates the preferred candidates in the job market.This school will pave the way for quality education to a broader section of the population, and most importantly will allow well trained Kenyans to stay in the country and help to develop the tourism industry’.

Added Sybil Hofmann, the President International Programmes of the Alpine Center: ‘Alpine Center Switzerland is privileged to be a partner of BOMA International Hospitality College in jointly launching its state-of-the-art programmes of study in Kenya, a country that has been renowned for its dynamic hospitality and tourism industry, an industry that is the second largest source of foreign exchange revenue in the country.

What sets Alpine Center Switzerland apart from other schools in the field of hospitality education is Alpine’s strong professional ethos and industry links, mainly stemming from its adoption of the Swiss philosophy of training and education that focus on the Four-Pillar approach: practical skills, professional attitude, management competencies, and a commitment to lifelong learning. That is why the campus of the BOMA International Hospitality College includes training facilities in an actual top class hotel environment.

Switzerland has gained its reputation of being the ‘birthplace of hospitality management’ a long time ago. People from all over the world, then and now, still yearn for the ’Swiss Hospitality Touch’. That is why our curriculum preserves the basic elements of what good hospitality training and education must be: flawless accuracy, reliable quality, and expert leadership’.

Sharon Spaltenstein, the Principal of the Boma International Hospitality College, when asked for her views on the partnership and the opportunities it created for young Kenyans wishing to enter a career in the hotel industry, was swift in replying: ‘Our goal is to provide rewarding career paths to our students’. Inevitably did the thought of Swiss precision and efficiency come to mind as she captured the essence of a conversational question in but one sentence when answering.

(From left to right: Ms. Sharon Spaltenstein, Principal of BIHC, Mr. Mugo Maringa, Managing Director of Boma Hotels, Mrs. Sybil Hofmann, President International Programmes Alpine Center and this correspondent after meeting them at their offices on the new campus)

The hospitality training industry, as is the case in a range of other sectors, has sadly in recent years been invaded by charlatans and peddlers of quicksilver solutions, promising sound vocational training but, after raking in the fees, often fail to live up to what their glossy brochures and fancy websites promise. This leaves graduates from such bare thread certificate and diploma courses desperately seeking employment but failing to secure jobs when HR managers during interviews spot glaring gaps in their skills, knowledge and lack of hands on training. In contrast is it expected that employers will actually look for graduates from the new college, trusting the reputation of both partners, Boma and Alpine to have delivered the goods when they award certificates and diplomas to their students.

Negative examples made headlines in the Kenyan media in recent months but have been for a while now a thorn in the side of qualified and dedicated educators, lecturers and trainers of reputable colleges and vocational training institutes which have worked hard to maintain industry standards and which link up with leading employers for industrial attachment of their students and possible future employment.

Industry leader Utalii College, incidentally established by the Swiss government in the early 1970’s before the college was handed over to the Kenyan government, has until now remained the guiding light for the vocational and tertiary training sector for hospitality and tourism courses but has been notoriously jampacked while the long overdue second campus on the Kenya coast appears still way off completion.

It is towards that end that several senior hotel managers have expressed their keen interest to interact with the new college and learn more about their programmes in readiness for the first graduation in just over a year. With a number of new hotels in the pipeline, ranking between 5star and 3 star operations, there will be a continued demand for properly trained, qualified and well skilled staff to join such establishments, and if anything is the new institution coming on line just in the nick of time to turn out graduates who can fit that bill for employers.

Added information can be accessed via or

Also available is a Facebook page with regular updates from the new college as student intake continues before classes start in a few weeks’ time.

6 Responses

  1. Thanks in advance and i would like to work with you please.I have done Diploma in Food Production.

  2. is there a way i can get sponsorship to do a course in international hotel management…?? i really want to study it bt my only parent mum is not financislly stable

  3. I have an interest of studying at your institution for the sakevof my career and goals of working in the hospitality industry. Kindly I was asking if you offer sponsorships at your institution for the people who cannot afford to pay all the school fees but still they have the dream fulfill through your college?

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