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Teachers Gain Resources to Enhance Hospitality Education in China

The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation 
Press Release 

Teachers Gain Resources to Enhance Hospitality Education in China

July 20, 2017, Shenzhen – During their summer break, 310 hospitality teachers from 129 

vocational schools and universities in 23 Chinese provinces attended the annual China 

Hospitality Education Initiative (CHEI) Teaching Conference. Held at the Shenzhen Marriott 

Hotel Nanshan on July 11-14, the conference was themed Collaboration: Together is Better! 

CHEI is a project of The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation that offers a 

portfolio of programs, including the teaching conference, to enhance hospitality education. 

Many educators in China have limited exposure to real-world hospitality operations. They 

also have few opportunities to network with industry professionals, academic experts or 

peers. The conference brings industry and academia together and offers workshops and 

activities that enable attendees to network, experience hotel operations first-hand, and 

gain knowledge and resources to incorporate into their classrooms to better prepare 

students for career success.  

“CHEI has grown exponentially and primarily by word of mouth,” said Anne Gunsteens, 

executive director of The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation. “We were thrilled 

this year to welcome teachers from 129 schools. Our conference theme of collaboration was 

brought to life by speakers from Marriott International; San Diego State University, 

universities in China, Singapore and the United States; STR (Smith Travel Research) and 

Culinary Institute of America. CHEI is proud to help elevate academic hospitality and 

tourism programs by providing professional development resources for teachers.”

Conference attendees included school presidents and government officials. Craig S. Smith, 

Marriott International’s president and managing director of Asia Pacific, and Chairman 

Yao, the host hotel’s owner, attended the closing gala celebration to network with 

educators and show their support. 

“Each year, the conference hotel staff transforms the venue into a learning laboratory 

that engages the teachers in exciting, educational activities that offer insights into 

hotel operations and event planning,” said Joy Dong, CHEI project director. “This year, 

associates from different hotel departments choreographed performances to entertain and 

inspire educators about various aspects of hotel operations.” 

Teachers gain knowledge and resources to use in classrooms

A visionary project of The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation, CHEI was developed 

in partnership with global academic and industry advisors, including San Diego State 

University and Marriott International. CHEI’s goal is to enhance hospitality education in 

China to better prepare students for meaningful hospitality and tourism careers, improving 

the socio-economic status of youth.
CHEI was initially funded with a commitment of RMB 40.5 million (USD 6.5 million) in 2013. 

Since then, more than 800 educators have participated in CHEI train the teacher programs—

the only such programs in China. These educators are having an impact on more than 100,000 

hospitality students. CHEI programs include: 

Faculty internships in hotels
Field trips to hospitality venues
Guest lectures on campus
Hospitality curriculum and resources
Regional teaching forums
International fellowships
Annual teaching conference 
School visiting and demonstration classes

Quotes from conference attendees: 

“It is very important to attract students to the hospitality and tourism industry in 

China,” said President Cui Dong, College of Arts and Sciences, Jinghan University. “This 

conference inspires me to think differently. The interactive, western teaching methods we 

learn through CHEI are transforming the way teachers teach and students learn. With better 

teachers, our students are better prepared for career success.”

“CHEI’s success demonstrates great potential and prosperity for the future. The 

conference bridges the gap between schools and enterprises, improving their cooperation,” 

said Party Chief Lei Zhong Liang, Guangzhou Institute of Railway Technology. “CHEI focuses 

on teachers first, to improve their capabilities aligned with the current requirements of 

academia in China.”

“Workshops were content rich and created great excitement among the educators,” said 

President Wang Yuan Hao, Anhui Zhong-Ao Institute of Technology. I believe all schools in 

China with hospitality programs want to participate in CHEI to achieve the same goal: 

enhance hospitality and tourism education and better develop students for the industry.”

“The conference creates a terrific enrichment opportunity for teachers to learn and 

exchange information with peers from across China,” said Dean Zhong Liping, College of 

Arts and Sciences, Jinghan University. “The teaching methodologies learned through CHEI 

will build a bridge between teachers and students to enhance hospitality and tourism 


Originally launched as a five-year project, the Marriott Foundation has committed to 

provide support for another five years. During this time, CHEI intends to continue to build 

on its success, further localize programs and increase its capacity to meet the growing 

demand for CHEI programs from schools across mainland China. Visit www.chei.org for more 

information about CHEI programs. 

About The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation 
The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation was established in 1965 with the purpose of 

giving back to the community. Under the current direction of J.W. Marriott, Jr. and Richard 

E. Marriott, the Marriott Foundation is dedicated to helping youth secure a promising 

future, especially through education on the secondary and higher education levels, 

mentoring and youth leadership programs. Equally important are organizations that help 

provide relief from hunger and disasters, support people with disabilities, and create 

gainful employment opportunities for vulnerable youth and adults.  

CHEI Advisors

San Diego State University (SDSU) was selected as CHEI’s initial academic advisor. Through 

its L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, SDSU has experience 

working with Chinese schools and the hospitality industry to develop programs that are 

globally respected and uniquely Chinese. A nationally-ranked research university, SDSU 

provides more than 30,000 students with a robust academic curriculum with an increasingly 

international emphasis. The university’s L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality and Tourism 

Management has a vision to “be the most personalized school of its kind in developing 

hospitality leaders.” 
Marriott International has volunteered its services to help ensure the teaching-learning 

resources and programs are relevant to industry needs. Marriott also provides faculty 

internships and industry networking opportunities for hospitality and tourism educators and 

students in China. Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR) is based in Bethesda, 

Maryland, USA, and encompasses a portfolio of more than 6,100 properties in 30 leading 

hotel brands spanning 124 countries and territories. Marriott operates and franchises 

hotels and licenses vacation ownership resorts all around the world.