The Algarve School of Hospitality and Tourism at Faro, Portugal
Education Horizons for Tourism Sunrises
Tourism, nowadays considered one of the major impact businesses regarding the generation of social wealth, is perhaps also the industrial sector which presents all levels of the economic community with a more balanced access to benefit from that wellness: 'One billion tourists, one billion opportunities' says the United Nations World Tourism Organization UNWTO campaign.
Expected to reach 1.8 million tourists by 2030, Tourism already employs 235 million people worldwide and represents 6% of the world trade with 9% of the global GDP. Portugal' stats just confirm the trend: 10% GDP, 15 thousand million Euros revenue, 14% exports, and 20% of the national employment translating in one million jobs. In the Algarve region, the dramatic of the data left no doubt that Tourism is the par excellence sector of the regional economy: 70% of the GDP, 60% of the employment, more than hundred thousand jobs, and benefits that rise to 500 million Euros only to mention the hotels operations within the hospitality segment. Facing the massive importance of the industry, education becomes key to prepare the future generations for the challenge that Tourism represents, being this the principle at the core of the 16 schools at the hospitality network created under the tutelage of the Tourism Portugal Institute, responsible for the values and policies that guide Portugal's promotion as tourism destination worldwide, and from which the Algarve School of Hospitality and Tourism is part since 1966, being one the first founded in the country, when Portugal's just started opening to the world for it to visit it.
Today, the Algarve School of Hospitality and Tourism places itself as one of the most influential and meaningful of the schools network precisely for being located at the heart of the country' sun & sea touristic operation, the Algarve region in the South Littoral, the preferred gateway to the European and Intercontinental inbound travel markets. Attracted by the variety of its landscapes – flat, rocky and cliff beaches and islands plus the mountainous hinterlands – and ecosystems – well recognized cradles of fauna & flora biodiversity –; travelers from all over the world arrive also in search of experiencing the Algarve' sophisticated built infrastructure –award winner golf courses and hotels, where locally produced just fresh prepared gastronomy plays heaven to the natural paradise the Algarve is. Meanwhile, the School is located in Faro the capital city to the region, and shares neighborhood with the provincial authority's headquarters, as well as with the local representation of the Tourism Portugal Institute. As the capital city of the Algarve, rich in well preserved historical buildings which are reminiscences of the Pombalina architectural era, Faro has a history of its own, one that is often recreated by the current cultural interpretation of it, and staged at both a Municipal époque Theater and a Modern Play House, together staging contemporary performances of all forms of arts; numerous churches, traditional commerce and some trendy shopping malls, nautical activities centers, and a on the growth scene of restaurants and bars as preamble to its discreet night life complete the 'what must be seen' list while in the school's city. Both, Faro and the School, benefit from an international airport and are well connected by an efficient red vial with the rest of the region's towns.
Since its creation The Algarve School of Hospitality and Tourism has been hosting its academic and practical lessons at different buildings within the city of Faro – among them the Tourism Algarve Delegation, the Santa Maria Hotel, the antique palace Doglioni and the historical structure that currently houses the Brazilian Consulate. Finally, it was moved in 1995 to the earlier and later Convent of San Francisco and Military Command Center respectively, having its permanent residential address in here since then. Within this very good looking construction the school has found the perfect space to grow and expand, supported by plus 50 staffers committed to service and innovation. The layout consist of 16 academic outlets, a dorm with 32 rooms and capacity for 94 people, informatics center, library, auditorium, meetings facilities, 3 pedagogical kitchens, bakery, kitchen auditorium, bar & restaurant service technical room, as well as a student's cantina and outdoors sports complex. There are also the San Francisco Restaurant and de Water Mirror Bar as support spaces to the practical education, serving for real the demand at the residential hotel with 11 rooms and capacity for 22 people, hosting punctually important guests such lecturers or school's advisors. These support spaces are made available to initiatives promoted by corporate and trade partners; entities such the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne, the Lions Club International, the Association of Regional Entrepreneurs, the Algarve Film Commission, the Superior School of Management, the University of Algarve currently maintain partnerships with the school.
Congress, seminars, symposiums, festivals, as well as outdoors mingling are some of the events promoted, organized and ran smoothly for the public and private sector partners that support the profitability and sustainability of the Algarve Hospitality and Tourism School, sometime reaching its maximum hosting capacity 1000 guests and using all its installed capacity.
The school bases its academic offer in the Management and Production expertise, for the areas of Cooking & Bakery, Food & Beverage Service, Hospitality and Tourism, forming an average of 260 alumni yearly. Moreover, and honoring its open doors credo, the school offers vocational education such as languages courses, and industrial safety training, of which already professional workers of the Tourism sector as well as the local population in general benefits.
Flavors & Cinema is the annual gathering the Algarve Hospitality and Tourism Schools held so the students can put into practice the academic learnt knowledge in terms of education, valuation, strategy, implementation and evaluation. These results are guided by a carefully built plan which responds to the pedagogical milestones, through direct execution and detailed appraisal, having as ultimate goal the reinforcement of character and self-determination, as well as the acquiring of negotiation skills and business vision.
The students experience the exigencies and responsibilities of organizing a contest that aims to become truly international, to showcase beyond the borders the roots and soul of the region. Individual capabilities such as creativity, general culture gained via the research and choosing of the cinematographic inspiration, the team work commitment, the problem-solving while still having fun are at the core of the desired outcome.
In its 10th Edition the Flavors & Cinema is now proudly recognized by the Association of Hotel & Tourism Schools, a nongovernmental organization and an acting entity of the European Council, that aims to promote an European perspective to enhance the synergies between the hotel industry and the hospitality academia, with a benchmark in the maximum quality of both education and service.
All the 16 schools in the national Portuguese network, as well as overseas teams visiting from Italy, Spain, France, Sweden among others, return every year to participate in this respected contest, inspired by Cinematography the Seven Art with the chosen films, and to honor Gastronomy the arts of arts, as they delight the attendees with the most delicious and nutritious culinary creations.
The philosophy of Flavours & Cinema can be resumed in the students search for inspiration in the art of cinema, resulting in acquiring creative application of knowledge learned during the academic calendar, the expansion of the general culture, consolidation methods of teamwork, and the occasion to test innovation proactively innovation.
All participating schools are represented by a team in competition with the exception of the Algarve School of Hospitality and Tourism, decision that aims to honor the transparency of the contest and to ensure the Flavors & Cinema success, not taking part in the awarded race but dedicated to fully guarantee it runs smoothly and successfully.
Bringing the contest to an interdisciplinary scale Flavors & Cinema is the perfect communion of three key points in student's education: being, knowing-how and endeavoring not only at putting into play the culinary skills, but also at displaying them with a sense of aesthetics, by reproducing the film scenarios to present show cooking, cocktails, flairs and other exhibition activities suitable to entertain the audience. Then there is the carefully set up for the occasion of the facilities at EHT, with special attention to the Hotel San Francisco and dormitory rooms for the comfort of the guests to be hosted there, and to the general embellishment of the common areas with photography exhibitions, chocolate sculptures and decorative tables.
Aiming to broaden up the right knowledge and attitude towards Tourism as regional key economic force, it is tradition to invite undergraduates from the elementary local schools to visit during the Flavors & Cinema, so they can learn from the backstage works of the event at the same time they get to know the Algarve Hospitality and Tourism School and get inspired for their future.
To present visitors with some leisure time the host students run a familiarization one-day trip to visit the Old Town and its many and interesting sightseeing spots such as the Villa Arch, the Cathedral, the churches, the museums, and the waterside. The day is wrapped up back at the up back at the school for the screening of a cinematographic shorts cycle by the Algarve Film Commission, a sample of a wider program denominated 'Algarve Documented'.
A touristic tour takes visitors also to the Cork Route at the San Bras of Alportel town, a project relevant for promoting the knowledge and sustainability of this typically Mediterranean tree from which is extracted the raw material globally used for making wine and other spirituous beverages bottles stoppers, and a meaningful source of labor for the agricultural community of the region. With harvest as essential step in the vital cycle of the tree wellbeing it is generally done once per year, the first one only when the tree has aged to 25 or 30 years, and the next harvest only every 9 years to allow the tree's natural renewal process and so to obtain the desired cork's quality. Countless applications follow for the cork resin besides the characteristic use of cork in the wine industry, especially now when modern developments tend to replace this usage with new materials, being the most common among them the exploits for the automotive, furniture and construction industries.
The Flavours & Cinema contests unveils itself for the participating teams with the first kitchen & restaurant test, a Menu for Two, served at the San Francisco Restaurant at the school. The second test consists of the preparation of a Buffet for Ten, served at one of the atriums.
The contestants are evaluated thoughtfully by the jury, each year composed of national and international personalities which achievements oscillate between Michelin Stars chefs to directors of F&B renowned associations, from seasoned travel journalists and film festivals judges to F&B renowned associations, from seasoned travel journalists and film festivals critics to representatives of the cinematographic regional commission.At the kitchen criteria such technique, hygiene, cleanliness, tidiness and neatness, as well as the recycling in the management of waste are carefully observed. The following of a plan with the milestones to reach in order to optimize the use of time and resources is also taken into account. And, ultimately, the creation and making of the dishes, where mixing and enhancing of main and pairing ingredients in the right proportion shows the culinary talent is valued for prize giving.In the area of F&B the parameters to be considered are, once more and particularly, the techniques to combine and present beverages and food harmonically –i.e. as an aperitif or as a digestive – at the table and by professionals expected to look their best in their uniforms, and to behave their cleverest facing last minute problem resolution remaining positive and available, helpful and genuinely sympathetic towards the customer's wants and wishes.Last but not less, cinematographic standards value the choosing and interpretation of the film and its gastronomic story, the analysis of the socio-cultural message this relationship between cinema and culinary and among gastronomy and characters transmits, reflected in the team own recreation and playing of those roles, while using them as inspiration for a real life day to day challenge common to all beings: cooking well, serving well, eating well, enjoying life truly well.... This is the reason why, annually, key decision makers from the city, region and country -as well as the correspondents from the media- gather at the Algarve School of Hospitality and Tourism for yet another edition of the Flavours & Cinema Awards Gala & Dinner. Authorities such the mayor of the city, the ambassadors to foreign diplomatic and corporate permanent delegations, the dean of the regional university, as well as the heads of the tourism establishment arrive to reward the institutional and academic effort to be a proud model to be followed in education for tourism.