The Italian Company and European market leader Costa Cruises has today inaugurated a new hotel training school in Jakarta, Indonesia, for its shipboard personnel; the school will be run in collaboration with Meranti Magsaysay Institute (MMI).  Today’s opening ceremony was attended by Costa Crociere S.p.A. group Chairman & CEO Pier Luigi Foschi, PT Meranti Magsaysay President Henry Djuhari, Magsaysay Group President & CEO Doris Magsaysay Ho, and the main local authorities, including the Italian Ambassador to Indonesia Roberto Palmieri.

The new school is devoted to the education of personnel on Costa’s ships employed in the restaurant, housekeeping, galley and bar areas and will be managed in collaboration with MMI, which is emerging as a driving force globally in hospitality training.  The new Jakarta Costa Cruises school plans to prepare around 1300 new hires a year, mainly students from local hotel training schools:  as a result, the number of Indonesian personnel working on Costa’s ships will increase from 1200 to 2500 in 2008.  At present, Indonesians account for about 14% of Costa’s employees fleetwide; 49% come from the rest of Asia, 18% from Central and South America and 13% from Italy.  From 2008 to 2012 Costa Cruises plans to recruit a total of some 12,000 new hires.

The inauguration of the new academy in Jakarta comes hot on the heels of the opening of the new Costa school in Manila (the Philippines), which took place at the end of October 2007, and confirms the commitment of the Italian cruise line to quality training:  in 2008 Costa Cruises will increase the educational activity at its training schools for hotel personnel by over 50%. During 2007 Costa Cruises invested approximately 4 million euros in training, embracing a wide range of activities that the Italian cruise line designs and delivers so as to ensure constant excellence in the preparation of its shipboard and shoreside personnel (a total of approximately 15,000 employees).  These activities are overseen by two departments:  Corporate Training, set up in 2001 to supervise the technical and managerial training of the personnel, and Costa Preparatory Campus, which is in charge of the recruitment and training of shipboard hotel employees (around 4000 new hires in 2008).

The school in Jakarta offers Costa Cruises’ new “Ready for Excellence” educational program, designed to equip trainees with the skills they need so that by the time they go on board they will be ready to deliver excellent service to Costa Cruises’ Guests. The courses are full-fledged training laboratories held in fully functional facilities:  these include a cruise ship cabin of the same type as that on the Costa flagship Costa Serena, as well as mock-up restaurants, galleys and bars.  Courses last an average of 4 weeks each.

“Personnel training is one of those factors that make the difference for a company like Costa Cruises working in the hospitality industry,” said Costa Crociere S.p.A. group Chairman & CEO Pier Luigi Foschi.  “Also, our fleet expansion program needs to be adequately supported by training activity in line with our core values of service excellence and passion for the Guest, which have enabled us to retain our position of leadership in Italy and across Europe for the past 60 years.”

“The opening of the school in Jakarta,” added Costa Cruises Vice President Corporate Human Resources Alessandro Centrone, “just a few months after the one in Manila,  meets our demand for a significant increase both in the number of shipboard professionals receiving specific, interactive training before they start work on our ships and in the quality of such training.  In order to reach this important objective we have been setting up partnerships in various countries with world-class hospitality educators who have a proven record of excellence.  And this is very much the case with the training centers in Asia, which have a long-established tradition of preparing world-class professionals for careers in leading international hotel chains.”

“Magsaysay has been working as Costa’s strategic partner in the development of talented people from Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and mainland China and looks forward to expanding its contribution to Costa’s aggressive expansion in the global cruise industry” said Magsaysay President and CEO Doris Magsaysay Ho.

“The opening of this training center in Jakarta opens doors to global career opportunities” added PT Meranti Magsaysay President Henry Djuhari.  “We have invested heavily in training programs, facilities, and technology to achieve international training competence and deliver excellent service to Costa guests.”

Meranti Magsaysay Institute commenced activity on November 6, 2007. MMI is part of PT Meranti Magsaysay, a joint venture between two major groups in the Asia-Pacific region:  PT Meranti and the Magsaysay Group of Companies in the Philippines.  PT Meranti Magsaysay is currently the leading cruise and hotel recruiting academy in the Asia-Pacific region with  some 2500 students enrolled in its schools in 2007.  By the end of this year MMI will be offering training courses certified by the acclaimed Johnson & Wales University, the largest US Career University.

Costa Cruises currently has 6 training schools located all over the world.  5 out of 6 are  dedicated entirely to the training of shipboard personnel, and are run directly by the Italian Company or as joint ventures with leading local universities.  4 of them – 1 in the Philippines, 1 in Indonesia, 1 in India and 1 in Brazil – train hotel personnel, accounting for approximately 80% of the shipboard employees, while another training institute in the Philippines is devoted to deck and engine crewmembers.  In addition to these 5 schools, Costa Cruises also has its own modern Training Center, situated in the Company's Head Office in Genoa, used to teach technical and managerial skills to all Costa's shoreside and shipboard employees.