Costa Unveils New Hotel Personnel Training School in Manila

Genoa – October 29, 2007 – Costa Crociere, Europe's number one cruise operator, has today opened a new training school in Manila for shipboard hotel personnel, in collaboration with the Magsaysay Institute of Hospitality and Culinary Arts (MIHCA).  The inauguration ceremony was attended by Costa Crociere S.p.A.'s Chairman & CEO Pier Luigi Foschi, its V.P. Corporate Human Resources Alessandro Centrone, Magsaysay President and CEO Doris Magsaysay Ho, and the main  local authorities, including the Mayor of Manila Alfredo Lim, and the Italian Ambassador to the Philippines Rubens Fedele.

The new school is part of the Magsaysay Institute of Hospitality and Culinary Arts, one of the most prestigious hotel training academies in the Asia-Pacific region, and is dedicated to the education of Costa's shipboard personnel employed in the restaurant, housekeeping, galley and bar areas.  Costa Crociere plans to provide tuition at MIHCA for about 1,600 new hires a year, including 600 young college-level graduates from hotel training schools in the Philippines.  It will be the first of Costa's 8 training institutes worldwide to offer a new type of educational program for new recruits, called “Ready for Excellence”, 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 Crociere's Guests.  The courses in the program use facilities that provide hands-on experience of the workplace environment:  MIHCA's laboratories include a fully functional cruise ship cabin from the Costa flagship Costa Serena, as well as simulated restaurants, galleys and bars.  Courses last an average of 4 weeks each and are taught by Costa Crociere's own professionals as well as by MIHCA academics working exclusively for Costa Crociere.  Meanwhile, in 2008 the new Manila training facility will also be providing courses for personnel already employed on board Costa liners, as part of their career development and to guarantee that they receive continual professional updating.

“Personnel training is one of those factors that make the difference for any company, especially one like ours working in the hospitality industry,” said Costa Crociere S.p.A. Chairman & CEO Pier Luigi Foschi.  “Also, our fleet expansion program, with another 5 new ships due to enter service by 2012, 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 Manila,” added Costa Crociere S.p.A. V.P. Corporate Human Resources Alessandro Centrone, “meets our demand for a significant increase in the number of shipboard professionals receiving specific, interactive training before they start work on our ships.  Next year alone, we plan to boost the number of new recruits graduating from our schools by over 50% and from 2008 to 2010 we forecast a total of 9,000 additional new hires.  In order to reach these important objectives we are currently setting up partnerships with world-class hospitality educators in various countries, who have been chosen according to specific criteria of excellence.”

MIHCA opened in February 2006.  It is a state-of-the-art hospitality training center whose curriculum has been developed in collaboration with the acclaimed Johnson & Wales University, the leading US training academy, in order to prepare individuals for fulfilling careers in the world's top hotels, restaurants and cruise lines.  MIHCA presently collaborates with Costa Crociere, Princess Cruises, AIDA Cruises, Shangri-La Hotels, Sofitel Philippine Plaza, Pan Pacific Manila and Diamond Hotel.  About 80% of its courses, which have a maximum of 25 students each, are devoted to practical training, the other 20% dealing with theories and principles.  MIHCA is part of the Magsaysay group, a leading human-resource company in the Asia-Pacific region which was established almost 60 years ago in the Philippines.

On the occasion of the opening of the new school, Costa Crociere made a donation in support of the Homer Foundation, the Magsaysay group’s charitable institute for children.  The donation will be used to fund the schooling of 2 children from the foundation, guaranteeing them an education up until their admission to the Costa School in Manila.

In 2006 Costa Crociere doubled its training commitment compared to the previous fiscal year, with a total investment of 4 million euros; the ongoing activities embrace a wide range of initiatives that Costa Crociere devises 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 the Costa Preparatory Campus, which is in charge of the recruitment and training of shipboard hotel employees (with about 3000 new hires each year).

Costa Crociere currently has 8 training schools located all over the world.  7 out of 8 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.  6 of them train hotel personnel – 1 in the Philippines, 3 in Indonesia (including one which is just about to open), 1 in India and 1 in Brazil – 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 7 schools, Costa Crociere also has its own modern Training Center, situated near the Company's Head Office in Genoa, used to teach technical and managerial skills to all Costa's shoreside and shipboard employees.