AHA-IHMS Company Profile - International Accredited body for TPHS


We are the master licence holder of the internationally renowned and respected American Hospitality Academy (AHA), one of most globally well-known and respected providers of structured internship and exchange programme opportunities for hospitality students. The Private Hotel School is the only accredited South African school that is part of the worldwide International Hospitality Management Schools (IHMS).

The American Hospitality Academy International Hotel Management Schools (AHA-IHMS) is the international academic arm of the American Hospitality Academy (AHA). The AHA is a rapidly expanding global network of schools dedicated to providing an innovative response to the hospitality industry's need for leaders who can transcend borders and meet the demands of a global economy.

AHA-IHMS’ aims are to produce skilled graduates who demonstrate positive attitudes, strong work values and who celebrate diversity whilst having the ability to lead in a multicultural workplace.  Combined, all these skills give our students a competitive edge in the global marketplace. The AHA-IMS educational programmes are based on the unique comprehensive hospitality education and practical training model of the American Hospitality Academy, the only one of its kind in the world.

American Hospitality Academy
The Academy was established in 1986 and since then has become a leading provider of structured internship and exchange programme opportunities for post-secondary hospitality students. The AHA provides students with practical training at some of the most prestigious hotels and resorts in the United States. Its renowned partner hotels include the Marriott, Ritz Carlton, Westin, Starwood, Sheraton and Hilton, as well as several top vacation ownership properties.

Ms Cindi Reiman, the President and Founder of the American Hospitality Academy (AHA) and a Founding Partner of AHA-IHMS, has brought innovative and industry-responsive training to many thousands of young people from more than 70 different countries for over two decades.

In 1999, AHA became the first J-1 Educational Visa sponsor in the United States to offer a certification course in Hospitality to overseas students. (Its designation as a US Department of State J-1 Visa sponsor allows the AHA to issue DS-2019 forms of Certificate of Eligibility for J-1 Exchange programmes. The AHA started bringing students to the USA through the Q Cultural Exchange Visa in 2003.)

In 2001 Ms Reiman founded a group that consisted of highly respected professors and academics from around the world to help create the first comprehensive internship manual, the Certified Hospitality Professional. In 2005 she partnered with the prestigious Educational Institute of the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AH&LA) to produce the first global internship certification and manual, SERVLEAD (Service Leadership in a Multi-Cultural Workplace).

The quality of AHA graduates and their readiness to take up industry leadership roles have attracted the interest of hospitality professionals across the world in establishing related programmes in their own countries. In response to this the AHA International Hotel Management Schools was established in 2006 to create a unique worldwide network of schools. This network now combines the AHA curriculum with American hotel management methods, considered by many to be the best in the world.

AHA International Hotel Management Schools
True to its global nature, AHA International Hotel Management Schools was established as a partnership between hospitality professionals from around the world – Ms Cindi Reiman (President and Founder of AHA); Dr Cora Gatchalian (former Professor of Hospitality Management at the University of the Philippines and Chair of the Department of Hotel, Restaurant and Institution Management), Chef Gene Cordova (a graduate of a top culinary schools in Europe and the USA and Chef Instructor for the University of the Philippines), and Mr Samir Thapa (he received his MBA in Hospitality Management from the United States and is the President and Founder of the Silver Mountain School of Hotel Management in Nepal).
These exceptional professionals, all leaders in their fields, bring years of experience to providing quality education to young people. Their combined know-how and experience also ensure a comprehensive, professional approach to education that focuses on personal as well as professional development.

AHA-IHMS provides training in two main areas: Hospitality and Hotel Management and the Culinary Arts.The first European AHA-IHMS was opened in November 2007 in Brasov, Romania, while South Africa’s first intake of students at the AHA-IHMS was in February 2008 through the Stellenbosch-based Private Hotel School. The global network now also includes schools in the Philippines, Nepal, Turkey, India and China with new schools set to join in 2012.

AHA-IHMS has a special understanding of both developed and developing countries' needs. Its tailor-made programmes provide increased and much needed employment opportunities in these countries. This contributes to overall economic development and helps the various tourism industries become more competitive, something that is of great importance in particularly the South African industry.

Academic excellence at the global campuses
AHA-IHMS Academic Programmes are designed with the knowledge that leading hotel companies around the world hire people for attitude and train for aptitude. AHA-IHMS trains for both and its curriculum places equal emphasis on soft skill training to develop students' attitudes, work ethics, sense of responsibility, desire to excel, communication skills, team work, multicultural skills and leadership abilities, as well as on enhancing their technical skills and knowledge.

This multi-faceted approach provides for a well-rounded education that meets the needs of the modern-day hospitality industry. It assures graduates of AHA-programmes entry into higher level hospitality and tourism positions in top hotels and tourism venues around the world. AHA and its global academic partners have created over 20 different short and long term courses. AHA has also developed a pool of qualified instructors and its own instructor training manuals, student workbooks, case studies, and testing and evaluation materials – this provides self-contained educational packages that can be implemented in any AHA-IHMS school anywhere in the world.

English is the official medium of instruction at all AHA-IHMS campuses. This and the standardised curriculum taught at all AHA-IHMS' institutions give students an exceptional opportunity to undertake all or a part of their studies in a different country, broadening their international experience and creating one of the first truly global hospitality campuses.

Students graduate with the AHA-IHMS world class Diploma in International Hospitality Management (DIHM) or Culinary Arts (DICA). These esteemed credentials are recognised and accepted by leading hotel chains, vacation ownership resorts and restaurant chains in the USA and in more than 50 other countries.

USA Internships
An integral part of all diploma programmes at AHA-IHMS and one of the company's main competitive differences is AHA's Passport to Culture internship programme within the United States. For most students this internship offers them their first working experience in the global hospitality industry. Through this internship students undertake world-class practical training at some of the most prestigious hotels and resorts.

With the expansion of AHA-IHMS around the world, students will also have the choice of internship opportunities at world-class hotels in many different countries, not just the United States.

The World Peace Passport
The AHA-IHMS programme places a high value on community involvement, caring about the future and making a difference in the world. Through the World Peace Passport, AHA-IHMS students and staff members are encouraged to participate in expanding the goals and objectives of the World Peace Passport (WPP) in their individual countries by teaching this programme in their local schools.

AHA created the WPP, a non-profit organisation, in 2006 and its global education initiative aims to connect students and teachers around the world in a common study of cultural understanding. Its curriculum helps young students from kindergarten ages to Grade 8 understand, accept and respect each other's cultures, traditions and beliefs. More than 3 000 students in 15 different countries have since participated in the programme.

 “a ha!” University – Corporate Training

AHA’s corporate training division named “a ha!” University (inspiring Amazing Hospitality Attitudes) was launched in 2011. This was established to assist employers with developing and improving employee’s soft skills such as attitude, work ethics, communication, pride in their quality of work and a desire to excel. 

"a ha!" University is a full-service education and training platform incorporating customer service training with motivation and communication. It allows companies to take advantage of AHA's proven teaching methodologies and customer service programmes by customising and tailoring their own organisation's training programmes.


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