UPSI Hotel In Campus To Boost Revenue

Last update: 04/01/2019

By Nor Amirah Mahmuddin

TANJUNG MALIM (Bernama) -- Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI), which is among the nation's premier teachers' training institutions, is beefing up its commercial arm by venturing into the hospitality industry.

Taking advantage of Tanjung Malim's scenic surroundings, waterfalls and abundant flora and fauna, the university has opened a hotel called Scholar's Suites at its Sultan Azlan Shah campus that overlooks the mist-shrouded hills of the Titiwangsa range.

The three-star hotel, which was opened on Oct 11, 2018, is operated by UPSI Holdings Sdn Bhd (UHSB), which is wholly owned by UPSI. 

COMPLETE WITH FACILITIES

The construction of the hotel started in January 2014 and it was completed last April at a cost of RM16.7 million.

Scholar's Suites offers a total of 98 rooms, comprising 62 standard rooms, 34 deluxe rooms and two suites. It also comes complete with a banquet hall that can accommodate up to 400 people and four seminar rooms, each with a maximum capacity of 100.

UPSI Vice-Chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Mohammad Shatar Sabran said the lack of suitable hospitality facilities in Tanjung Malim district had forced the locals to head to Kuala Lumpur or Shah Alam to hold seminars, courses and group activities.

"Before we opened our hotel, there were no facilities like halls or accommodations here capable of hosting events that are conducted on a big scale.

"Now that our hotel is here, we hope more people will choose to visit Tanjung Malim as it has its own charm," he said, adding that it would also boost the district's tourism sector, thus benefiting the local community.  

Apart from that, Scholar's Suites has also created job opportunities for the locals and about 100 jobs are available in the housekeeping and food and beverage departments.

"As for higher positions at the management level, the posts will be filled as and when necessary," he added.

VENUE FOR SEMINARS, COURSES

Mohammad Shatar said UPSI also hoped that the university's Responsibility Centres and faculties would choose to conduct their seminars, workshops, colloquia and various other activities at Scholar’s Suites.

Having its own hotel to serve as the venue for its various events has enabled the university to make some savings as organising a function on a large scale usually involved hall rental, food catering and transportation costs that can run into thousands of ringgit.

"Although Scholar's Suites only opened recently, government departments and private companies have already been having their events there. All the rooms were booked when UPSI held its 20th convocation ceremony recently," he said.

He said although UPSI itself did not offer any courses on hotel management, Scholar's Suites served as a hospitality training centre for students from other colleges and universities for the purpose of equipping them with the necessary skills through industrial training.

EDU-TOURISM ATTRACTION

Scholar Suites guests will also have access to the UPSI Adventure Park which offers a diverse range of challenging activities like abseiling, wall climbing and flying fox.

In fact, UPSI made history when it opened the adventure park in December 2017 because it was the first university in Asia to have such a facility.

The challenging rope course consisting of high elements is among the park's highlights. The rope course is a popular personal development and team-building activity and pushes participants to reach beyond their perceived physical and cognitive limits.

The UPSI Adventure Park also has a swimming pool and jogging track. There are also plans to build a bowling centre there.

Meanwhile, UHSB board of directors chairman Prof Emeritus Datuk Wira Dr Mohd Noor Salleh said Scholar's Suite was not only a good brand for the university to leverage from but also a source of revenue for UHSB over the long term.

UHSB was incorporated 10 years ago in line with the Education Ministry's policy of allowing public universities to generate their own income.

To date, UHSB has earned about RM5 million from the commercialisation of its products such as MYFIS and MYGURU, as well as its academic programmes and short-term courses developed with the cooperation of UPSI's experts.

"We hope that the opening of Scholar's Suites will enable UHSB to grow its income more aggressively in the future," he added.  

In order to develop more income streams for UHSB and encourage entrepreneurial activity among UPSI students, the company is also planning to open outlets like a beauty salon, boutique and souvenir shop within the campus.

Translated by Rema Nambiar

-- BERNAMA