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Bangalore, Jan. 21

GLOBAL cruise companies are probably the biggest recruiters of Indians after IT and BPO companies. According to Mr Cyrus Marfatia, Vice-President (F&B), Carnival Cruising of the US, about 45,000 people are recruited from India by the cruise industry.

Carnival Corporation is a Fortune-500 company owning 22 liners. It employs 55,000 people, out of which about 7,000 are Indians. Indians are preferred employees in the cruise industry because of their mastery over the English language and their expertise in continental cuisine, Mr Marfatia pointed out.

According to Capt Amarjeet Vidyarthi, Managing Director, Indus Cruising and Shipping, "Indians also tend to last longer than employees of other nationalities because of lucrative compensation packages." Indus Cruising is a Bangalore-based headhunting firm for the cruise industry and has so far placed about 1,200 people for Carnival Corporation in the last one year.

A major draw for Indian hospitality industry employees to go on board is the rapid jump in salary. For instance, service staff in a hotel earning around Rs 4,000 per month can expect to take home anything between $2,000-$3,000 per month on a cruise liner, Mr Vidyarthi said.

But the cruise industry is witnessing an attrition rate of 40 per cent -50 per cent and cruising as a career lasts for about 4-5 years, after which people prefer to move back to the hotel industry, Mr Marfatia observed. Therefore, cruise companies are looking at introducing long-term service bonuses to retain staff.

Indus Cruising, a Bangalore-based finishing school for aspiring cruise industry staff, offers a one-month intensive culinary training. The course is designed and recognised by Carnival Cruise Lines, said Mr Vidyarthi.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated January 22, 2005)
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