As India’s hotel industry readies for unprecedented growth, it is about to face a manpower crisis the likes of which it has never seen before. Too few people are being trained for the industry; All this while a new hotel or restaurant is being added every week.

With India’s economy expanding by about 8% a year, the number of people traveling on business or for pleasure is booming. Every year, there are 540 million domestic travelers and the number of overseas tourists will increase from five million now to 18 million by 2016, according to HVS Hospitality Services, a consulting firm focused on the hotel industry. Where India now has 62,000 top-quality rooms for such travelers, by 2014 it is expected that there will be 150,000 rooms. But where are the chefs, butlers and bellboys to serve all the guests?

Surveys show an immediate shortfall of 30-40% in the supply of quality manpower as students passing from hotel management institutes shun the profession because of poor pay and long work hours. They prefer to work overseas or with cruise liners, airlines and retail companies.

Hotel Association of India, estimates that the hotel industry will need to add 100,000 staff within four years. But only about a fifth of this number are even being trained and a big slice of them will not join the hotel industry.